passing through

In ALL, FRIENDSHIP by Stephanie Klein30 Comments

I rung in the new year last night at my cousin Beverly’s apartment.  I’d been there with you, years earlier.  Before the brisket but after the chopped liver, I found your photo in a bowl.  I could almost hear your laugh.  I’d introduced you to everyone, prepped you beforehand on their individual back stories.  You and I did all the Jewish holidays together, and I was proud to call you mine.  I almost felt as if I owned you, could touch you, tell you, pet you when I needed to.  I imagine it’s how Alex feels about me now. 

I fell in love with you early.  You are quite possibly the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen.  Your laugh and eyes, your quiet way of doing things, you drew me close to you when we walked the streets, our arms crooked, our heads cocked.  You called me your soul mate but never aloud.  You’d never use the word now, not after reality television with its sparks and connections.    

I loved the way you took my arm as we walked the street, how you touched me.  My favorite part of you was your “tell” when you were shy, which was often, but few would have guessed it.  Your laugh is stuck with me, though, liquidy and warm.  I want to climb into bed and pet it.

You were the kind of friend I thought I’d always have, the one who’d have stood up to the teacher in my defense.  The one who’d always defend me and let me defend you right back.  You let me love you, and you made it easy.

I now learn what you’re up to every now and again, wondering why we’re not close anymore.  I suppose we allowed ourselves to grow apart, but I miss you now and wish you were in my life.  The sad truth is, though, perhaps now we’d have less in common.  We wouldn’t be, wouldn’t have now, what we were.  I’ve tried too many times, reaching out toward you.  And it’s okay.  I have enough in my life now. There will always be room for you.

So many of the people I have loved are still there, stuck on photos, and I wonder if I give too much weight to my past.  Sometimes, I feel heavy and warm in it.  I miss you.  I slipped the photograph into my “Straight Up & Thirty” box and left my cousin’s apartment missing and loving you still.  You’ll never know how you’ve impacted my life, how I miss you, your weight on me.


  1. I wouldn't sweat the growing apart thing. There's been a lot of times where I've fallen out of touch with people. You'd be surprised how quickly things come back. OTOH, I've had people that I have stayed in touch with, and grown apart from anyway.

  2. Isn't it amazing how people can mean so much to you and yet not really be in your life anymore? This is something I think about, and it often makes me sad. I have lived in many cities and have been fortunate enough to make some strong connections. I do try to keep people, but we all change and evolve and sometimes it is just too hard. A beautiful post, by the way.

  3. I am like that! I can't let people go, old friends, MID, people I met on vacation, anyone! I always feel I have to keep up the lines of communication, and when they break down, I always feel obligated to open them back up. WHen it comes time to just leave the lines broken, I feel hurt, and guilty. I eventually get over it. They run across my mind every now then, I try to google them b/c I am curious. So I feel your pain!

  4. Their part in your life and in shaping the person you are may be over. Love them forever for being a part of you. Memory is a beautiful thing.

  5. This reminds me of my best friend from 20+ years ago. We grew up together and told each other EVERYTHING – we learned about boys together, we laughed out loud, cried together – you name it, we did it. Then we lost touch and things were never the same again. We reconnected at a Madonna concert – of all places. I reached out to her, but her emails and correspondance are few are far between. I miss her too.

  6. friendship lives on in our hearts, regardless of whether that person is near or far, whether its been a day or a decade since the last conversation.

  7. I followed the link on upper right to Amazon to look for your book…. then followed the link of your name… to get a list of items by Stephanie Klein… much to my surprise I find you are the author of:

    "Theologie und empirische Biographieforschung: Methodische Zugänge zur Lebens- und Glaubensgeschichte und ihre Bedeutung für eine erfahrungsbezogene Theologie (Praktische Theologie heute)"

    not as catchy a title as "Straight Up and Dirty"!!
    Yet another of your fascinating talents… I enjoy reading you!! Today's entry is very good.

  8. She was my best friend – i was her maid of honor – we met in college – even at one point worked with the same consulting firm – and then it began to slip – slowly – the phone calls were less frequent, we were always too busy to make time – and then she wasn't in my life anymore. I've missed her so much – she was so true – so honest. We reconnected early this year – over the death of a friend – and we're slowly working each other back into our lives. It's really like coming home – to have her back.

  9. Your post reminds me of how I feel about my ex-boyfriend. He was my best friend, and the first person I every truly loved. It was the only thing I was ever certain of.

    We no longer talk. I am married now, and he has a new girlfriend. I've seen pictures of them together, and I know he's happy. I miss talking with him, laughing with him. But it gives me comfort to see him happy from afar.

  10. Lovely post. I recently (last month) bumped into an old love for the first time in years, and then he died 2 weeks ago. I hadn't thought about him in years and now I can't get him out of my mind. I've been trying to keep what he taught me and gave me in my heart and to make peace with the fact that I'll never speak to him again…and how our lives had gone separate ways. I cut out the photo in the Star, it was taken years ago back when we knew each other, and put it in my memory box…so I know what you mean.

  11. dear, dear stephanie…there are such days when you draw from my soul a weary sigh…the heavy burden of bittersweet recognition…today…i thank you.

  12. Your statements touched a nerve with me. This happened with my best friend from high school. I went to college, she stayed home. She got pregnant, and I traveled the world. We lost touch. I received a phone call 5 years later that she had died of breast cancer. I never got to renew my friendship with her. I am haunted by this everyday. Don't let this happen to you and your friend.

  13. A very good post. We all have a friend like that. Mine was opposite sex, she got married before me had kids before me. Things aren't in common, but you're always ready to pull for them.

  14. It's so hard to lose touch with someone you care so strongly for, but sometimes it's better to have them as a fond memory than to continue a relationship that could never work out.

  15. Thanks for being honest. You write about what I cannot verbalize…the sense of loss over friendships that have fizzled out or changed due to conflict or circumstances. Wonderful Wonderful post.

    I'm a suburban mom of two but used to be an exec in NYC. Your posts remind me of those times in NYC…but you also strike cords with feelings I have today as well.

    I admire the openess and honesty of your writing…ignore the cynics.

  16. "Before the brisket but after the chopped liver"

    I'm unsure if you meant it in a humorous way, but if you did, this is one of the most genius lines I've ever read, truly Monty Python.

  17. "…how I miss you, your weight on me."

    Such simple, devestating words, a feeling I never knew how to describe until now.


  18. Thank you for understanding me.

    I always read but rarely comment…I spent the new year with my family, which was wonderful. The hardest part was going to synagogue and seeing all those faces that I had spent most of my childhood with.

    He was there. With his wife. I thought I would be the better person and say hello, after those emails we exchanged last year. Last time I saw him he hugged me. An honest, down to earth, intense hug. Too close for comfort, at this point. I chose to avoid confrontation, the sound of his voice, his scent.

    While this is mostly background noise, most of my life, every time I am back there I feel as though they are all members of a club that I do not belong to. Every year it gets harder, as more singles form couples, more babies are born, more families expand.

    Basically, I booked. Later, I cried. For the life I am waiting for but do not have. For those years of uncertaity. For rising above it and moving beyond this, and for being a stronger person for it.

    I instantly felt like myself again when I returned to my apartment. Location changes everything.

  19. i loved him too, he was special.And then i had to go.He stayed back there,couldn't go yet.Once in a while i met him and i still loved him the same.He was not just a friend, not just a lover.He was part of me, a part i didn't know until i first met him. Some people are special because they teach us how to be what we where ment to be.I can't go back to him anymore but sometimes i think about what he 'd do in this and that and it makes me feel better.

  20. Warm and comfortable indeed, there are elements of the past that I happily pull around me like a mantle. The holidays reinforce them, and this year, I plucked the memory of a teenage romance forward and revisited it, rekindled it, as an adult. And it was lovely. Familiar, safe, representing the first return for me in three years.

    L'shanna Tova to you, may you be inscribed.

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