A friend’s return

Image courtesy of Elizabeth Schafer Stutzman

Image courtesy of Elizabeth Schafer Stutzman

Over the years−whether by accident or by design−I have lost touch with multiple friends.  For years it bothered me.  Knowing that these people held slivers of my heart in their possession bothered me.  Knowing that perhaps those pieces of me meant nothing to them bothered me.  Knowing that perhaps I meant nothing to them bothered me.

As a teenager and into my early twenties, I fought against it.  People moved on or away and I wrote and called and persisted.  They showed less interest and I continued on−possibly being annoying, probably being pathetic−because I just didn’t get it.  How does someone who means so much suddenly mean nothing?  The rub was that it wasn’t sudden; it just felt that way.  In reality, it was a slow fading away like watching a tree shed its foliage one precious leaf at a time.

Not until I lost touch with one of my most treasured friends did I finally learn to accept.  Hers was the house I ran to when I found out my family was no longer a family.  She was the one I cried to the countless times my high school boyfriend dishonored me and I, in turn, dishonored myself by staying with him.  She was the one who guarded my secrets and stood watch at the gates to my heart.  She was the real thing.  And then she slipped away, slowly like the leaves, until she was gone.

Just days ago, after 15 years of emotional and physical distance, we reconnected.

A beautiful thing.

I don’t pretend to know who she is now or the many roads she’s taken to get where she is.  I don’t pretend to know who has cheered her triumphs or sat in silence with her when there simply were no words.  I don’t pretend to know her heart or her dreams like I once did.  And somehow.  That’s okay.

The only thing that I do know is that I’m thankful.  And perhaps that the foliage is full and I am seeing her, for the first time, once again.

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