Tag Archives: a farewell to a friend

in which Marx abandons me

It is with a heavy heart that I report my long-time co-conspirator and short-time roommate, known affectionately here on the blog as Marx, has decided that, much like the pioneers of old, there is a better life for her out west. And so, Oregon Trail style, she put her shoulder to the wheel, left home and happiness behind, and began her trek to the other side of the country, where she will undoubtedly find herself surrounded by big skies and open prairie and space and fresh air1.

What I’m saying is that MARX MOVED AWAY. SHE LEFT ME–NAY, ABANDONED ME2. The selfish little twerp.

I am not handling it super well.

the Ms

I selected this picture because it was taken on one of Marx and my first real friend outings outside of school. To a Halloween party where we were both intensely uncomfortable, but not good enough friends to yet tell each other so.

 

Marx was one of the first real friends I made in Boston and has remained one of the most consistent. She has been a foundational column of my life for the past three years. Our hijinks are the stuff of legends. From our shared classroom space and love of children’s literature to our ill-fated trip to Ikea to the time we drove across the city with a mattress loosely bungee corded to the top of her car to the time I took her to see her first professional play without knowing it3 to the time we were stuck in a blizzard for five hours to the time she accompanied me to the opening day of I, Frankenstein and we spent the whole movie being hooligans to the time we lost hours aggressively googling Regency embalming4 and grave robbing for my writing research to the time we went to freaking Switzerland, Marx has been one of those friends for me. The sort who knows everything about you and still likes you. The sort who makes you a better person when you’re around them.

I am trying to be mature about her leaving. I am trying to be happy for her. I am trying not to have all the abandonment issues.

issuesIt is really hard.

I admit it—when I found out Marx was moving, there was some angry crying while sitting in the middle of the floor like a two year old, some angsty music listening and depression, some silent treatment, some passive-aggressiveness, some bargaining and pleading5 and attempts at sabotage. My whole attitude to her leaving can be summed up in a scream-howl of “HOW DARE YOU DO THIS TO ME!?”

But yesterday she packed up her little car and started on her cross-country drive to her new home. Yep. She did it to me.

And I remain intensely unhappy about her leaving. Intensely.

2But Marx is happy. She is excited. She is going somewhere she wants to be going and doing things she loves. And I can’t fault her for what I always say is the number one thing I look for in friends—she’s actively in pursuit of what she wants. And if you know what you want then you go and you find it and you get it.

So here’s to Marx, currently somewhere between Toledo and Omaha, in a car with her whole life stuffed into its backseat. To all the great things we did, and the times we will still have, albeit it fewer and farther between. Here’s to her new life and her new dreams and her new home.

in switzerland

But no new friends. I’ve forbidden her from making any new friends.

 

  1. Let ‘em laugh in my face—I don’t care.
  2. And she took her turn-of-the-century steamer trunk with her!
  3. And it was CHEKOV. That was a terrible decision by me. Don’t introduce your friends to theater as an art form with CHEKOV.
  4. Spoiler alert—nobody was really embalming. They were just throwing people in the ground. Sometimes in coffins. Sometimes not. The more you know.
  5. With both Marx herself, and God to please let something terrible happen that would cause her to remain stuck in Boston, and our curmudgeonly downstairs neighbor to be the thing that kept her in Boston. None of it panned out.
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in which dead authors meet

My friends tolerate me.

That’s really the best way to explain it.

I’m sure they must find at least a few redeeming qualities in me because they’ve stuck around this long, but if you hang out with me long enough, you will start to realize that I am that person who will interrupt a totally lovely and normal conversation with an out-of-the-blue phrase like, “Guys, we should take mushing lessons1!” And then they all sort of pat me on the head and say, “Yes, Mackenzi, that’s a great idea,” and then go back to their totally lovely and normal conversation.

So when I sent out an email a few weeks ago telling everyone that another friend and I were having a joint birthday party and I wanted them all to show up to my apartment dressed as a dead author so we could have a literary salon, I expected them all to say, “Bless your heart,” then show up with the food but not costumes, and definitely not be on board for the whole literary salon thing.

So imagine my surprise when a parade of my lovely friends arrived at my house dressed as dead authors and were totally game to play along with my weirdness. I was very pleased by this. I was even more pleased when David Foster Wallace and JK Rowling2  discovered they went to the same elementary school3.

Lately I’ve been feeling like everyone is leaving me and I’ve been sort of glum about this. Most of my friends stem from my MFA program and since most of us have graduated, people have begun to disperse across the country to start their respective lives post Simmons. But having a night of hanging out with people who both tolerate my crazy and embrace it because they apparently sort of like me made me sad and happy all over again. I’m so glad to have had a group of people in my life who will show up to my house dressed like Jane Austen and Edward Gorey just to humor me, even if they inevitably abandon me for their respective lives. I will try not to hold that against them.

  1. This is a real thing. I am still on a campaign to get someone to take mushing lessons with me so I can fulfill a lifelong dream of being a musher in a dog sled race.
  2. Who is not dead, but we made an exception because my friend’s boyfriend looked so smashing in Marx’s wizard robes.
  3. Where they did a lot of flu powder
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in which I bid farewell to the Friend

Before we begin, don’t forget to read the Four Book Friday Wrap Up and enter my very first GIVEAWAY where you could win one of the Four Book Friday books and a $10 gift card! Click here to enter. 

As of last Tuesday, I am back in BOSTON!

It’s taken me a while to get this news on the blog because I have been occupied by the actual act of moving to Boston and getting things in order here. But I’m officially back on the east coast and excited to be here.

But before we talk about the return to Boston, we have to talk about what happened before the move back to Boston.

So you may remember about five months ago, I posted my “big news” about getting an internship with The Friend Mormon children’s magazine. And if you’ve been hanging around the blog at all this summer, I’ve told a few stories about working there. A few, but not too many. When I was first offered the internship, I was pretty excited, mainly because it meant I could save money while living at home and not have to cook for myself all summer, and I wouldn’t have to battle the humidity in Boston. That’s it. Sure, it would be cool working on a magazine, but I’m not a super churchy person, so I wasn’t excited about that. Honestly, I didn’t think working for the Friend would be particularly different than my other internships I had—a few months of some interesting work that doesn’t leave much of an impression. I especially didn’t think it would be life changing.

Surprise—it was.

friend1

Part 1 of the amazing parting gift the staff made me–a fake copy of the magazine with my picture on the cover!

Working for the Friend ended up being the most all-around amazing thing I’ve ever done. I got to do real work—not just usual intern work that could be screwed up with minimal consequences. Every day I got to throw myself into projects that directly contributed to the on-time publication of a magazine with over one million readers worldwide1. And I got to work on them with the most talented group of people I have ever worked with. I was in daily awe of these people, and equally amazed by their intelligence and their dedication to quality children’s literature.

I did not have a bad day at the Friend. I hardly had a bad moment. I had four months of hard work and happiness that I would never have guessed were coming my way on that rainy night five months ago when I got a phone call from Salt Lake City.

friend 2

Part 2 of amazing parting gift–the back cover!

I’ve been staring at this open Word document for like ten minutes because it really is just impossible to put into words my experience at the Friend. All you have to know is that when it was all finished, I went home and just cried for a while. I’m crying a little bit now as I write this because a part of my heart is still back in the corner cubicle on the 24th floor. The Friend gave me so many things, some of which are too personal to write about here, but mostly confidence in myself and my work, validation that I am in the correct field, and an arsenal of people on my side to which I wish I could offer some eloquent gratitude, but the only thing I can think to say is “I’ll eat you up I love you so.” And I think they’ll recognize what that means coming from me.

Thank you to the Friend and its marvelous staff for an outstanding summer, for letting me work on things I was passionate about and allowing me to bask in your brilliance. Here’s hoping some of it rubbed off on me.

 

  1. I also got to spend a fair amount of time on Pinterest and read a lot of picture books. Seriously, dream job.
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in which I bid farewell to a friend

About a week ago, I lost someone very dear to me.

Okay, it wasn’t a someone. It was a something. A pair of black high heels.

I know, I know, it sounds ridiculous. Mourning over a pair of shoes. But before you laugh, know that these were no ordinary shoes.

First I need to make something very clear. I don’t wear high heels. I just can’t. I tip over. They hurt my feet. I get them caught in every crack in the sidewalk and sink them into the grass. I can’t walk farther than from my desk to the printer1 in high heels. High heels are one of my greatest fears.

A few years ago, just before I started my freshman year of college, my life was changed when my mom came home from Dillard’s with a pair of black high heels for me. I said absolutely not, no, I can’t wear heels, I’m not taking high heels to college. I already had a pair of ½-inch black heels that we had branded my Sensible Shoes because they were made for eighty year old women with bunions. But I loved them, and I told my mom I didn’t need more black high heels, particularly these, which added an extra inch to my usual half-inch limit. Just try them on, she said. And I, being the ever-obedient daughter, did as I was told. Absolutely not, I said as I was putting them on, there’s no way I’m keeping these…

But once I got them on and did a few laps around the house, I had to admit, they were nice shoes. They had a T-strap, which made me feel like a World War II pin-up girl. And I didn’t tip over when I wore them. They were easy to walk in, and comfortable. I hadn’t known high heels could be comfortable.

So I said okay, and I started wearing them.

And then I basically didn’t take them off for four years.

IMG_3585

On graduation day! They look so happy….

These shoes went everywhere with me. Utah State University, Chester, Paris, London, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., Salt Lake2. Seriously. Everywhere. Wherever I moved, they were one of the two pairs of shoes I brought with me. I have walked cobblestones in them. I have raced after trains in them. I have traversed wet, muddy lawns in them. I have acted in two different plays while wearing them. I have directed plays while wearing them. I’m confident I could have run a marathon in them.

They were truly the perfect shoe3.

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That’s actually me. In the red, if that wasn’t clear. And I am wearing the shoes.

And then a few weeks ago, I went out to lunch with my dad. While we were walking back to my office, something didn’t feel right. My perfect shoes were feeling a little tipsy. They even hurt a little. I mentioned to my dad that they felt a little wobbly. He said he could probably fix them–he’d look at them when I got home.

Well he did look at them, and determined he couldn’t see anything wrong, but I could feel something was off. The heel was still wobbling. My mother suggested trying the shoemaker, who had so lovingly replaced a piece of the sole for me a year earlier when the cobblestones of Harvard Square had started to take their toll. The next day, when we collected the shoes, the shoemaker delivered the fatal diagnosis. Something inside the heel had broken. I don’t remember all the technical terms, I was too hysterical. But I got the takeaway: he could fix it…but it would cost more than buying a new pair of shoes.

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their appearance in “As You Like It” at the University of Chester. Most of my pictures of these perfect shoes are from plays since I rarely have other reasons to take a picture with shoes included.So I have lots of pictures of me wearing them, but you can’t seem them. Tragic.

And so, it is with a heavy heart, that I say farewell to my dear black T-straps. They went down fighting, and shall be given a hero’s burial. And they shall forever live in my heart. The paragon of shoes. The heel that ruined all other heels for me.

Rest in peace, my friends.  Until we meet again.

 

  1. A distance of approximately seven feet.
  2. One of these things is not like the other….
  3. Were! Sob! This is where the story gets sad…
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