A Phone Call

Patting my damp hands against my jeans, I turn to my kids’ lunches, the next item to check off of my list.

Two peanut butter sandwiches made, one with strawberry jelly and one with grape. The carrots are served, the milk is poured, and the apples are about to be sliced.

The phone trills in my background and although I rarely answer it, for her, I do. I check the clock and turn the chicken and nod at my daughter’s story, and then I pick it up.

My friend’s voice is warm, cautious.

We lilt to each other about children and homework and snow. I keep slicing the apples, allowing their sweet scent in.

Clearing her voice, she asks, “Are you okay? Are we okay?”

I run my fingers through my hair, stir the chicken yet again.

“Yes! Fine! Of course!” My voice edges wrong even in my ears. “Why?” I add. My voice, my lunch-making, my busy-ness all serve as my veil.

She explains her thoughts, her worries, her tummy-aches.

I breathe in every heartbeat.

For reasons that are (mostly) inconsequential, I protect my heart, and protect it fiercely.

With vulnerability’s first touch, I deftly re-cover every glimpse of what I’ve laid bare.

She was on the receiving end of this covering that I do, and was calling to gently open what I had so carefully closed.

I brush off her words, stumbling over my own defenses. They’re comfortable, worn, tiresome.

“I’ll always be here,” she smooths.

“But when you push away, we both lose. It’s my friendship, too,” she teaches.

Her words flow from lips to ear.

I settle into the carpet with my children and my puppy and the scent of my lunch burning atop of me, and open up to this kind of sweetness, too.

Write on Edge: RemembeRED

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Comments

  1. Lovely post Galit. You always pull me so deeply into your words that I thought I smelled chicken burning :)

  2. Lovely writing Galit. And such a beautiful message.

  3. Wow. Sometimes I think we might be the same person. I’ve heard those words before. It’s hard, isn’t it? Being everything to everyone all of the time? When do we just get a chance to sit back and watch from afar without the risk of hurting another? When do we get to internalize…because maybe that’s what we need right now?

  4. I’m at a time where I just want to hole up and be just me and the kids and no one else for a long while. I almost convince myself that’s all I need.

    Steph

  5. i’m in the same mode… needing my space even though I need my friends as well. i know i can’t do it alone but right now, i just can’t open up.
    it’s rough.
    the nice thing though is knowing you have someone there when you need her and you’re ready.

  6. So beautifully written. I always FEEL so much when reading your posts.

  7. I so so SO get this in every thread of my soul.

    I push loved ones away whenever I find the going tough, and have been on the receiving end of many of these conversations.

    So gorgeously written. And true.

  8. I push away, too. Sometimes I don’t even mean to, want to do it…and yet I do.

  9. Beautiful. Brave. Honest. Thank you!

  10. That is a good message from your friend. I also put up walls to protect myself and it’s not always a good thing.

  11. I hold back and put walls up too, which I know isn’t a good thing. This was a beautiful message from your friend.

  12. I so get this. Putting up the walls are so much easier than pulling them down. Pulling them down takes so much more work and effort and time that we don’t feel like we have . . .

    Thanks for sharing.

  13. Amazing message. Timely.xo

  14. So true… oh.

    Thank you, Galit….

    XOXO

  15. You writing always just takes me right in. Such a great message!

  16. Beautiful post! I loved the details of preparing food for the day, and how those details became background for the phone call.

  17. I like that your friend is just pushy enough. Us wall-builders need friends with some backbone, so we don’t sink into the earth.

    Your writing is always so sensory. I smelled that chicken, those apples. In fact, I think you’re still building a wall a bit. You focused more on the food, on the tasks, than on the issue.

    Which is okay. Privacy is a good thing. Just a little observation. :)

    • Yep, that was the moment- a good enough friend to answer the phone when life is busy, full.

      {Plus it’s not just my story to tell. I’m respectful like that. :) }

  18. I know this moment. The chicken and apples, the daughter’s story, the friend. The wanting to just curl up in family and forget the outside. So beautifully told here.

  19. I could have had that call with a few of my friends. The ones who don’t live right around the corner. The ones who take so much effort to stay in touch with but I get my feelings hurt when they only seem to appreciate the effort every once in a while. I also could have been on the other side of that call where you were because sometimes life is overwhelming and I tend to hide in my comfy clothes, home and family.
    Beautifully written as always…you brought me to tears and made me hungry 😉

  20. Ouch! Not in a bad way….in a “wow, I do that too, and that message was probably exactly what I needed to read today” kind of way.

  21. I, too, hide. Cover. Backtrack. Retreat. You are lucky for someone who recognizes and challenges that part of you!

  22. Beautiful writing, Galit. Love the details of the tasks in front of you. While not the essence of the story, they place us readers directly in the moment to hear what is happening in your call. Always a joy to stop by and read here! :>

  23. Oh I love this! Especially,

    “But when you push away, we both lose. It’s my friendship, too,” she teaches.

    It is so important to nurture our friendships the way we nurture our marriages otherwise we might wake up one day and ask, “where did all my friends go?” I am in that season now where my children need me less hours of the day and yet I don’t seem to have as many friends to spend time with – it’s a viscous cycle. When we have little ones, it takes all of our strength to stay focused on them and then when they move on, it takes all of our strength to rebuild our friendships.

  24. This was so very raw and honest Galit.
    Friendships can be tricky and fragile.
    What a relatable post

  25. what a nice post, i’m so glad you’ve got such a great friend.

  26. I have a very good friendship that is …. not lost, not that at all … but on less than cozy ground right now because I can be so raw and un-closed. I have no secrets, and I cross no bridge that I don’t burn it behind me. This piece really touched a nerve for me (in a good way!!)

  27. Wow, Galit, I relate to this so much. And you words here pull me in as though I were in that kitchen, slicing apples, deflecting my friend. So powerful. xo

  28. Oh, I needed to read this today… Your words are beautiful and the lesson is powerful:

    “But when you push away, we both lose. It’s my friendship, too,” she teaches.

    Got me right in the gut.

    I have been pushing so many loved ones away. And it’s not fair or right but the only way I know how to deal with some things, ya know? Time to take a step back and knock down some walls. Thank you, my friend. xoxo

  29. Anti-Supermom says:

    I guard my heart too, which makes it so hard to be friends with women… I’m naturally drawn to men in friendship. It’s just some much easier for me.

  30. I’m dealing with some friendship issues myself right now and this made me cry. I wish it could be easier…

  31. There is nothing worse than a death of a friendship and not even knowing that it’s happening.
    I was presented with disheartening news from my best friend on New Years day this year. She said that she felt that I was paying more attention/time with other friends. She felt left out for months. I didn’t even know.
    I’m trying to be more concious of this and working hard at being her friend but since that day, things haven’t been the same.

  32. I am a terrible friend. But it’s like you said, I’m protecting myself. And I just want to be with my family sometimes.

  33. Totally been there. I make way too many excuses with my friends. I need to stop doing that.

  34. Beautifully written! Love all the sensory detail, like the apples and sandwiches, as well as the emotional complexity. I’ve had this conversation before too! I don’t really think of it as isolating, though. I’m solitary. Always have been. Others are more social. I’ve had friends before that were too social for me! I felt a little smothered at times. They usually take it very personally, even when it’s nothing personal at all. Excellent piece!

  35. Man, but that’s hard to do. Your friend was brave to make you have that conversation…and you’re brave for accepting it.:)

  36. How wonderful to have a friend who doesn’t let you pull back…who won’t allow barriers.

  37. Loved. “It’s my friendship too.” So much to learn from this.
    Thank you.

  38. Beautiful writing. Very captivating. And true beyond meassures.

  39. Galit:

    I understand this. How friends can sometimes feel like an intrusion. But good friends understand and are always there. Even after a little time. I have old friends with whom I reconnect effortlessly, and others with whom everything is about power. I try not to let people make me feel guilty when I am trying to balance things for myself, my family.

    But sometimes I still feel guilty.

    It’s hard to find harmony.

  40. Even with the best of friends, I’ve been known to be quite reserved when it comes to my innermost thoughts and feelings. I’ve never been one to easily express my feelings to another person. I have the tendency to isolate myself when I’m unhappy because I hate to make others sad with my story. Which drives my best friend crazy because she’s totally the opposite of me. Every little thing, she would tell me.

    So I can totally relate to this post… Isn’t it a good thing people like us have our blogs to pour out our hearts? :))

  41. Bravo. You have a great friend there. The writing was great. I like the use of physical senses: smell, taste, to create a sensory wall to hide behind. It’s a great conceit for your psychological wall. Really good writers use the metaphor at hand instead of recycling a tired one. Well done.

  42. What a beautiful picture, and what a great friend, checking up on you! This cheered me right up! Thank you!

  43. Way to tug at my heart!! :)

  44. This is very beautiful. And insightful – both on your part and your friends. It’s a gift that you have a friend who feels she can say those words to you. And that you listen.

  45. Smart friend. You know it’s a good friend when you can tell each other hard truths.

  46. —Lovey Vivid Writing.

    Life is not complete without a dear friend like that. X

  47. I hate when I get here late and Nancy has already commented for me. So, what she said, on all counts.

  48. It’s my friendship too, so perfectly put! I could completely see you sitting on the phone and hearing and smelling your lunch!

  49. My friendships have always gone through transitions. I’ve writen many a post about “flaking on my friends” and my stages of friendships (I left a link to my favorite in my website space). The best friends are the ones who understand this, and still allow you to “stick around”… even if it is only (for the time being!) mostly as a “memory.” Great post!

  50. Goosebumps.

    I relate. I know I’ve given some people the impression that I’ve pushed them away… b/c I get caught up in the busy-ness or I shut down when things are stressful. And it’s not that I don’t want their friendship, I’m just overwhelmed and I show that by pulling inside myself.

  51. I so love the way you write. But I do caution you against pushing friends away…. one day you will need them, you will want them close, you’ll want to confide in them, laugh with them, or just enjoy their company.

    Cherish the friendships you have, nurture them as well as the relationship that you have with your family.

  52. Wow – how brave of your friend to put everything out there like that. Sometimes it’s hard to approach someone and ask if everything is, indeed, okay. Especially if you sense that they’re trying to put up a wall.

  53. Great writing! I need to work on not pushing away.

  54. Beautiful. And a really ncessary reminder.

  55. As always, so beautiful. I felt tears well up a bit. I don’t want you to push away and hide. I don’t even know her, but I am glad she reaches out. I know it’s easier to protect ourselves and run from the chance of hurt, but at the same time, opening up can be so precious. Well written, incredible lady.

  56. Perfect timing for this message . . . I wish I could have some sort of sensor on myself that would tell me that I’ve gone into vagabond mode, because I’m usually the last one to notice that I’ve gone & climbed into a cave.

  57. Yeah, I get that too. Not because of walled vulnerabilities, but because I just lose track of the world sometimes. Tough.

  58. Your friend’s words to you really hit me, too. Beautiful. And such a wonderful reminder of what we stand to lose when we allow other things to take priority over some of the connections we have in our lives.

    XOXO

  59. Oh, my friend…these times are hard. I have weathered many friendship ups and downs. We all need different things at different times. Much love to you.