Week Twenty One.

– “Isn’t this a wonderful conclusion to our friendship?”

– “Yes,” I said. Then we embraced warmly and disappeared forever from each other’s lives.

The book: The Empanada Brotherhood by John Nichols

The memory:

austin landscape

I’m having the most pleasant morning. It’s a beautiful summer day – early enough in the day when the sun hasn’t quite reached her peak of brilliance and the wind has decided to come out and play. I woke up, sketched for 20 minutes, because I’m learning to discipline myself. Innate ability is one thing, but discipline and hard work is really what counts.* Then, I read on the train. Book #27. Finally, I took a nice, breezy stroll to a new café, where I’m sitting outside in their backyard garden, eclectic furniture everywhere, sipping my chai tea latte.

There’s a male and female in front of me; I’m going to assume they’re a couple.  He is wearing a casual well-worn teal tee shirt, and tortoise shell glasses frames his face. She, on the other hand, is wearing a salmon summer dress with a sweater, because it is a little chilly out here. He’s reading the paper, while she quietly sips her coffee and stares off pensively into the distance. They’ve become really important people in each other’s lives – again, I’m assuming – but if they end their relationship, they will, hopefully, sit down and talk to one another, and mutually decide that they aren’t the right fit for each other. They conclude their relationship and move on. Romantic relationships have a definite beginning and sometimes, ending.

Friendships do, too, don’t they? We never really think of friendships having an ending. Of course, when we make friends, we don’t enter into that relationship preparing one day for its ultimate ending. Is it because it’s too sad to think about? Or is it because we don’t really want to accept the fact that people come in and out of our lives? Or maybe we intellectually know it, but as creatures of habit, we don’t like change.

We never say goodbye, really, when friendships end. Because we often don’t ever think they will end, we just let time slip away, and the hours and days between when we talk, laugh, or soak up each other’s company becomes longer and further apart. I also think that we think of endings as a sad state of affair, but they don’t have to be. Like two characters in a novel, each with personality traits and flaws that complement each other, they both go through a journey, complete with character development, until they reach the last chapter, when they realize they’re different people now.

Embracing the changing nature of relationships is hard. Whether it’s because one of us physically moved away, or because one of us entered into a different phase in life, nothing, including friendships, is constant. When something ends, we often reject it, blame it, or ignore it. But sometimes, I think it can be celebrated. We can celebrate a wonderful friendship with someone, who, at a certain time and place in our lives, was someone we really needed. This person was there for us, helped us grow, laughed with us, cried with us, and lived the same lives we did. The friendship was beautiful. Just because it isn’t what it used to be, doesn’t make it any less beautiful, or remove the impact of this person from your life.

Some friendships last for years, while some just a few months – but I think they’re all meaningful in some way, and they all deserve a proper conclusion. How we conclude them, however, is something I’ve left unexplored. With fear of sounding trite, I feel like I keep books of my friendships in my heart, and sometimes I take one of those books out, dust it off, and relive those memories of that person and our friendship. There’s a genuine feeling of warmth, but also a twinge of mourning lingers. It’s okay, though, because the book is already there, and nothing can erase what has already been written. Some of those books don’t have conclusions yet, though, and I can either make them a cheerful one, or not. Some of those books have many more chapters to come…!

Maybe sitting in a café always evokes these types of thoughts – which, by the way, I’ve moved inside because I’ve been bitten 3 times and the wind was playing a bit too aggressively. I don’t want to sound melancholy about the conclusion of friendships – just because you’ve finished a book doesn’t mean you don’t take it out years later and reread it. Neither am I talking about anyone in particular. But I am working on accepting, embracing, and celebrating the changing nature of relationships – all of them – and what it means. We may grow closer, we may drift apart, but either way, it’s been such a pleasure.

———

Ps – Feel free to debate with me on this! Friendships don’t have to end; I’m being melodramatic; etc.

*More on this later. Discipline and hard work applies to friendships and relationships, too.

End, Memory Musing Twenty-One.

Next week: Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

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