A Friend Indeed // My feelings were hurt when my best friend stopped responding to my overtures

By Yitta Fried

I can’t remember my first memory of my best friend Shany. It’s like trying to remember when you realized you had brown hair. Shany moved to our neighborhood from California when we were in Pre-1A, and we were inseparable from the day we met.

We got together every single Shabbos, either on my back porch, where we would munch on Viennese crunch, or in her bedroom with a bag of potato chips. We would talk, laugh and take apart the world. Motzaei Shabbos usually meant a sleepover, with one of our fathers coming to drop off clothing for the next day.

And so, life went on. We were young, we were innocent, and we were sure that we would never grow apart.

Shany got engaged first. It was an emotional time for me. I danced and cried at her wedding as if she were my sister. I tasted her newlywed suppers before her husband came home, and she blew my hair out for me before each date. My journey to marriage was not as smooth as hers, but after a good few years of dating, I too was finally married.

That’s when things started to change.

I would call Shany to tell her how embarrassed I was that my husband had come home for breakfast after davening and I was still asleep, but she wouldn’t pick up. I would call to tell her about my first Shabbos at my in-laws, but there was no answer, and she wouldn’t call me back. Nevertheless, I kept trying, and once in a while she would halfheartedly pick up the phone and say she was making an early night of it. Each time I dialed her number, it either went to voicemail or I was given a lame excuse as to why she couldn’t talk.

It was very odd, but I made it my duty to call her every Friday to wish her a good Shabbos. I would suggest that we go out for ice cream or spend an afternoon at the mall, but she either ignored my calls or wasn’t responsive to my overtures. After a while, I got really annoyed. Why was she treating me this way? My annoyance turned to anger. If she had something against me, why didn’t she tell me? Eventually I gave up trying, and we drifted further and further apart.

As time passed, our relationship just kind of atrophied, although I thought about her often and wished that things could be different. I still made an occasional attempt to rekindle our friendship, but it was never reciprocated. I was resentful, but life has a way of moving along, and I was soon too busy to think about Shany all that much. I had three children in rapid succession, while Shany still had one. I knew she wasn’t upset with me, because she called to say mazel tov after each of my children’s births and when my little sister got engaged, but our conversations were superficial. Every now and then I would call her to lament that we never talked anymore and tell her that I missed her, but I never got anywhere.

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