by Esther Elizabeth Suson
On my way to Market from the Every Nation building, I found myself walking in the opposite direction from three young men, side by side. They had the brown, bony, lanky builds of men in their late teens or early twenties. The one in the center was enthusiastically talking, gesturing with his right arm while his left was slung far over the shoulder of one friend.
On his other side, their friend was quiet, only half-listening to the conversation. He was facing outward, attentive to the movement around them. However, his left arm was bent at the elbow so it touched his friend’s arm, a quiet display of connection. As they moved all together, it could not have been more obvious they were all in one group.
Walking from High Street on the wide sidewalk to to Mini Cooper around 8:45 in the morning, I found myself walking behind three older (than the younger three) men. They were in their mid- to late-twenties, dressed in button-downs and slacks like single young professionals. Unlike the younger 3, these had no physical contact whatsoever. The only thing that betrayed their association was that they were walking side-by-side, neither going ahead of the other.
Until them, I had thought friend groups tended to walk in sync. However, these 3 were simply rambling whichever foot forward, but at the same pace. Despite the lack of physical or verbal contact as they walked, I noticed the center friend had both his backpack straps on, keeping both hands free. The friend to his right had his sling bag facing outward, while the friend to his left was swinging his backpack also on the shoulder facing outward. It was an adorably subconscious display of both inclusivity and exclusivity.
On my way along Market! from the bus stop towards the Every Nation building, I found myself behind a group of three men, probably in their late forties to early fifties. The center friend had his right hand on one friend’s shoulder, but was talking to the other.
To my amusement, this group of 3 was walking in sync. They were moving with the rolling, smooth step of people used to walking side by side. They did not just walk in sync, they actually moved in it, all turning their heads over their right shoulders when looking back; even turning to face forward at the same time.
There is no way I could have predicted seeing 3 groups of 3 friends, coincidentally all in BGC. However, especially seeing it by generation, it was a heart-warming pattern of friendship and its steadfastness that can last a lifetime.