Let It Be

 

How many books are written about break-ups? What about songs or movies? The end of a love affair is big business and is universal. But what about the end of a friendship? How do we “break-up” with a friend? Sometimes, the evolution of a friendship is organic and easy. We take the hint, phone calls go unanswered and we realize, “huh, guess we’re not close anymore” and it doesn’t hurt. We let it be. We move on; it’s an example of how lives change, things are fluid. You used to work together and now you don’t. Your kids aren’t in the same class anymore. It’s not a huge emotional issue, it just is. This happens a lot, even with close friends. The best thing about these types of break-ups is that they are often not break-ups at all. You might cross paths with this friend sometime again, be it years or even decades later, and pick up right where you left off. Circumstances have brought you together again and it’s wonderful.

Other times, there is an awkward shift. Whether gradual or sudden, expectations no longer match, values change, someone does something “unforgiveable” or, quite simply, one person wants more out of the friendship than the other. Feelings do get hurt. I’ve been on both ends of this. Tonight as I write this, I am thinking about a woman, a friend who I can no longer call a close friend and it hurts. She broke up with me simply by being unresponsive. I used to tell myself it was her nature (and frankly, it is, she’s very scattered and can be unreliable, even when we were equally invested friends). But I know definitively, that we are no longer constants in each other’s lives because she doesn’t want it. It doesn’t mean anything to her anymore to be connected to me and that makes me sad. And, it makes me question just how close we were. What did I mean to her? And, finally, is this line of questioning akin to self-inflicted paper cuts followed by a shaker of salt?

Most likely, and I am proud to be able to be both objective and adult enough to write these words, we have just drifted apart. It could very well be that her dance card is full. We no longer live in the same state. We met at work years ago and clicked easily. We trained together for my first triathlon—she pursued me as friend/training partner, the thought of doing a triathlon had never entered my mind. I was terrified and she was an amazing training partner and became a close friend. To say our training runs were like therapy sessions doesn’t do them justice. Those soul baring early summer morning runs were spectacular. My workout partner had always been my Walkman (yes, Walkman, this was the 90s). Instead, I had a new friend and we both soaked each other in with reciprocal love and respect. It sounds borderline romantic as I write these words; it was nothing of the sort. I don’t think we give friendships enough credit for just how intimate and deep they can be. I was real with this friend and she loved me just the same. And, she felt the same about me.

So, perhaps that is why I still, over a decade later, feel a twinge as I write this and I see her name come up on my “Chat” drop down box on Facebook. There she is, right now, just a keystroke away. But in fact she’s much farther still. And, through the nightmare that is social networking, I see that she is still in touch with other people from that time in our lives. And I am not, at least not in the same way nor do I want to be. Let it be.

I have made attempts at reconnection. She did eventually respond to a message I sent some months ago, but I let it go as her response was an excuse and not a reaching out. It was, again, another explanation of why so much time had passed since her last contact. “Doc, it hurts when I bang my head against the wall.” I think I get it now. It may be me and it may not but it’s time to back away from the wall. And, it doesn’t matter anymore, it can’t. I am setting her free. I am going to remember with fondness and love the years of friendship we shared, and let go of the disappointment I felt because of what is not now.

Remember Helen Seinfeld’s familiar refrain on “Seinfeld?” Jerry tells his mother, “Not everyone likes me.” “Oh, that’s ridiculous,” she says “how could anyone not like you?” It is possible for someone to not like me, or to have liked or loved me once but to have moved on. And for it to not be about me. There’s no bad blood, no need for closure or emotional rehashing of this or that. It just is. Things change, people change. And I will always have the memory of early morning runs, ours a beautiful wooded path that wove past a creek, horses, a serene duck pond, light on our feet and in our hearts, talking and laughing with my dear and special friend.

Comments

  1. mollylukens says:

    Nice Jenny, I think we’ve all been there.

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  2. heartwriter says:

    Beautifully shared.

    Like

  3. Marci Servizi says:

    Even though it is not romantic, you still want to be “the drifter” not “the drifted from”. It takes time and energy to be a good friend. It is funny how some friends you don’t see and it is ok to pick up where you left off and with others that just doesn’t work. As I read your entry, I am taken by how well you can say it. Keep writing, you have a gift, my dear.

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  4. Jenny Kanevsky says:

    Thanks all. And Marci, even though we haven’t seen each other in years, I feel that way about you; we’d pick up right where we left off, on the floor at WRQ chatting away.

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  5. Debbie Sweetland says:

    Thank you for sharing your insides and your insights–I love real, raw, down-to-earth bonafide human emotions that I can so truly relate to. Fading memories of once close girlfriends, and the blessings of “in the moment” connections with your own children.
    People’s lives move so quickly, it’s easy to lose sight. Pinpointing what is real…marking it, writing it, living it, and sharing it with others is what it’s all about. Thank you, Jenny!

    Like

  6. Lovely post, Jenny!
    Thanks for sharing~

    My best,
    Irene

    Like

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