There are a lot of friendships in Headlong – not only Lily’s with Hazel, but Lily’s other relationships: with Magnus; and Constance, her roommate; and Kells; and Edward Flowers; Julia and the other Vaughn girls; her teacher, Ms. Nell . . . .Each friend is a different facet of Lily, each elicits a different response. Some of the friendships ask more from her than she’s ever given before, others she finds stifling, too small for the person she’s becoming. But the deepest water in the story flows between Lily and Hazel.
So I started thinking about other deep friendships, relationships, in the fiction I love: Jo March and Laurie Lawrence, say. Or Harriet and Sport and Janie. Or Smilla and that poor little kid on the roof. Or Walker Percy’s Lancelot and his silent psychiatrist friend. (And those are just the ones I can see from my desk.)
A friend of mine, who lost her first, best friend from childhood, told me that when she died, “I lost the language we spoke together. No one can speak it with me now.” To speak a common language is to swim in the deeps. What do we gain, what do we give, from these intense connections, where sexuality/romance plays no overt part? Is your own deepest water flowing between you and a friend? There are so many ways to love.