“Can we talk about the incident?” she asks, and I make sure I have something in my hands to fiddle with before I answer softly.
I knew we’d have to talk it out eventually, but the confrontation-avoidant girl inside of me whispered that I could ignore the problem and it would just evaporate in the heat of other-things-to-do. And she’s probably right. Except true friendship is forged from stronger courage than that. Little girls have little intimacy; big girls have to step up and build big intimacy.
So we talk about it. And we both try to be careful, to be listeners, to soften the edges of our words.
“You said you’d be there. You leave me in the middle of conversations, only for him. It happens a lot.” And I can hear her disappointment entwine with her hope that I’ll show up the next time.
“He was bleeding, and I wanted to help. I was trying to be attentive to both of you. I was coming right back.” I can hear how much they sound like excuses, despite their truth in my story.
And I’m still little-girl nervous — fidgeting hands, shifting foot-to-foot, eyes on the worn wood plank floor. We press on, and I’m grateful when the wind of reconciliation blows quietly through the kitchen. We check in to make sure we’ve both survived the battle.
We have. All words in tact; all limbs intact. And I put the thing down and make eye contact. And she puts a hand on my shoulder to squeeze.
We meet in the same messy kitchen a few nights later, the smell of popcorn drawing us together. And we chat late into the night, hurt feelings forgotten, laughter returned. And we lick the buttery yeast off our fingers as easily as we open our boxes of secrets. And now, we are known just a little bit better, loved just a little bit deeper.
And a little girl is so quietly grateful for big-girl friendship.
I’m sharing this story with precious friends at:
Have you ever had to heal an injured friendship but found the conversation more difficult than you expected? Is it easy or hard for you to say you’re sorry? Is it easy or hard for you to forgive when you’ve been wounded?