Finally Tuned Friendship

Age is the true educator.

My whole life I’ve viewed everything in black and white…all or nothing…this way or that way with wiggle room, leeway, latitude, flexibility having no role in my life.

Relationships, hitting a wall, were severed rather than saved.

Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water alas, came so much later.

I have a lovely friend I’ve known twenty-five years.  We met, of all places, in the 92nd Street Y sauna.  We were then both bouncy brunettes, fresh from yoga class cleansing our pores from all impurities.

We’d sit, wrapped in towels, modest compared to our older brethren letting it all sag and hang out. We’d laugh and say, “And to think I’m worried about a little back fat.”

After many shvitzes together, we started walking around the park, her legs the length of linguine, always in the lead.

I liked her so.  Such a nice woman…a year younger than me married to a workaholic with one son she’s totally devoted to.

She lived in a stellar building across from my church with multiple doormen and valet parking.

She was also a vegan before it was fashionable teaching me all about juicing and eating raw.

She loved I was a model, telling everyone I was her friend…but then the wheels came off the juicer.

Because her husband was so successful, she fell into a much higher tax bracket than me.  I was never one of those models who made money.  Yes, I scored great jobs living reasonably well, but my idea of wealth and a nice Jewish girl’s from Plainfield, New Jersey was much different.

She lived for bulk while I, only what was needed.  I’m still that way paring down all needs like a Sherpa in a cave.

We locked horns when I brought her flowers for her birthday.  She was beside herself, someone as impoverished as me without a two-car garage would spend 15 bucks on roses I could ill afford.

I was floored when she said, “Please come get them…maybe they’ll take them back.”

Quirky, eccentric, odd…yes, my pal from the sauna was brandishing some interesting colors.

So what does Miss Black and White do?  I toss that baby out with those fucking roses.

Three years go by…no contact missing her terribly.  I even blew off the Y afraid she’d be rude to me, and shattering easily, couldn’t take the risk.

Finally, we met on the street, happy to see one another.

I was cautious like a cat, but realizing I want to rekindle this.  I really do miss my friend.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is…you can customize a friendship.  It doesn’t have to be what you expected it to be.  It can come with threads and an in-seam that doesn’t quite line up still loving the feel of the fabric.

We now email more than talk.  I make her laugh while she still coos over the miracles of spinach.

We don’t sit and shvitz in the sauna anymore, but enjoy one another from afar giving the other room to be just who she is.

And you know what?

It’s really okay.



About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
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28 Responses to Finally Tuned Friendship

  1. micklively says:

    I recall your post about the original horn-lock. I think the conclusion was something like “what’s the point of a friend who measures your worth by the value of your gifts?” It may have been a monochrome analysis but was it really flawed?


  2. Sounds like the damage has been repaired Susannah. Both adjusted. :O)


  3. skinnyuz2b says:

    Susannah, I’m so glad you met your old friend again. I’ve had several rekindled friendships that always ended up making my like that much happier.


    • Yeah, I know just what you mean. Sometimes a friendship needs revamping. There’s so much good in her. That quirkiness about money is hers alone…it really had nothing to do with me. It was like getting hit by shrapnel. Have a wonderful weekend Skinny and thanks for reading what I write. Means a lot 🙂


  4. Elle Knowles says:

    Sometimes with age I realize I have rearranged my way of thinking and what was once so important to me has a little wiggle room when it once didn’t. I’m not as rigid in my thinking and let others inconsiderations slide off my back more now than I used to. Life is short and someone always has to be the better guy – the bigger person. This is such an eye-opener post Susannah. ~Elle


    • I don’t want to be strident anymore Elle. I’m my own worst enemy being so overly sensitive. Not everyone is. They blurt things out without thinking. I’ve learned to take pause before I speak because once you do, those words are out there either causing joy or havoc. Thanks for reading. Your comments are always very generous.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My husband has the whole black and white thing going on as well. Meanwhile, I’m over here with the entire gray spectrum going on giving everyone way too many chances.
    I’m glad you were able to rekindle with someone you missed and even happier it is on your own terms. I am in envy!
    Ps. Peanut just licked your gravitar photo…lol!


  6. Amy says:

    I had a similar experience this past year and I like the way you were able to capture it so well in words.


  7. Lynn says:

    I have had a few of these friends over my lifetime Susannah. I am glad you have reconnected & been able to find some way of moving past the flower incident. Friendships do tend to change over our lifetime, some are not what they once were but it sounds like you have missed this person in your life. That, in & of itself is worth rekindling the friendship. You are so right, life is too short to get caught up in all of the bullshit of staying angry & not moving forward.


  8. AZMike says:

    Maybe “this weight reduction” will do me some good. I consider myself on the sensitive side yet I am also a blurter.
    I had a guy I worked with in AZ, we hung out some, talked and kidded around. When my life crumbled he gave me side jobs to help feed my wife and kid, he even went to the food pantry a couple times because pride got in my way. After I moved out of AZ he severed our relationship. Not outright but with the “I don’t have time for you anymore” type of response to a text I sent. My brother-in-law still talks to him, says he’s asked about me but for a guy that would call just to keep in touch any other time, I say screw it, “First time shame on you, second time shame on me.”
    Glad it worked out for you…sorta. 🙂


    • I’m sorry…people can be cruelly unpredictable, no question. I’ve learned it’s more about them than you even if you’re affected by their actions. I truly try to treat people the way I wish to be treated, and sometimes it’s returned in kind and many times it’s not. Lessons…like Anne Lamott said, earth is Forgiveness School 🙂


  9. As i get older an experience the things you expressed so well, i feel tired and worn out sometimes from it all. “The more people i meet the more i like my dog” comes to mind. If you see your chubby little friend in Brooklyn give her a kiss for me.


  10. I think friendship goes through quite a few phases.. so hard when we clash, but there are often ways to mend, if there is a will you will find a way,


  11. This is a wonderful essay, Susannah, and it reminds me of the moment a few years ago when I realized that life can be customized, that it doesn’t have to fit into the mold of what we think a normal life is. I’m glad that you reconnected with her.


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