We Say Goodbye a Piece at a Time


I had a dream last night I was at a party filled with old friends. It was a private party at a bar or restaurant and the lighting was poor in that way that's meant to create ambiance but simply makes everyone squint. I arrived fashionably late so the party was in full swing when I walked in. I greeted people as I took off my jacket and a friend grabbed my hand to take me further inside but another friend stepped into our path, put her hand on my shoulder and said, "I was beginning to think you weren't coming." She gave me an awkward half-hug but her smile was warm and I felt like this was my place, that everything was just as it should be. I woke up this morning with that feeling but then remembered that the friend in the dream - the one with the warm smile and awkward hugs - is not my friend anymore and hasn't been for about eight years now.

I'm still not exactly sure what happened between us. I can only assume that I hurt her in ways I didn't intend but I never had the opportunity to make amends. I pride myself on being a good friend though I know I'm not a perfect friend. I make mistakes. I hurt feelings without meaning to or fail to show up in ways that I should. But, I also do my best to be accountable for what I've done, to listen and try to do better. This is why many of my friends are people I've known since I was a teenager.

But this friendship? The one with the woman in my dream? I had to let it go and I've never really gotten over it. I think of her less often but I still have moments when I remember something she said that made me laugh so hard I couldn't breathe. She is still a part of my old stories and I think of the way she could make a conversation sizzle with energy. I wonder how she's doing, what her life is like now that her kids are older.

I hadn't thought of her recently but yesterday, I was putting things in a bag to take to Goodwill and came across the baby blanket she made for Miguel. I started to put it in the bag to give away but set it aside instead and finished going through pants and shirts the kids have outgrown. Before I closed up the bag, I looked at the blanket again and realized there was no reason to keep it for Miguel because he had no special connection to it. I was the one who had the special connection to it because I had once had a special connection with the person who had made it.

I thought about the things I keep - sweet cards from Luisa, drawings from the kids, the kids' first shoes, photographs and things that evoke the best of the past - and I realized that it was time to let this go. I folded the blanket neatly and tucked it into the bag before tying it tightly shut.

And then I had the dream. I wish it was a premonition but I know it was only a wish.

I'm linking up with Heather for Just Write. Check out the other posts here.