On the Threads that Bind


(INDONESIA, Candi Mendut) We've been here before. Many times actually. (Photo taken by the author.)

(INDONESIA, Candi Mendut) We’ve been here before. Many times actually. (Photo taken by the author.)

In yesterday’s inbox: a letter from my close friend, J.

We’ve been friends for perhaps a decade now, tied together (among many things) by our near obsessive chronicling of our various neuroses. We’ve watched each other fall apart (gracefully and gracelessly) time and time again, in a strange yet enduring affection that expresses itself mostly as a calm acceptance of the other’s foibles.

Other girlfriends will try to cajole, exhort or shame you out of your follies; J. and I know that our stupidities are somehow fated: existential creases that we have to iron out slowly and repeatedly through the sheer heat generated by struggle, frustration and pain. We both maintain blogs, so it’s easy enough to trace the wrinkles; easy enough to see that in the span of a decade, we’ve gotten snagged again and again by the same furrows, ridges and grooves.

What do we for each other is that we bear witness; we commiserate; we remind the other to hold her head up high.

We do not attempt to fix anything, solve anything or provide consolation of any kind.

That abstinence is perhaps the most demanding feature of friendship (and possibly the rarest).

And for that reason, it deserves witnessing as well.

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