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Reading Between the Pines: Breaking up is hard to do


By Stacie Chadwick

When I mentally check my list of things I know without doubt, there’s one truth that always sits toward the top. That is, the only thing you can count on in life is change. Whether you see this as positive or negative, life often rolls in its own direction at will and regardless of best laid plans.

So what do you do when you’re on the downslope of 40 and a friendship that once worked simply doesn’t anymore? How do you tell someone, with both kindness and clarity, that the tongue and groove support system you’ve built your relationship on no longer fits?

As I’ve grown older and hopefully, wiser, I find that my friendship focus has sharpened. Life’s getting shorter by the day, and time matters in a way that it didn’t as much when I was young. Now, friendship dimensions that should have always measured up resonate with me in a deeper and ever-widening way. In this case, as parallels have turned to differences and touchpoints that once felt relatable are misaligned, I can’t help but admit to myself that it’s time to move on.

Yet, if breaking up in any capacity was as easy as saying “we don’t share the same space in the world anymore,” the weight of my heartache would be much easier to absorb. Personally speaking, I don’t like to let people down. This feeling goes all the way back to middle school when the Queen Bee told me, like she did every other girl with a peach Forenza sweater and bangs that were way too big, “you’re not my friend anymore.” Those words stung then, they would sting now, and I’m not in the business of hurting people.

So as this friendship continues to fade instead of flourish, I sit staring at a glass that’s no longer half full. Even though it’s not exactly empty either, there’s now a crack in the bowl that leaves an unmistakable ring. It’s nothing so dramatic that it can’t be wiped away, but it’s still prominent enough to notice. And so, as the chasm between us widens and deepens, I sit inert, watching the finish on the table erode a little more each day as I wait for the moment when I have enough courage to speak.

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