‘Cause friends are friends forever…except when they’re not
I’m working on a short story with the theme of friendship, specifically the way friendships can change over time…sometimes for the better, but not always. Sometimes friendships are just for a season. And, believe it or not, that’s okay!
I remember a friendship I had long ago with a girl we’ll call Sandy. As preschoolers and in kindergarten, Sandy and I were constant companions, in and out of each others’ houses, playing together nearly every day. She had a confident, sunny, and outgoing personality and was definitely the leader, the mastermind behind most of our games. I was quieter and shyer, content to follow her lead, and the conjurer of stories to go with our adventures. We made a great team.
Then my family moved to another town–not terribly far away, but too far for bicycles. We attended different schools and needed to be driven by our parents to visit each other, which necessitated more formal play dates and travel arrangements. As we grew older and got involved in more activities, our schedules got busier and dates harder to arrange. Our visits gradually became fewer and fewer until they stopped altogether.
High school brought us back into each other’s orbits, but the reunion wasn’t what I’d hoped for. During middle school Sandy had fallen in with a fast, “cool” crowd that smoked and drank. I, meanwhile, had turned inward, becoming even more bookish and nerdy than I’d been before. Our first meetings were tentative and awkward, and soon we stopped trying to rekindle the friendship. In our enormous high school of several thousand students, we barely even saw each other, except for the occasional smile-and-nod in the hallways. We didn’t argue or part on bad terms; we simply had nothing in common anymore, and drifted apart naturally
I wish this story had a happier ending, but sometimes that’s the way friendships go. Some are there for a just season. You’re in the same class at school, or your families live next door to each other, or your children are friends, or you serve on the same committee. You enjoy each other’s company, but when you graduate or move away, or your children grow up, or the project ends, you move on. And, really, it’s okay if it doesn’t last forever. Your friend was there when you needed her, and vice versa. Friendship can be a blessing without being permanent.
Other friendships last a lifetime. That’s a real blessing, but rare. Longtime friendships weather life’s ups and downs. They may cool off for a time and heat up at other times. They stretch and flex to accommodate the changes that life invariably brings.
And of course there are plenty of others in-between, spanning more than a season but less than a lifetime.
Have you ever had a Sandy in your life? How about a lifelong friend?
Keep an eye out for the short story on friendship (as yet untitled), coming soon. Telling you it exists will spur me on to finish it!