The foundation of Joan and Simon's friendship was a special kind of envy, on Simon's part, and a special kind of crazy on Joan's. Joan never once explained why she was crazy, what she'd been committed for, or whether she still believed it or not. Simon accepted this just as he accepted that Adam looked at her with undenied devotion, and appreciated Joan's ability to ignore the obvious.
Simon told her, "I thought I met a saint once, when I was little."
She looked up briefly from where she was furiously sketching the park. Joan's new hobby was sketching - she brought pencils with her everywhere, ripped page after page out of her book to try and capture what she saw. Adam said she was brilliant; Joan said she sucked. It didn't seem to bother her much that she couldn't draw.
"It was a homeless lady," Simon offered up. Simon figured that in order to get to know people you had to reach out, and he didn't have the church to lean on anymore. He fidgeted, on the park bench. Joan's pencil was still.
Finally, Joan said, "why did you think she was a saint?"
Simon shrugged. "I think it was the way she smiled at my little sister, Ruthie. I can't remember, now."
Joan bit her lip, and got what Simon secretly called her 'reflective' look, the one she used when Adam was tired or when anyone mentioned religion. Joan said, "do you believe in saints?"
Simon paused. "I guess," he told her finally. "I mean, define 'saint'. Define 'miracle'. It depends."
"yeah," Joan echoed, and kept sketching.
the reason Simon and Joan got along - possibly better than he and Adam ever would - was because Simon allowed Joan to sketch without trying to encourage or discourage her. He just let her do it, neutrally, while she didn't try and make him pray. It wasn't, perhaps, the most solid of starting points, but it would do.