Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

We've been friends such a long time. I remember rifling through my mother's hidden stash of marshmallows. You were there. When I sneaked cookies from the jar and restacked them so no one would notice, you were there. You even came along to my grandmother's house that summer when I was just nine. How embarrassing to find that Grandma had taped closed the jar where she kept M&Ms after she noticed I'd pilfered some. You understood, though.

You were my friend, even when my parents became enemies. You stood by me when I found myself lost in middle school. Even though we parted ways for a year or so in junior high, you were waiting for me when I needed you again. You have been a steady friend, available at any moment of any day. Boring weekend? Nothing to do? You were there offering a bowl of ice cream slathered by peanut butter and chocolate syrup, and on a lucky day, miniature marshmallows.

My friends liked you, too. We'd all go out and eat french fries at that dumpy little drive-in which was demolished years ago. And a salty main course always called for something sweet, so we'd head over to the new Dairy Queen for a Peanut Buster Parfait. We were all pals. We stuck together.

Who needs boys when you have popcorn drizzled with butter?

My high school job made it convenient to spend time with you, which was great, wasn't it? All those tacos and freshly deep-fried chips? I loved those "Crustos," even though the name is disgusting--what's not to like about deep-fried flour tortillas dusted with cinnamon sugar?

I know we weren't on the best of terms in college, but I was so busy! I did appreciate how you'd lurk in the basement on the off chance I might come downstairs with fifty cents for a Twix bar, but I know we didn't see each other too much. As it turns out, boys are more interesting than you, at least they were at the time. You have to admit, though, that occasionally, when we did get together, a whole pizza would disappear and sometimes a pound-size bag of M&Ms, too. And I never did practice moderation on those rare occasion we'd go a buffet. Hello!? Starving college student! I had to get my money's worth.

Even though I didn't see you all that much while I was preparing for my wedding (all that sewing, what was I thinking?), I did perfect my one-pan brownies, didn't I? And let's not forget those jumbo muffins at the bakery next to work! See? Always, forever friends, even though my wedding was coming. I still thought of you often.

I didn't really expect to see you once I got married. And I probably wouldn't have if my husband hadn't started working the night-shift. I will never forget the first time we were together again. They're not kidding, are they? Once you pop, you just can't stop. I had to hide that Pringles can when it was all over so my husband wouldn't realize how much I ate when we reunited. We picked up right where we left off, didn't we?

Married life stressed me out, but not because of the marriage itself. The other stuff that happens to grown-ups challenged, teased and tested me--my dad's death, the infertility, adoption, moving, job changes, financial woes, my husband's cancer, parenting twins, pregnancy, moving again--oh, and let's not forget the breast lump and biopsy. I am so glad you were there for all of that. I am, really. You were the one I could count on. Making friends is tough when you're a grown-up!

But here's the thing. I outgrew you, just as surely as I outgrew those size 10 blue jeans. Sure, you still feel comfortable to me, you calm me down, you welcome me with open arms. But I'm tired of sneaking around with you. I realize that you act like my Best Friend, but you are sabotaging me. You stab me in the back. You do not have my best interests at heart. It's really all about you and never about what is really best for me.

So why is breaking up so hard to do? You have become my worst bad habit, the dark sin I repent of every Monday morning. I am embarrassed by my association with you and I pretend that we aren't really that close. But it's clear enough to anyone who looks at me and my extra chin. We are on intimate terms.

You have got to go. Food, you are the sorriest excuse for a friend ever. All that time when I thought you were helping me, bringing me peace, entertaining me, you were wrapping your chubby little fingers around my heart, ready to cut off the circulation.

You are demoted. Go back to your proper place, that of serving me, nourishing me, keeping me healthy. Our sick relationship is clearly out of hand.

I'll be lonely for you and I'll be tempted to call you. You are so familiar to me! The easiest possible solution to every problem I have! Bored? Sad? Happy? Tired? Cause for celebration? I want to call you. But I can't. I've got to stop. You are no friend, despite your chumminess.

We've got to break-up.

And I mean it this time.


Blogger Cuppa said...

Five Wows! No, Ten!!!! Chocolate dipped with a cherry on top too.

What a fabulous blog. You rock girl.

6:56 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

I second Cuppa! Five Wows!

(please...do not send your old friend this way...i repeat...do not send your old friend this way...)

9:34 AM  
Blogger Christi said...

I'm wondering the whole time who this friend is, and what she could have done to upset you so much. I'm thinking, "Hmmm, I'll have to write an ode' to my friend like this for my best friend, Julia." Oh, and then the twist! I feel for you! The worst part about food is that you must have it to survive, and must be around it all the time. How can you break up when you have to see each other all the time? So tough!

11:41 AM  
Blogger Jasmine said...

Wow! That was powerful and so true!
Made me hungry reading it. Wanted to rush out to the DQ. Guess that shows my own weakness.
Thank you for capturing reality in words, which you do so well. I'll have to save this one. Maybe pin it on the fridge.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Darling said...

I know all about it. However as a kid growing up on the farm I never thought a thing about food. It was wolfed down at meal time and then back to work. It wasn't until i was much older that food became my friend. But I too am breaking it's hold on my life one day at a time.

5:33 PM  
Blogger WordsRock said...

Mel, don't forget to share the secrets of what works for you when you succeed at this break up.

Nice bit of writing. Enjoyed it, I did.


4:43 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Hold on, eh? Woman shall not live by water alone ...

6:06 AM  
Blogger Juliana said...

Thank you for this--I can certainly empathize with your struggles...sounds like a lot of us can! I enjoy reading your blog. Thank you for your openness and vulnerability. It's so refreshing! God Bless You!

12:16 PM  

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