On friendship.


I like to keep my people in closed boxes. In boxes that life and experience do not change. Friendships tucked in places where time cannot get to them, where fire cannot destroy them, where ice can not freeze clarity and companionship. 

It’s something that I’ve thought a lot of lately. It comes to me as dull ache on my walk to the subway. As I get older, I realize that there are some feelings that become familiar companions, for better or for worse. For me, the first is the feeling that I am impossibly small, which drives me, hugs me, overwhelms me. The second is this feeling. The one that worries about being outgrown.  

When I was still very young, I remember seeing Christmas cards from my parents’ friends, most of whom I’d met. But there were a few whose faces were unfamiliar. They wrote sweet notes on the backs of the cards, wishing our family well. Asking how we were doing. And I remember thinking how strange it was that I’d never met these people who had a significant role in my parents’ lives. How my children would never look at Christmas cards and wonder who those people were.

Now I know. While the altering or end to a relationship can be painful - a slow, sad movement of time and experience – there can be value, even in this. This, too, has a season.

Because, in truth, relationships tucked away in boxes don’t have room to grow. And holding life loosely means open-handed relationships, after all.