Tag Archives: friendship

She’ll whisper “Call Me Maybe.” But Never “You Better.” Never “I’ve Been Waiting For You Forever.”

She deserves your words.

I think you know which ones I mean. Those words you sometimes shove in between the wall and the crates beneath your bed.

I am sitting here playing Fairy Godmother because I am such a good liar.

And really, you can burst out laughing at that one because we both know my heart is stitched into my palms and my words are stained on my teeth and if people still went around dyeing their tea like lovely Mr. Heath Ledger in “The Patriot,” surely they would sop up some of my blog posts and let the ink turn hot water into black & bitter truths.

So let me be honest: she needs your words.

In dimly lit bars. Over bowls of potato soup. On the car ride home from a long night at work. Rushing through a maze of tables to deliver ketchup bottles to screaming toddlers. Inside the voicemail box on her phone that holds messages from six months ago, maybe.

Messages she cannot bear to delete. Messages she probably plays on repeat.

Because this silence is killing her.

You know it is. I do, too.

Instead she’s got me. Miss I Cannot Tell A Lie, She’s Forgetting About You. Miss I Wish It Wasn’t True. Miss It’s Not Supposed To Go Like That.

All while she sits on the other side of the computer screen and paints her toenails. Head ducked down. Shirt stained with more memories than the top of the Empire State Building has held engagements.

She deserves that, too. Your engagement, you know?

Your undivided attention. Your “Really Now” and “Exactly” and “How about we set aside a couple hours to sip wine and scour the Internet for the perfect pattern to sew ourselves to each others’ sides for another four years?”

Because she’s not ready for goodbye. For lonely. For the quiet saturating a solitary Saturday inside a house that once held fresh baked pie and the smell of lavender burning and Tahitian candles and his smooth voice whispering terms of endearment.

You know that’s a crime, right? Sitting in the same bedroom where your heart has broken over and over by that voice saying things you don’t understand?

She won’t tell you. She’ll whisper “Call Me Maybe” and pretend it’s just a song on the radio. Just a tune to crank while she cooks chicken on the stove. Just someone else’s words, but never hers.

Call Me Maybe. Maybe Not. But Never “You Better.” Never “I’m Waiting For The Phone To Ring.”

She needs you, you know. Before she moves on.

She’ll be in San Francisco or St. Louis or Southern Mississippi with a baby on her hip before you ever turn around and whisper I’m Sorry I Forgot To Care in her ear. Before you offer to hold the baby so she can have three seconds to breathe. Three seconds to remember how she felt back Now. Three seconds for her to pull the baby away and say No, No, I am not doing this.

She will be making new connections. Gathering new phone numbers.

I told her so.

If you are angry, darling, you best run to me and settle it.

In the meantime, I will be learning the art of slurping potato soup. Or something like that.


We’re working toward meeting all the selfless souls stringing the streets of Manhattan with dreams.

Next time you tell me how to change the world, I’m going to stop you mid-sentence and ask you to go on a smoothie date.

Don’t get all frazzled by that invitation. Don’t dip your fingers into the sweet blended berries and smear it down my shirt like a reinvented version of Ann Hathaway’s “Princess Diaries” soft serve stunt.

Just hear me out, you wild world shaker. Because I am making friends in all kinds of places.

In Starbucks in downtown D.C. and in circled chairs in city churches. In front of Papa Johns pizza boxes and through computer screens in lonely hotel rooms.

And that is just this week, my friends. That is just the last six days of squeezing my smile into new conversations and shaking hands and learning names.

So when I propose a smoothie date mid-sentence, don’t you get offended. I’m just learning from the best and brightest.

On Tuesday night, amongst my pillows labeled with satin sashes for soft and firm, I hugged my Macbook Pro and livestreamed something spectacular – the Voice Your Verse poetry fundraising night.

I watched poets and world-shakers and change-makers and word-huggers all over New York City and beyond come together to honor She’s The First’s anthology to sponsor girls’ education in the developing world.

Mostly, though, I learned that there ain’t nothing wrong with meeting for smoothies and getting brain freezes amidst small wooden tables not nearly large enough to put our Big Ideas into perspective.

I learned that people you’ve never met in person can make you laugh so loud you worry your neighbors, the ones you’ll never share sugar with, are going to complain to the front desk.

I learned that when you’re freefalling toward failure, the first thing you need is a cold drink with someone who knows that side of the sidewalk so well from dwelling there long before you even knew what it meant. Long before you even knew to be scared.

And I am thanking this world for a woman I hope to someday shake hands with in front of a strawberry banana or a triple berry concoction. Someday swap stories of almosts and good enoughs and not have to count how many times we face-planted on pavement on the way to Something More. Someone Bigger. Someone Better.

I learned that we’re working toward meeting all the beautiful, selfless souls stringing the streets of Manhattan with dreams.

We’re holing up inside our houses clacking on keyboards to make connections that might last. Connections that might turn into smoothies and Starbucks and sweets baked together, shared in front of our own ovens. Late nights around a dimly lit kitchen table.

We are looking for someone who will not punch us in the face for asking for something as small as a smoothie date. Or a Starbucks run. Or a slice of pizza.

I hope we find each other. Somewhere out there. I hope we do.

My Friendship Manifesto

Over the years, I have watched the push and pull of friendship. This is what I know and what I believe. In fifty years, it may be different.


I believe in group text messages.

I believe in saying “best friend” and meaning it. In sitting in diners with a cold cup of hot tea for two hours.

I believe in answering the phone at two a.m. At four a.m. I believe in listening, no questions asked, to the voice on the other end of the line.

I believe in emergency meetups and gas money and thank you notes just because. I believe in virtual hugs and smiley face emoticons and email rants and Words With Friends games that go on just so you can stay close while far away.

I believe in sleepovers and Skype sessions and silly quizzes from beauty magazines. Inside jokes with origins long forgotten.

The feeling you get when you’ve missed this thing, this place, so bad that your heart aches when you return.

The split entrée. The designated driver. The one who agrees, reluctantly, to put the bumpers up at the bowling alley.

I believe in games from Target. Games in Target. Loud music and wet cheeks.

The feeling you get when someone knows what you need — even if you don’t.

I believe in reaching for the phone before it rings and more-than-obligatory congratulations and the communal sadness when It Doesn’t Work Out.

I believe in three a.m. meteor showers and spontaneous road trips to the beach and theoretical plots to egg houses in redemption.

I believe in writing their hearts onto these pages.

I believe there’s no designated time for friendship, no opportune moment for catastrophe.

If you are on the ground, hugging your knees, with no will to live, you call me for one reason. For ten thousand reasons. For a human voice on the other end of the line.

I believe in faith where there is none, in encouraging special talents, in nominating someone for what they deserve.

I believe in friendship that’s not half-baked but fresh out of the oven. Cookies saran wrapped and plated for the new neighbor.

I believe in giving generous servings of it, this little thing called friendship, hoping someone might return the favor.

Mostly, though, I believe in the kind that stays with you through all the awkward stages of growing up until you are ready — eager, even — to repay that favor.

An Open Letter to Sarah Dessen

Note: I have wanted to write something for a long time. The words just never came. But here they are, and I hope that somehow Sarah stumbles across this and knows about this small piece of magic she’s given us.

Dear Sarah Dessen,

You know about worlds. You pull them from your attic, dust them off, and remind us that yes, they do have power.

They do make us pierce our lips and starve ourselves. They make us run an extra mile through a cornfield and submit to Friday nights bent over SAT vocabulary workbooks. They charm us at all the wrong moments and hinder us from closing our eyes at night.

They are often unkind.

Your words have challenged that meanness. They hold up protest signs at neighborhood bus stops, on high school bathroom mirrors, in front of classrooms full of peers who might as well be strangers.

Your words line up in neat rows of disorder and take back dignity lost circa 1995. Sometime before the Internet and cyberbullying really became the commentators on how to master senior high.

High school has changed since then, some say, to the point of misrecognition.

Others know better. You know better. You write those critics cryptic letters that say you know what they’re up to. You know they thought they could get away with slurred insults and drunken accusations.

You found the culprits and pinned those suckers to your word processor document. You did not supply them with a backspace key or an escape button. You made them squirm a bit.

And then you shipped them off to an agent in New York City, hoping the Manhattanites might have their “tough love” ways with them.

“Sit still, my darlings,” you said. “You are about to learn a lesson in messing with the sweet girls. The Quiet Ones. The remnants of tragedy and aftershocks of familial earthquakes.”

You promised those girls that there are often no ways of knowing where they’ll be tomorrow. But here, my darlings, are the cliff notes to rectify yesterday.

Here, you said, are the notes to the musical score you have been handed. And I know it looks like a jumbled mess and I know you just want it all spelled out and broken down but I cannot do that for you.

No one can do that for you.

So instead, you taught us about the finite forever, the anorectic struggling to love herself, the sweet boy whose life was cut short. The love we give up on and the sorrow we hold tight to. The spectrum of best friends from understanding to downright diabolical.

Yes, you introduced me to the word “diabolical” and so much more.

“Make sense of it,” you told us. “This is your story, your life, your therapy.”

And so we are left reading, piecing together fragments of our own lives for a new tomorrow.

You have given us that gift. And so we thank you, knowing it will never be enough.


A Mix CD for the Broken-Hearted

I’m not yet ready to let go of you.

Give me five more minutes, God, with the girl crying on her bedroom floor. Knock again in half an hour when I’ve begun to lose the feeling in my arms from holding on and healing invisible wounds.

kid looking at records

via weheartit.com

Hands looped around heaving shoulder. Fingers interlocked and absorbed all the bad poison.

Give me four more years to memorize our Sunday afternoon football routine and make sure I know all the penalty rules before I go jetting off to another state forever and always. Maybe then, I can ease my grasp from around her chest.

I am not so graceful in the art of letting go, if you haven’t noticed. I’m not so great at saying the right thing or knowing when to back off, but I make a killer mix CD for the days when raindrops become permanent fixtures on windshields.

A mix CD for the broken-hearted.

“Pop this sucker into the boom box perched on your sorrowful shoulders and let the melody carry you away,” I’d say.

I’m picturing someone like a young John Cusack, sliding through summer nights on a hope and a prayer.

Here’s what made my list:

1. When Your Heart Stops Beating – +44
2. Tomorrow and the Sun – Adam Pascal
3. Bleed – Anna Nalick
4. Go – Boys Like Girls
5. Play On – Carrie Underwood
6. Life After You – Daughtry
7. Molly Smiles – Jesse Spencer
8. With A Little Help From My Friends – Jim Sturgess (or The Beatles)
9. Little Emily – Kari Kimmel
10. The War – Melee
11. Pearl – Katy Perry
12. Dear John – Taylor Swift

What’s on your mix CD for the broken-hearted?