From Acquaintance to Best friends
Back home in Romania we have different words describing the level of friendship with someone. If I want to refer to a person as my best friend, then I say prieten. If it’s an acquaintance then I refer to him/her as an amic/a.
When I moved to the U.S. over eight years ago, I knew no one, except my husband. I was a stay-at-home mom for the first six months and spent a lot of time bored out of my mind, cleaning every day as if a herd of bulls ran down my house on a regular basis. I met a few neighbors, a few of my husband’s co-workers, my husband’s family… but a real friend, a person I could just sit down and chat with, I had no one. For a while my husband’s ex-wife (yeah, you read it correctly, his ex-wife) helped me get around, taking me to a hairdresser, shopping or we would just hang out by the pool.
Then I began working. Eventually I met new people. Some of them became my friends, some of them only acquaintances (between you and I this word, acquaintance is one of the few words I still can’t pronounce; my Romanian tongue is too stiff for it). I really like separating the two categories for a few reasons. If I consider someone my friend, then that person is someone I can count on, open up to; a friend is someone that is there for me no matter what and accepts me as I am, the good and the bad, making me feel good about myself or bashing my head when I need it without being afraid that I will bite back. You can’t do any of that with an acquaintance, right?
While we are surrounded by acquaintances, some of them move to the next level—friends. When is that happening or what triggers it? Is it spending more time with them? Getting to know their quirks, sharing insight from their life? How about trust?
For me it’s pretty much all of the above. I have a few friends. Not that I don’t want more, but I rather have only a few BFs that mean the world to me, people I cherish and love to death, people I was blessed to meet and really take time to know them. I have lots of acquaintances. To name a few, take for instance the pharmacists at Walgreens I’ve known for the past few years, ever since the store opened up—Becky and Thai. Or the Einstein’s crew, close to my son’s school where we stop sometimes in the morning for a fresh bagel and a cup of hot mocha—Giana and Doddie. Or Sheila at El Pollo Loco. Or Bernie—my hairstylist. It’s enough that I walk into their store and they greet me with a smile. I love calling them by name, exchanging a few words other than the regular order placing. It gives me a feeling of belonging.
And since today is a post dedicated to friends, I’m dedicating this one to my critique partners: Cindy C Bennett, Sherry Gammon and Jeffery Moore. For the past two years since we started this group, we share more than just a passion for writing, critiques and recommendations. We also talk about our families, about our children’s achievements, pains we have, dreams and worries, exchange jokes and even… wigs. Yes, you read it right: wigs. I got mine from Cindy as a result of my constant complaining that she’s too demanding (wanting me to write better). I told her she makes me pull my hair and soon I’ll turn bald if I continue. In return she sent me a pink wig with a note: "Shut up, and write."
Do you have such friends?
In a war that’s not hers, she loses everything.
Everything she loses is because of him.
Forgiveness is not an option.
Lieutenant Cassandra Toma, trauma surgeon in the Romanian National Army starts her deployment at a joint-unit air base on a wrong foot, clashing on her first day with her new commander, Major David Hunt. Her rebellious nature and sassiness rival her excellent performance in the operating room—the only reason why she’s not reprimanded, or maybe not the only reason.
They meet. They clash. A forbidden passion consumes them with the intensity of an erupting volcano, leaving her heartbroken and him with tarnished honor and pride as an officer. The only way out for David is disappearing into the dangerous warzone in Iraq. Their flame was supposed to be over when destiny brings them back under the same roof, this time with a common goal—to find Cassandra’s brother, Maj. Robert Toma, kidnapped by insurgents while on patrol.
To rescue Robert, Cassandra and David put aside their resentments, uniting forces against a common enemy. Trying to forget the painful past, Cassandra opens up to give David—and their love—another chance. What she doesn’t realize is that her anguish is the result of David’s impetuous action—one reckless choice he made for which she may never forgive him.
His mistake, his secret, could cost them both the love they’ve finally found.
“You need to calm down,” David inched closer to Cassandra, fixing her with such intensity her face caught fire.
“Calm down? You want me to calm down?” she snorted, jutting her chin up, hands on her hips.
“Yes. You need to calm down. What was that all about? Why are you so furious?”
“You want to know why I am so furious?” Cassandra grounded her feet apart and pushed her chin forward. “You really want to know? I’ll tell you why. I’m so sick of your bigheaded attitude, of your ‘I’m an American—I do whatever I want’ arrogance!” She shoved a finger at David’s chest, poking it and leaning forward. Her gaze locked on his, their faces close. “You act like some god on our grounds, like you’re doing us a big favor, honoring us with your royal presence as if we are a bunch of idiots you cannot stand. Anything that comes your way that is Romanian, you dismiss with such vehemence one might think it’s poisonous. Nothing we do or have is good enough for your nose.
“But let me tell you something, my friend. My people might not have everything so technical and so advanced, but they are good and hard-working people. They have good hearts and above all, they have dignity. When you live for generations under communism and are treated the way we were, maybe only then you can understand what it means to be so ‘primitive’. To be given nothing and be expected to work wonders. Your standards and ours obviously don’t match, but who are you to judge us? What do you know about us that gives you the right to treat us this way? Huh?
“And for your information, in case nobody had the courage to tell you, this is not our war.” She made a large circle with her arms. “We haven’t asked for it and we are doing you a favor allowing all of you to be on our soil. And not vice versa.” Cassandra straightened her back, pushed away a curl that fell on her face and held her arms up. “Here you have it, I said it.”
She walked around David, opened the door and before leaving, said without looking back, “And don’t forget to write me up.”
About the Author
I’m Chris’ wife, Patrick’s mom and Bella’s owner. During the day, I’m the assistant to the Director at SESE at Arizona State University, and romance’s slave at night.
I moved to the U.S eight years ago, following my heart and the man who stole it. I love comedies, historical dramas and happily-ever-after stories. English is not my native, not my second, but my third language.
Some fun facts about me:
- Each year I participate in one big event that requires me to physically train. My biggest sportive accomplishment was the 3-day 60-mile Susan G. Komen Walk.
- Annually I pick a color I decree my favorite (this year it’s salmon).
- I refused to text until 2010, always preferring to hear voices rather than sending emotionless messages. Politic bores me to death and I have no tolerance for arrogance.
- “A World Apart” is my second book. My debut novel “Hidden Heart” came out March 2011.