‘I just can’t be your friend anymore.’ Kellie’s words spilled out between her sobs as she sat crumpled on the pavement. She looked towards Dave who was pacing around nervously.
Kellie had been the source of my first heart-break. We were nineteen. She was flirtatious, foul-mouthed and fiery, but above all she was fun. A dangerous kind of fun. If this was The Great Gatsby then she would be Jay and I would be Nick. Kellie was an eternal party and I tagged along for the ride, curiously attracted to the illicit fun. For Kellie, the bigger the party the better; there was no such thing as a small gathering or a quiet night at home. Her boyfriend, Dave, seemed to prefer the smaller ones.
One evening he proposed that a night with just the three of us (and plenty of alcohol) would be the perfect party. ‘Why go out? We have everything we need right here,’ he said with his peacock like assertiveness, while we, the peahens, were preening ourselves in anticipation for a big night on the town.
‘Shut up Dave,’ Kellie laughed, ‘get the car, we’re going out!’
We partied especially hard that night, Kellie seemed happy. I was happy. And Dave, well, he was okay. He played the role that she expected; he bought us drinks and ferried us from club-to-club. We partied until sunrise, Dave hanging around in anticipation. He was amorous and attentive towards me that night and this did not go unnoticed by Kellie.
The club closed and Dave was trying to get us into the car, back to his house where he could fulfill his original intention. Kellie became hysterical, the combination of drink and delirium were beginning to take their toll. Kellie sunk to the sidewalk. With her head in her hands she told me that we had to break-up. It was the last time I ever saw Kellie.She was threatened and I was competition. She wasn’t going to share. The thing is, I had absolutely no intention of ever sharing her boyfriend. His intention had provoked her to the point of no return; if she and Dave were to remain together then I could no longer be her friend. It was the first time I had been dumped.
Presently, I am in a situation where I have to end a toxic relationship with a friend. We need to break-up. This is more complicated as a forty-something, it’s not simply a teenage matter of ‘you’re dumped.’ There is much more at stake; our kids are friends and our husbands are happy to socialise together, but the one thing that we really have in common is our love of food and cooking. We share recipes! Although, despite these similarities every time we are together I come away feeling melancholic.
We have grown apart, it’s really that simple. When we first met, our children were young and we seemed to have so much in common. While she does not possess Kellie’s dangerous appeal, she offered me companionship. When we met we were at a similar stage in our lives and I must add that she is an amazing cook and she is very happy to share (her cooking that is). A comfortable friendship ensued. Until now.
I have rehearsed the meeting in my head. Like the break-up with Kellie, we will be curbside, but not literally. It will happen in a sunny spot on an outside table at our favourite café. I will order a simple coffee and she will order a decaf, soy, piccolo latte. After general chit-chat about our kids, husbands and the nightmare traffic, I will no longer be able to keep up with my charade. ‘I just can’t be your friend anymore.’ The will words spill and my voice will crack as I hold back the sobs. I will drive away and the melancholy will have lifted. Of course this is just a fantasy, I couldn’t really do that to her, perhaps our friendship will simply just slip away. In time, like Kellie, she will become a distant memory. Somebody that I used to know. And just as I still miss Kellie, I will miss her, especially her delicious lemon slice. I guess it’s time for me to make my own. Have you ever had to break-up with a friend?
Lemon and Coconut Slice
1/2 cup Sweetened condensed milk * 125 g Unsalted Butter
250 g Packet Milk Arrowroot biscuits, finely crushed * 1 teaspoon Grated Lemon Rind 1 cup Shredded Coconut
1 3/4 cups Icing Sugar Mixture * 3 tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice 15g Unsalted Butter * 2 tablespoons Shredded Coconut
Place condensed milk and butter in a small saucepan, stirring over low heat until butter has melted and mixture is combined. Break the packet of biscuits down into fine crumbs. In a large bowl, mix the crushed biscuits, lemon rind and coconut. Pour in the melted butter and condensed milk mixture. Mix together well until the biscuit crumbs are evenly coated. Press the mixture into a 28cm x 18cm baking tin lined with baking paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Prepare the lemon icing by adding the icing sugar, lemon juice and softened butter into a medium bowl. Add coconut flakes to decorate.