The sun is finally out after a long winter -- literally and figuratively. Time to declutter, unload, recycle and clean out -- the clothes that will never fit again or that you loved to death, the piles left unattended, the magazines, the files, old electronics... and the list goes on.
But spring also brings with it the opportunity to reevaluate, regroup and spring clean your relationships. After a certain age (which I am most certainly past), I think we dust off and permanently file memories of romances that soured and soared and soured AGAIN, stopped having dreams about the boy next door who moved away, or remembering the thrill of new love with the guy from freshman year.
But what about our other relationships -- our girlfriends, the non-romantic ones that we "break up" with? I am not sure I was ever really clear on how to handle those in the "spring cleaning." I am talking about the friendships that we thought we would literally have forever -- the friend who would play Bette Midler to my Barbara Hershey in our life's version of Beaches, the proverbial "wind beneath your wings." Yet little by little, you noticed you were no longer on the top of her speed dial.
Sometimes, I think these endings would be easier if we experienced big blowout, a friendship Armageddon, a pivotal unforgivable event -- to somehow mark the end. You know, the non-romantic version of cheating on your boyfriend or girlfriend. At least then you would know, why and when to say goodbye, when to put it in the "give away" pile. But, it is the long, slow goodbye without words or explanation that really makes it hurt. The fact that the relationship just seemed to disappear.
Why is it so hard to "move on"? Maybe it is because there is a sharing, an intimacy, and a closeness that comes with sharing the big and little milestones that make up a true friendship and a life, a veritable emotional scrapbook of your relationship. It is just plain hard to just stop loving the friend who was actually interested in the every new movement of your baby, the one who lived through heartbreaking and happy romances, who listened endlessly to family issues, helped you through health scares, divorce, rejection, the special needs of your children, the financial stress... and still the list goes on.
Over time, the pain does fade -- at least it has for me. But I still believe I will feel a pang at each lifecycle event where she used to be, where I thought she would always be. I will still start to dial her number, the one that she had three houses ago in the infancy of our blossoming friendship. And I imagine, I always will. But you know, spring cleaning really does mean more than shoes.