Monday, December 31, 2018

Of Friendships.

I'm one of those women. A single woman you could trust with your husband. Consequently I have male friendships outside of the couples scenario. I make it clear to the wives that that is who I am without being pompous or declaratory. I inject into a conversation somewhere along the way that I have never fooled around with a female friend's partner. And I never would. Even though it has been done to me a few times. I know the pain of it, you see. A formerly trusted friend in the ultimate betrayal of friendship. Not to say I haven't been hit on. For I have. Many times. But I have rejected such advances and felt the utmost compassion for the friend so betrayed, knowing too that couples sometimes have an "arrangement" where such behaviours are tolerated. I am not as pure as the driven snow, though, don't get me wrong. It is just that there are certain lines I would never cross. And I view my intimate male friends as a true gift in my life and I know it is rare, as my conversations with other women bear me out.

And I honestly believe that if I was in an intimate partnership of my own, I would not have the benefit of such friendships, both male and female. There wouldn't be the room, perhaps.

R was one such friend. I met him about 25 years ago as a colleague in a large corporate environment where I had a contract and he was the vice-president. We liked books. We liked travel. We liked unsuperficial conversations. We liked writing. We liked theatre and long lunches. We had the gift of honesty with each other. He was a tall, attractive man and had travelled giving lectures in most countries of the world. When his mother died he came to me and told me he had to deliver the eulogy and didn't know what to say about her. He loved her deeply but words wouldn't come, apart from mawkish sentimentality.

I wrote him this, which he read at her funeral:

An Unremarkable Life

From the outside her life was unremarkable,
Simple, routined, unchangeable, solid.

Inside she was like the shelter from the storm,
Holding us close when our brother died
Even when her own heart was shattered
Leaving two sons when before there were three.

She found her comfort in her garden,
Her magic fingers teasing growth out of
Bulbs and cuttings and twigs,
Drowning our home in extravagant colour.

Undemanding, nurturing, a willing ear
To troubles, challenges, tragedies
Soft words offered when requested,
With gentle hugs and unwavering support.

All who come to honour her today
Would astonish her, for she was humble
In her kindness, never seeking spotlights
For her anonymous generosities.

She was my north star,
Constant, fearless, guiding, true
And she will never know the desert
Of emptiness we face without her.

Part 1

12 comments:

  1. Hugs, support, and generosities. I would like to remembered like that.

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  2. My mother's eulogy, too. We're all interesting people. My best friend said "your best friend will get up in the middle of midnight, make up a bed for you, wait up until you arrive, tuck you in, sit up until you cry yourself to sleep.."
    I made arrangements for no gathering or remembrances. Then I'll see what happens.

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  3. That's beautiful. And so was your friendship.
    As for not responding when a friend's husband was attracted to me, that's a lesson I had to learn; it did not come from natural wisdom. I was taken by surprise and let my emotions lead for a long time. Thank goodness for time and distance, so no friendship or marriage was damaged. -Kate

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  4. You are a strong woman.
    The eulogy ...how beautiful. I would love all those words to be said about me.
    I am a good person, hoping to help everyone I come in contact with in some way.
    He is lucky to have you as "the perfect" friend.
    We should all be so lucky.

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  5. Your poem expresses (so well) the person I hope to become. It was the perfect gift for your friend. And a perfect expression of what friends can be.

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  6. What a lovely tribute. And yes, platonic male-female relationships are not that common, you're lucky to have the gift for it. I've never cheated on Jenny, and I don't understand why so many men are in the habit of it.

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  7. Lee, formerly That's So Pants, recommended your blog. I am not disappointed.

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  8. Great writing and I eagerly await the part II

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  9. Beautiful words of yours, written in tribute to that much loved lady, WWW!

    As for platonic friendship involving someone/or both, who is/are married - it can work, as long as both friends are of the same genuinely platonic mindset. If one of 'em isn't, then there's danger. Without even attempting such friendships, though, we'd be imprisoning ourselves.

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  10. Very moving, this brought tears to my eyes.

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  11. Very nice writing. Good that you never crossed the line when it came to someone else's spouse or boyfriend.

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  12. I'm also single and wouldn't dream of hitting on anyone else's partner. Luckily, I don't have to worry as most of the people living near me are also single and all of us are heading into old or elderly territory, so we can all be friends no matter what gender we may be.

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