Do you have your own special event (like Kat and Paul’s Goose roasting) that sings in your mind as one of the most memorable experiences in your life? Tell us about it.
All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, is a book I am studying for my Literature course. One particular scene that I looked at in depth was Kat and Paul, and their time together during the war. By sheer consequence, these two young men stayed in a hut together during the war, and despite the chaos outside, inside was very different. They cemented their friendship in ways that prove that beings meet via coincidence, but soul’s connected via experience. It is evident through their relationship that when war is over and when they return home to their families, their circumstances will change, but their friendship will remain. There is a powerful integrity as a foundation to their friendship that surpasses coincidence.
This story of Kat and Paul and the fragrance of strength that is their friendship reminds me of an experience of my own. I grew up in a family with one parent and one brother. My brother and I were pretty close; we were 4 years apart – him being the older one of the two. And despite the normal sibling fights, we always had a bond that couldn’t be expressed in words. Unfortunately, as the years went by, when I was 11 and he was 15, our family broke apart and him and I lost touch. For the next 8 and a half years of my life I only saw him a small handful of times, other than that, we had no communication whatsoever. It wasn’t until Christmas last year that we reconnected. When we finally met up after so many years of not seeing each other there were so many things going through my mind; so many questions as to what it would be like.
How different will he be?
Will we take our time reconnecting to the friendship we had before or will it come naturally?
Will he like who I have become?
What if he doesn’t like me and I lose him again?
It came to my surprise how quickly, calmly and naturally we both fell back into the brother-sister relationship like no time had ever past. It only took a few minutes into our very first conversation. One thing that immensely caught my attention was how alike we were – how all the little traits I posses that make me, me, also made him, him. Little things, like freaking out after leaving the house thinking I had left the candle on and having to stop and mentally replay in my mind the image of me leaving the house to see whether or not I blew it out, having to pull the car door handle not once, but at least twice to make sure that it has locked after pressing the ‘lock’ button, enjoying the same food, loving the same TV shows, speaking with the same mannerisms, protecting our partners the same way or even something as small as laughing the same way about the same, stupid things that no one around us found funny. What struck me about this, was that I always thought that all the little, similar qualities about people were a result from spending so much time with them, but him and I are so alike despite having little to no contact over a period of eight years.
All Quiet on the Western Front talks about an experience between Kat and Paul roasting a goose for their dinner. Their experience revolves around either cooking at the same time, or one cooking allowing the other to rest. The fire that cooks the goose provides physical warmth but their friendship they have created in the midst of war has blossomed internal warmth. I truly believe it is experiences like this, that when the chaos is over, when circumstances change, moment like sitting by a fire together cooking your dinner is what you will remember and cherish long after the act of doing so is in the past. This is how I feel about my story with my older brother; everything we have experienced together is now in the past, yet we are so deeply connected because of moments like this together. It would not specifically be cooking a goose over the fire, but it would be memories of watching our favourite TV show together for hours on end during school holidays, only to be separated for almost a decade to realise that we both still have the same favourite TV show. This is what I would call the most memorable experience in my life, as I have a friendship that is deeply connected through experience and is not wavered by circumstance.
The nature of the wave is the intensity of the crashing and breaking of water, but also the serenity it inevitably brings when it is whole and still once again. Despite it collapsing as it hits the shore, it always returns back to its natural state of peace without question. This is what I believe our relationships are; that without fail, our connection with other beings, although they may break, will inevitably return to its natural state of togetherness and harmony.
The amount we grew in the time we spent apart…