The silence of friendship
By: Jill Pertler, Pine Journal
We never were afraid of the silences. Not that there were many. There was more laughter than silence. Still is. I can tell you that for sure. Truth is, when you can weather the silences and not even be aware of them it means a lot.
She’s the one who noticed. We’d be driving to a meeting – or maybe lunch – without either of us saying a word. The air wasn’t heavy. Just quiet. And it was OK. She mentioned we didn’t need to fill the air between us to stay friends.
I appreciated her noticing.
We met when we were young things – wet behind the ears and full of passion for many areas. Spring chickens I suppose would be the cliché of choice. We both had many pathways open to our future and had yet to decide which exactly we’d choose.
Our careers brought us together, but we shared ideas and ideals as well. We walked similar paths in high school. We both held pom poms and the French horn. How’s that for coincidence? It wasn’t surprising we became fast friends who shared lunch, laughter and the occasional secret.
And then life happened. Like life has a habit of doing.
When it came to the big decisions, she went one way; I went another. Neither took the correct route, necessarily, just the one right for us. What it meant, in the long run, is we’d no longer share day-to-day work routines, office jokes or lunch. I left my job (our workplace) and moved far away to raise a family. She stayed.
I wondered what would happen to our friendship and thought perhaps it (or we) wouldn’t stand the test of time. We’d parted paths and our contact was limited. I wasn’t sure how much of this new kind of silence our relationship would take. Sometimes friends can come and go like a change of seasons.
I got involved in my new life. I think it would have been wrong if I hadn’t. There was a time or two when we got together and she was caught up with work and I was caught up with diapers. I wished we could talk more, but there wasn’t as much to say as in the past.
I’m not sure she noticed; I did. We never talked about it – the silence that felt like silence – because we’d never experienced it in our friendship before. Besides, our lives were full, each in a different way. A busy life has a way of helping you not pay attention to the
The years marched on. We both lost our moms and, in the weird, funny way that life unfolds, our losses brought us closer again. We shared disappointments and triumphs. As my kids grew, my attention turned to a new career. She experienced the joy of grandchildren.
We both held pom poms in high school. Now, after years together and apart, I think we find ourselves being cheerleaders again. We give a yay, rah rah! for good friends who don’t need to say anything at all to know we’re rooting for each other, like always.
Cloquet resident Jill Pertler, award-winning syndicated columnist and author of “The Do-It-Yourselfer’s Guide to Self-Syndication,” is collecting fans on Facebook on her Slices of Life page. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at http://marketing-by-design.home.mchsi.com/.