These are the stories of women who kept on trying harder…
They were both single, young professionals. He had just taken a job in her office soon after she started working there. Their connection was natural. He, a good looking guy seemingly tough but soft inside. She, a strong and sharp woman whose kindness and keen mind drew him in. They spent countless hours together, always just friends. He got another job that took more of his time, more of his energy, and some of his individuality away. Signs that he was too stressed, too overworked, too tense became to emerge. A nervous breakdown led to a sudden move across the country. She reached out relentlessly. He pushed away and always made her feel guilty. They hardly speak. She can’t stop trying.
They had been friends forever. Two girls turned married women with children who have shared and experienced the sorrows and joys of growing up, learning to be women, learning to love. Both energetic personalities, with flaws, and fears and insecurities, they followed paths that sometimes seemed to contradict. Each made their own missteps – and with them, both became who they are now. Their bond grew stronger with each milestone shared, each silly argument, each heartbreak. Never in perfect balance, what one gave never seemed enough for the other, what she had seemed unfair, and cycles of blame began and carried on for years. Good times interrupted this routine and made it feel not as exasperating and relentless.
She was married, he, ten years her senior and single. She, a motivated young professional with a knack for wanting to save the world, one miserable person at a time. He, a highly non-commital, self-doubting man, reliving his youth, starting a new career. They met at a party. A charged friendship grew stronger for years. Their bond strengthened with each day, each phone call, each email, each text message sharing feelings, insecurities, victories, and defeats. They became each other’s support system in an addictive way. Emotions grew; words brought them closer, expectations of each other became more serious. Until one night, after one too many perfectly paired glasses of wine, she began questioning her life, their relationship, his feelings, the future. He shut down. They have not talked since. She’d try again.
With each argument, each low, each dismissive conversation, the same thought came to them- if I only try harder, if only I am more patient, more loving, more caring, more nurturing. If I only give more…more time, more space, more attention, more of me. If I tried harder, I could have made it better…If only I….There is no happy ending; no ending at all. Just trying…
…in the name of not trying very hard at all and still being ecstatic- easy, simple, surprising- truffled Brussel sprout salad.
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