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July 2015

- True Friends -

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My daughter Xira and her American friend, Joana, go – as they say – through thick and thin together and, for many years, have travelled half way around the world in order to meet up.

They once arranged to spend a few holiday weeks together with all of us in Portugal. On one of the final days of the holiday, I came up with the idea of painting the two of them on the beach. But the day was exceedingly hot, the water gloriously refreshing – and their desire to surf simply outweighed any desire to sit patiently and model. As a result, the colourful umbrella had been captured on paper by the end of the day but not the two young women. It doesn’t matter, we thought, we still have tomorrow. But Xirahad caught a cold and hadn’t fully recovered by the time of our return flight. “I’ll come again next year”, Joana promised as she took leave from her ‘Deutsche Familie’, “after all, the painting isn’t finished yet”. And that little miracle came to pass: we all really did spend the following summer together in the same place. I had brought the canvas with the colourful umbrella with me and, on the very first day on the beach, the two friends sat before me in the sand – arm in arm, looking out across the sea. They discussed all the events of the last 12 months, insignificant and significant, and their whimsical, intimate chatter bubbled like a merrily babbling stream. Neither noticed the time fly by and their surprise was genuine when I finally put the paintbrush down: “What? You’re already finished?”

Friendship is simply wonderful: it not only transcends all distances in space and time, but also intensifies each and every shared experience. Accordingly, it came as no surprise that both immediately had the same answer ready when I asked what I should call the painting: True Friends! And with that, the laughing and joking instantly began once more…

 

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