The nephews are growing up so fast.
Mano (6), though still a little bullish and frenetic and short of attention, has a precariously balanced sensitivity. JonJon, whose stand-offishness used to take the form of an amusingly arrogant aire, is now doting and adoring. Tyson’s ever-smiling-but-vanilla infant persona has given way to a unique personality punctuated with growls as fervent as his laughter is buoyant.
And while I’m doing my best to capture as much of their spectacle as I can for family abroad as well as family here, try as I may to freeze moments in time for myself as well as friends who might find them as endearing and amusing as I, as best as stills and video and words can evoke the joys, I’m painfully aware that there is someone who is missing out on experiencing them first had. Someone who I thought would be a part of my life (and by extension, their’s) for a very long time. She used to say “friends forever”.
She’s not around anymore and hasn’t been for quite some time. A situation predicated on circumstances, but propagated by choices. Some hers. Some mine.
I love her and always will; she was one of my best friends amongst a blessing of great friends. Missing her is a slow, steady ache; it lingers in my head, makes my stomach full, my chest heavy. Her absence hurts deeply, but feeling left outside of a once close friendship hurt more.
The kids ask about and for her sometimes and I’m never ready for it when they do; its all I can do to choke down the lump in my throat and gently say, “she’s very busy, boys. I’m sorry.”
Truth is we haven’t talked, not in months and I don’t foresee us reforging our friendship; her reasons for departing from my life are as valid as my determination to not be forced/faded into obsolescence.
Everyday. Everyday, I wish the kids could see their favorite “auntie” when they ask and for her to see them in the blooming innocence of their adolescence, but choices… some hers, some mine.
And it all hurts. All the time.