Thursday, July 12, 2012


I've been thinking a lot about friendship lately.  Some of it is because I have truly amazing, supportive friends.  Some of it is because friendship, like everything else, evolves and grows and adjusts over time.

I had a friend several years ago who I met in the bus line, waiting for Big G to board and go to school.  We hit it off immediately, and talked all the way back to our houses.  We lived pretty close to each other, and she invited me in for a cup of coffee and a chat.  That memory is still one of my favorites, the taste of hazelnut and the feeling of connection in the early morning.

You know those rare and amazing friendships between entire families?  We had that, briefly.  Our kids got along, our husbands got along, and there was so much laughter whenever we would get together.  For a short while, she and I worked together at the same school, and though we had very different styles we made a pretty good team for the most part.  I became pregnant with Little G, and things began to change because I had what she desired most. She has said this, herself.  Somewhere along the line, between frequent moves and her own life changes, we had lost touch.  Her number changed, she moved also, she adopted a son.  But, still, I missed her.

I kept feeling like I needed to call her.  But how?  Did she even want to hear from me?  I finally got a message to her via a mutual friend and Facebook, and we could talk.

I wish I could say that we instantly had that same feeling of connection.  I wish I could say that we still felt that bond.  We spoke of our kids, our husbands, all the wonderful changes that had happened in her life-- her new son, her first grandbaby, the teaching and advocacy work she was doing.  It felt comfortable and happy and warm, like visiting a school from which one has graduated or attending a joyful class reunion.

It felt...empty.

We must have talked for 45 minutes, maybe an hour.  We touched base on so many things that were going on, and we were still able to joke with each other.  We still spoke the same language, understanding each others' underlying meanings.  I am so, so very glad we got to talk.  I wish her the very best, and I couldn't be happier that her life is as happy as I've always wanted for her.

And yet...

I find myself missing the people who sat at that dining room table, coffee in hand, talking for hours.  We talked about positive changes we wanted to make for ourselves, our husbands, and our children.  We debated.  We teased and bantered.  She and I have changed over these years.  Obviously she is in a very happy place now; it's just a different place.

When I hung up the phone, I felt like I was closing much more than the phone line between us.  I felt good, because I finally knew she was okay and happy.  And yet I also felt sadness, because I knew what we had once had, and what would no longer be ours.

Friendships are rooms in our hearts, down a long hallway lined with doorways.  Open, swinging, solid or screened...some are glass, some are hard wood but lovingly maintained through memory's care.  Just like anything, these doors can change over time.  Some are always ajar, waiting for a call or an email or a text hello.  Some of these doors open only during special circumstances.  There is the movie-going friendship, the at-work pal, the no-matter-what-time-just-call best friend.  Each friendship is represented by its own unique entryway.

Some doors, I am learning, close.  We might walk through that room one last time to share those feelings again, smiling but separate.   And we both, firmly, close the door with a soft and bittersweet "snick".

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