April Schmidt

April Schmidt teaches writing at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. She received an MFA from Hamline University and her recent work has appeared in Ruminate, Get Born and Geez Magazine. She lives with her husband, son and daughter in leafy, literary Minneapolis-- and online at www.aprilschmidt.wordpress.com

Dear BF (F?),

Dear BFF,

The ‘forever’ part is starting to feel like a real hassle. We’ve got kids now, houses, husbands. More things to disagree about and less time to disagree about them out loud. Which, of course, builds more closets for assumption and judgment, more need for the Lysol of talk-time. But, like I said, we’ve got these kids now. (And I’m pretty sure yours makes mine possessive and mine makes yours hyper. We should talk about that sometime.)

Proverbs says there’s a friend who sticks closer than a brother. You’ve been that to me. A faithful presence at every milestone: playing Dee to my Dumb on the high school stage (no, I mean in the one-act—very funny, though), making picnics on grey carpet when winter finals buried my perspective, packing Shakespeare and Eliot across Europe, wearing the bridesmaid dress (and those terrible navy ballgown gloves in the middle of August), bringing manicotti and salad (spinach, to keep my iron up) after my firstborn, pinch-hit babysitting so I could keep teaching, planning a preschool slumber party and paying for the bed and breakfast so my husband had one more shot at sex before we enter the desert of the second baby. You’ve been there for everything important.

The problem with siblings, though, is that they stick around. And around. And around. So it is getting to be a real hassle. It means I have to keep dealing with your tendency to feel guilty about everything, and your desire for a predictable future, and the frustrations of your husband’s irresponsibilities. It means I have to keep dealing with our tendency to need different things to feel affirmed. It means I have to keep dealing with the frustrations of my husband’s insecurities, and my desire to avoid conflict, and my tendency to judge first and listen second.

I’d really rather just be smug in my judgments. I’m starting to think I’d like you to leave me alone—or at least fade out, so I can let our relationship become a gilded, unthreatening, trophy for my shelf.

Or, I’m thinking I could find some fresh meat, some new friends. I could find some cosmopolitan people who would be drawn to me (no doubt), and would find my wit and hospitality charming. We would find each other so interesting. I wouldn’t feel responsible for their problems and it could be years before they realized the wit grows from a seed of self-righteousness and the hospitality is a desperate attempt to perform.

See, I’m getting a little older and it’s becoming more and more important to me to be comfortable. I survived adolescence and would like to just cozy up now with my developed self. She and I could sip Malbec together and congratulate ourself on maturing, on arriving. That is, if you didn’t keep hanging around.

What I’m saying is that I’d be fine if you would just give me a little space. I’d be able to get good and comfortable in my own skin if you would just stop taking that ‘forever’ thing so seriously. I’d appreciate being able to soak in my own superiority for awhile. It would be so restful to just…stagnate. And I could do that—if you’d just stop thinking about that ‘forever’ thing as having something to do with eternity.

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