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Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

‎Some days I find myself with a single word looping through my head, over and over again. Each time it happens it is a different word but I can’t seem to get it out of my head, can’t seem to move on to the next word unless I write about it.

For the last couple of days that word has been “missing.”

I sat at the soccer field the other night and acutely felt the absence of my parents. Thankfully they are both well and good, not “missing” in the most awful sense of the word but rather simply missing from our daily lives because they live 3,000 miles away. I watched my son score a goal and instantly thought “they missed it” and then “I miss them” and a happy moment became a sad one.

I’m realizing that you never get over missing someone. My parents and I have now lived on different sides of the country for more years than we l‎ived together. I have been missing them for half my life and it doesn’t seem to get any easier.

And when we are together it is great, and yet not the same as it was, or as it would be. It always brings with it the feeling of being temporary and fleeting. Even when we are together I find myself focusing still on the things they missed leading up to the visit, and all they will miss when they are gone.

I know I am lucky to have them; lucky they are well enough to travel and have the means and time to visit; lucky that at least a couple of times a year I can still place my head on my dad’s shoulder and feel small and cared for within his strength; lucky that I can hold the hands of my mother and my daughter in the same moment and be humbled by the completeness of it all. And I try, I really do, to focus on those things, on the gifts I have been given and yet all too often the other creeps into view, just beyond the corners. What is missing.

I am also missing my friend who is so far away. We keep in touch just the same as we did when she was here but I still acutely feel her absence during the most mundane parts of my day. She is still a voice in my head telling me I can do it and a hand on my back pushing me to continue but I sometimes fear I will lose it. That I will lose that sense of her and when the day finally comes that we are together again, it won’t be the same, that even though we are together, something will still be missing.

I sometimes feel as though I have defined my life more by the things that are missing than by the things that are present. Moving on often brings with it the need to leave things behind; it is often only after we say goodbye that we understand that in making room for the new we have created a hole.

Sometimes I write because I think I may have found an answer; this is one of the times when I write because I have too many questions.

So my heart will hurt a little bit today, as it does sometimes, and maybe tomorrow, when I wake up it will hurt a little less. And maybe there will be a different word looping its way through my head, one that focuses more on what has been found, and less on what is missing.

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‎Yesterday my best friend got on a plane and flew almost 3,800 km from here. And by here I mean here where I am, away from me.

I know it’s almost 3,800 km because I googled it. When your best friend tells you she’s moving away, return date unknown, there’s actually very little you can do, or at least very little I felt like I could do, except determine exactly how far away “away” actually is. For some reason it made me feel better, to know the number

She’s only technically been gone a day but already it feels different. Even when we lived much closer together, physically, we still did most of our communicating electronically. The pace of our lives didn’t leave much time for face to face but still there was the idea of it. The idea that if we needed it, wanted it, there could be a quiet cup of tea across a kitchen table, a bag of cookies open in front of us.

There is no doubt in my mind that our friendship will continue. I believe in my heart that it will and that’s really all the guarantee I need. I also have no doubt in my mind that she will one day return, not necessarily because it’s true but because sometimes we need to have ideas to hold onto, whether they are the truth or not.

I know I will miss her, miss her at get togethers when normally she would be in the next room or the next seat beside me on the couch. I will miss her when August turns into September and we don’t celebrate our birthdays together. I will miss her in December when our annual holiday party doesn’t include a few stolen moments to do our own little gift exchange. I will miss her in February when the Academy Awards are on and I will miss her in the summer when we used to sit on the grass and solve the problems of the world.

But mostly I will miss her in the quiet moments when I feel alone and need to hear her voice or see her words written on the page. Fro so much of my life she has been the voice inside my head telling me, contrary to what I may think, I can actually do it; whatever it may be.

And the good thing is, the thing that I am holding onto in these first days as I adjust to the new normal, is that I know she’s still there when I need her. I can still send her an email or a message and she will be there to tell me exactly what I need to hear. If I need to hear her voice, I still can, through the wonders of technology I will be able to see and hear her on a little screen and we can still sit across the table and have a cup of tea. Only this time we’ll each have our own bag of cookies.

She is 3,800 km away from here, away from me. But I know in my heart we are true friends and no distance can change that.

And that means 3,800 km is not really that far after all.

Almost 3800 km

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‎I spent a large portion of my weekend five minutes from your house. I was there to watch my daughter in a hockey tournament and I couldn’t help but make note of the proximity.

Five minutes.

If things were different we probably would have stopped by your place between games. If things were different you probably would have come by the arena to watch her play.

But things are the way they are, so we won’t and you won’t and that will be that.

I briefly wondered what I would do if I ran into you somewhere, in line at Tim Hortons when I picked up a tea, or at the store where we stopped ‎for water. If we were ever in the same room for five minutes, what would I say? What would you say? What would we say?

I used to think about it all the time: what happened, what went wrong, whether I should work harder to fix it but time, with its infinite wisdom, has taught me to stop asking what I can’t answer.

‎So I thought of you only briefly and sent good wishes your way because for a time you were a part of my life, a good part of my life, and for that I will always be thankful. For a time we were in step, our lives running on the same path, side by side. But no longer.

Instead we will now forever be five minutes apart.

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‎If the words came from anyone else, I probably wouldn’t have been offended. I would have read them in my head in a tone that wasn’t quite so sarcastic and snarky. I would remind myself that the words themselves were innocent enough; that it was really my added tone that was pushing them towards hostility. ‎

Maybe you’re trying to be helpful, with your comments, advice, suggestions. Maybe you don’t know how your words sting. Maybe you’re not doing it on purpose although, depending on the day, I have my doubts about that one.
‎Sometimes I think you know exactly what you’re doing and saying and implying. Sometimes I think you choose your words very carefully, with just enough edge to cut through the surface but still dull enough to appear to outsiders as innocent and innocuous.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when things changed; that line in the sand when we moved from friends to something else. Maybe it didn’t happen in one moment but was rather a string of them, woven together in such an intricate pattern t‎hat it’s now impossible to find the beginning or the end.

Maybe I’m being too sensitive; maybe I need to give you a break, cut you some slack and give you the benefit of the doubt now and then. Maybe that will be the first step to bridging the gap that has opened up between us. Maybe I need to be the bigger person.

Maybe. Except I don’t want to.‎

So you’ll keep saying the words and I’ll keep taking them the wrong way because the bottom‎ line is I don’t want to be friends. And while I have to accept the fact that circumstances will continue to bring us together, I really don’t have to pretend to like it. ‎‎

I’m not that good an actress.

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Prompt 3

We missed the bus.

We thought we had it all planned out but the movie ran longer than we thought.  I think it was a triple feature but which movies they were, I couldn’t tell you, that information lost after so many years.  I seem to remember that the theatre always played triple-features and they were somehow related to each other.  Three movies with Brad Pitt or three movies about high school or three movies with the word “Light” in the title.  It didn’t really matter, as long as they had something in common, they would play the three together.

The theatre is called the Mayfair and I’m pretty sure it’s still there.  Every time we go back to Ottawa to visit we take a drive down Bank Street and see it there, looking just as it did all those years ago, at least from the outside.

The listings for the movies used to be printed on coloured pieces of paper and would be tacked up in the common areas in residence.  It was before you could check movie listings online.  It was before smart phones and all of that.  We barely had email back then.  I know, I’m just realizing exactly how old I actually am.  A quick search online confirms that yes, the Mayfair is still there and now it has a website with all of the listings.  Of course it does.  It actually makes me a little sad to think about now.  Like the kids sitting in residence thinking about going to see a show at the Mayfair are missing out on something by just looking it up online.  It really was much better when you all had to gather around the piece of paper tacked to the board in Rez Commons.  Things are always better back in the day.

I don’t remember what the movies were, I don’t remember why we decided to go that particular night, I don’t remember if I had popcorn although, let’s be perfectly honest, I don’t know that I’ve ever been to a movie and not had popcorn.  I vaguely remember who I went with, not because I have a specific memory of it, but more because I spent almost every minute of my first year of university with the same group of people so I will assume we were at the movie together: my roommate and the two girls who lived next door to us.  An unlikely foursome brought together from four different cities in four different provinces.  About as far apart as four people could be, brought as close together as four people could be.  It was one of those amazing phenomenons whereby had we met under any other circumstances we probably wouldn’t have been friends but we were thrown together, all new to a  city, new to the idea of university, new to just about everything and we bonded quickly, tightly and for eight months we did almost everything together.  Like going to the movies that night.

The Mayfair is technically close enough to the university to walk to, and in the warmer weather we usually did walk, but in Ottawa in the winter, you don’t walk anywhere.  We took the bus, the good old #7 bus that took us pretty much anywhere we wanted to go and then brought us home again when we were done.  Except when we forget to double-check the schedule and we missed the last bus.

I don’t remember the circumstances surrounding realizing we missed the bus or making the heart-wrenching decision that we were going to have to hoof it on foot, but I do remember the cold.

I have never been that cold in my life.  Within three minutes of starting out on our way, I couldn’t feel my thighs, so cold was the wind biting into my jeans.  We tried to talk to take our minds off the cold but our teeth were chattering so hard that soon talking became impossible so we just kept making noises, any kind of noises to keep our lips moving so they didn’t freeze in place.  Having spent the first 17 years of my life in a much more moderate climate I had never felt this kind of cold before.  People warned me, tried to prepare me for what I was going to experience, but until that night I had no idea.

We walked as fast as we possibly could, counting the blocks as we passed by them.  We reached the dingy pizza place that marked the halfway point and kept on walking.  My feet were now frozen and it was like dragging two blocks along behind me.  Why had we decide to go to a movie anyway?  Who’s idea was this?  Next time anyone suggests going outside in the winter I’m going to say ‘no way’ and stay inside where it’s warm!

The funny thing is though, when I think back to that night and the bone-jarring cold, the other most distinct memory I have is how much fun it was.  It was an adventure.  I was there with the three people who had, in such a short time, become my whole world and we were having the time of our lives.  That year is still one of the best I have ever had and that night was just one adventure in a year filled with so many new experiences that I can’t even remember all of them.

But I will never forget missing that bus, and walking home in the cold, so cold that I honestly thought we weren’t going to make it, and yet also feeling so lit up inside.  Like suddenly realizing I was exactly where I was supposed to be, becoming the person I was always supposed to become.

Maybe missing the bus wasn’t so bad after all.

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A big thank you to Leslie for sending along this idea!

“List ten things you love and ten things you hate. Celebrate the former and ‘kill’ the latter by writing about them.”

It probably says something about my personality that when I first read this suggestion I wondered how I would only come up with ten things that I hate.  I am the kind of person for whom a lot of things rub me the wrong way.  Maybe I’ll have to do that part of the writing prompt more than one time!

Okay, so here it goes!

I love

1) I love the smell in the air after it rains.  Sometimes I stand outside my front door and just inhale.  I try not to think to much about what my neighbours must think of me.

2) I love getting mail from friends.  I have a couple of great people in my life who send me cards sometimes and I hope they know how much I love them.  I love to see my name hand written on the outside of an envelope when I open my mail box.  I love that someone took the time to pick out a card they thought I would like, write something sweet inside, riffle through their purse to find a stamp, and walk to the mail box to send it off to me.  That says love to me.

3) I love watching the previews in the movie theatre.  I love getting lost in the little stories and picking out which ones I want to see next.  I can’t be friends with anyone who doesn’t want to be there in time to watch the previews.  Sorry.  Deal breaker.

4) I love walking through the office supply aisle at Target.  I love looking at all of the different colour Post-It notes and thinking about all the places I would post them.  I love flipping through the journals, running my hands over the untouched pages and hearing the crack of the unopened spine.  I imagine all of the things I would write in there.

5) I love when my hubby or one of my kids reaches out to hold my hand, all on their own, just because they want to.  The way they do it without even looking because they know that my hand will be there, just where they expect it to be, whenever they need it.

6) I love being in the car by myself on a warm Spring day, the windows cracked, the radio just a little bit louder than necessary, singing off-key to some cheesy boy-band song.  I love feeling grown-up enough to have a car that I can drive and somewhere to go, without having to be an adult, shushing the kids in the back so I can hear the latest traffic report.

7) I love the first sip of a cup of tea.  No matter if it’s first thing on a cold morning, driving to the train station, or last thing on a summer night, listening to the rain bounce off the roof.  The first sip always makes me stop, close my eyes, and just enjoy.  Suddenly I’m eight years old again, home sick from school with my mom and sharing a cup while she lets me watch As The World Turns, feeling so special and loved.

8) I love bubble baths, the hotter and bubblier the better.  There’s just something about sliding down into that hot water and feeling the worries and tension just soak from my body that makes everything seem easier.  I’m sure none of the world’s problems have ever been solved in a bubble bath, but I’m just as sure that none of them were made any worse.

9) I love the feeling when I finish an amazing book and I just want to tell everyone I know to go and read it.  And then I want to sit in a room filled with those people and talk about all the things we loved about it.  I love getting to the last page and being glad to have reached the end but also totally devastated because it means I can no longer live in the world the book created for me and have to, instead, return to real life.

10) I love candles.  I used to buy them and then leave them in my closet to collect dust because I thought it was decadent to burn them.  I don’t think that anymore.  I light a candle almost every night after dinner, whenever I have a bubble bath, and some nights while I read a few pages before I go to sleep.  Something about the smell – I especially love any of the scented ones that smell like baked goods – just relaxes me and forces me to take a moment just to breath and quiet the commentary in my head.  I burn them all the time and when it has been burned all it can, I don’t feel guilty about having used it up, instead I celebrate the fact that it means I get to go pick out a new one.

I hate

1) I hate folding laundry.  I don’t mind putting the stuff in the washing machine and can usually remember to move it from the washer to the dryer but when I hear the buzzer go to tell me it’s time to fold, I can’t help but say a few bad words.  How does everything that goes into the machine right-side out come out of the dryer inside out?  Why are there always socks missing?  I mean seriously, where do they go???  And perhaps the worse part is that I know, as I stand there folding shirt after shirt, I know it’s not the end.  I still have to put them all away.  Hatred, pure hatred.

2) I hate people who walk slowly.  I am a fast walker and I’m not saying that everyone needs to walk as quickly as I do but really, if you can’t keep up can you at least move over to the side??  I don’t care if I don’t even have anywhere to go, I still need to get there quickly!

3) I hate french toast.  I hate that everyone acts surprised when I say I hate french toast, like I just said I hate babies or sunshine.  I don’t like bread dipped in egg okay?  If I wanted eggs and toast I would cook them separately, not together in the same pan, smushed together.  Get over it.

4) I hate the way people order non-fat lattes at Starbucks and then ask for whipped cream.  Really??  You didn’t want all of the fat in your latte, you’d prefer to just add it on top?  Give yourself (and all of us) a break and just treat yourself.  Go full fat once in awhile and don’t make apologies.  It will stop those of us in line behind you from having to roll our eyes at you.

5) I hate fake.  I hate people who hide behind fake instead of letting the rest of us see what’s really going on with them.  If you want to pretend you’re happy all the time, loving every minute of being a wife, being a mother, being a friend, being a daughter, then that’s your own business but I don’t have to go along with it.  Fake is boring.  Fake isn’t even worth commenting on.  If you want to be real, if you want to share what’s really going on and what you’re really feeling then I will be here, every minute of the day, 2 in the morning, whatever.  I have all the time in the world if you want to be real; but I don’t have time for fake.

6) I hate feeling out of place.  I hate not knowing where to stand or what to wear or which words to say.  I hate feeling like I don’t know what’s going on, or wondering if I’m doing it all wrong.  I realize this is a horrible thing to hate because consistent with trying anything new is the idea that there is going to be a period of time when I don’t know what I’m doing, but I hate it nonetheless.

7) I hate being late.  I can literally feel the tension in my body as the clock ticks closer and closer to the time I’m supposed to be somewhere.  I usually end up feeling slightly ill if I end up arriving after the time I’m supposed to.  In conjunction with this, I hate it when other people are late.  I know there are justifiable and unavoidable reasons why people are sometimes delayed but it still completely irks me.

8) I hate feeling like I have let someone down.  I hate thinking that somewhere out there might be a friend who wonders if I care for them, or a loved one who wonders if I think of them at all.  I hate knowing that I can’t be there for someone when they need me, or that there’s something about me that makes others not want to share what they’re feeling.  Because sometimes I feel all of those things and I know it’s not a nice way to feel.

9) I hate pants that gape at the back.  I hate the fact that people who make pants can’t grasp the fact that 99% if women’s waists are smaller than their hips, whether the woman is a size 5 or a size 15.  Why can’t they get that?  Why can’t they make pants that fit?  If it’s a physical impossibility then why don’t they put those elastics in the waists of women’s pants that you can adjust, like they do with kids pants?  We can put people on the moon and make chewing gum that tastes like key lime pie but this, this we can’t do??

10) I hate radio call-in shows.  They physically make my skin crawl.  As soon as I hear the words “Dave from Oakville, you’re in the air” my throat starts to close up and my arms start to itch.  I don’t know why.  I don’t know what it is about them that I hate so much but I do.  And now they even have call-in shows on tv, as if just listening to them wasn’t enough, now we get to see them.  There’s one on tv now where people call in and ask a guy about buying a car.  So now Dave from Oakville wants to buy a 2005 Honda Civic and wants to know how much he should pay.  Oh the agony.

I have to say, this exercise was quite an eye-opener.  I thought it would be easy to come up with ten things I hate but it actually took me way more time than the ten things I love.  It was also interesting to actually sit for a minute and ask myself what I love.  No one ever really asks that, do they?  And yet is there really anything that says more about us as people than what we love.

Maybe next time I’m having tea with a friend I’ll ask them, and actually sit back and listen because if we really love someone, shouldn’t we also care about and nurture the things they love?  I mean people are usually more than willing to volunteer to tell us about the things they hate, I for one know that I share that information more than others probably wish I would, but how often do we talk about what we love?

Thanks again for sending this along Leslie, this was a great one!

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Because she taught me not to apologize for who I am.

Because whenever I’m around her, we laugh louder than I ever thought possible, and I don’t even realize it until someone leans over to tell us to keep it down.

Because I don’t have to explain myself to her; I don’t have to give the background or the context.  She gets it because she gets me.

Because she doesn’t realize how a room changes when she walks into it; how everyone is instantly drawn to her.

Because she cheers me on when I need it; and calls me on my shit when I need that too.

Because sometimes I still feel like she’s too cool to be friends with someone like me, but I know she doesn’t think so.

Because she believes I am better than I have ever believed myself to be.

Because she knows that accessories don’t make the outfit, accessories are the outfit.

Because she remembers things I said long after I forget ever saying them.

Because no matter how exhausted she is from taking care of a feisty little girl, she always has time to listen, to answer a text, to reply to a message, to pay attention.

Because she never lets me off the hook.

Because whenever I tell her Jann Arden is coming to town, her response is always “are you getting the tickets, or am I?” even though we’ve already seen her a dozen times.

Because she knows the four best places in the entire world are the library, Michaels, Chapters and Shoppers Drug Mart.

Because she believes in the power of red lipstick.

Because she admits to watching the Kardashians.

Because she sends me little gifts in the mail when I’m feeling down.

Because she makes me want to do great things; and makes me believe that I actually can.

Because she has changed almost everything about her life and yet still stays true to who she is.

Because she knows that celebrity gossip is just as important as world events.

Because she reads amazing books and then tells me about them.

Because she understands the healing power of a cup of tea; and the important role that chocolate should play in everyone’s life.

Because she is an amazing mother who makes no apologies for talking about how hard it is.

Because I can’t ever imagine a day when we will run out of things to talk about.

Because she doesn’t try to smooth over the rough stuff; instead she reaches out her hand and tells me we’ll get through it together.

Because I know she will cry a little when she reads this.

Because I can’t imagine who I would be without her.

Because even though we were born two weeks and hundreds of miles apart, sometimes it feels as though she is the other half of me.

Because she is the best.

Because today is her birthday.

Because I’m thousands of miles away and can’t give her a birthday hug so for now these words will have to do.

Happy birthday my bosom friend.

Because you are special to me every single day; today just seemed like a good day to make sure you know it.

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