September 13, 2012 at nearly 9pm, Naomi and I were chatting on Skype after she had recently arrived back from a month in South Africa. I had missed her terribly while she was gone and Austin and I hadn’t talked much during her absence aside from the occasional email. When she came back, we immediately picked up where we had left off and talked about how our campaign Skype room now had too many new people in it and our conversations of just the three of us weren’t just the three of us any more, much to our chagrin. The resulting conversation went something along these lines…
Naomi: what would you say to a skype group for the three of us? If you like it with just the unity party, I’m cool with that. But with the other room getting bigger, I was just tossing the idea in my head…
Cassandra: Naomi… I was thinking the same thing. I’ve been toying with the idea since yesterday… and… I like it. Because… our chats have gotten somewhat personal at times and I don’t really know the others as well yet.
Naomi: Right. I won’t speak as freely just ‘cuz I don’t even know who everyone else is.
Cassandra: And… you + Austin + me… it’s just the best, IMO. ;)
Naomi: (nod) We make a fun threesome (nod)
Naomi: let’s just do it. he can leave if for whatever reason he didn’t like it ;)
So that happened.
Rewind to the week before;
Naomi: you’re a nut
Austin: acorn actually.
Naomi If you’re an acorn, I’m totally a cashew.
Cassandra: Can I be an almond?
Back to Present Time. Or what’s supposed to be Present Time. (i.e. September 13th at approximately 9pm.)
Naomi added Cassandra and Austin to this conversation
Cassandra set topic to “Acorn + Cashew + Almond”
Austin: What be this place?! :O
Cassandra: It’s a chat room. ;)
Austin: wow. :P So… just a place for us three crazy people then?
Cassandra: Naomi and I hoped you wouldn’t mind if we made a chat room for the three of us. The Unity Party one was getting full of people we really didn’t know as well.
Austin: I don’t mind at all.
Naomi: you’re free to jump ship just as soon as you get scared
Austin: Oh, I have my life jacket on, trust me.
Cassandra: In that case, it was all Naomi’s idea. ;)
And that’s how what would later be known as the NutRoom began. The three of us would visit daily; sometimes to have long conversations, other times just to share a little thought. We shared our lives with each other and were there for each other and our friendship grew and flourished faster than I could have imagined. We talked about family life and our studies and movies and then we delved into theology and politics. It became our safe place to vent and anytime one of us experienced anything particularly frustrating, that’s where’d we go. Before long, we had added Austin’s brother, Drew, to the group and he became the perfect addition to our threesome and we started having monthly video calls that would last for hours late into the night and just be spent talking and laughing about everything in general and nothing in particular.
Most importantly, through all of this, I wanted them to know me for who I really was because it’s all too easy to make yourself seem perfect online. I wanted them to know me as the girl who is a sinner and saved by Grace, the girl who doesn’t have it all together. I was real about my flaws and my quirks and the mistakes I made and the failures I experienced. The best part was that Austin, Drew, and Naomi were transparent and genuine in all of that as well, which made it so much more exciting when we celebrated each other’s successes. Quickly, our motto became “No Masks” and we were intentionally being real and honest with each other. It took deliberation, but we made it through the Conversations-That-Should-Have-Been-Awkward-But-Weren’t and our friendship emerged even stronger on the other side.
The simple, beautiful everydayness among us continued to thrive and when I traveled to Kentucky with my family in October, phone numbers were exchanged and infrequent, every-now-and-again texts commenced. We had marathon conversations quoting The Princess Bride, Finding Nemo, and Star Wars. We won another election and Austin and Drew were reelected, and Naomi honestly confided in me that she thought that Austin and I had the potential to be more than just friends one day. In the back of mind I began to wonder if maybe she could be right…by