In my current quest to get stuff done around the house, I hung up this crystal again.

For years it hung in the southern sun porch window, and the kids would always delight in the rainbow colors it would throw onto the living room walls when the sunlight hit it just right. I don’t even remember when I took it down, probably when the window cleaners came by last (that’s also been a while), but it sat in a dish on my desk for a long time.

I put it back in its old place, namely the sun porch window facing my desk, where it sparkles in midst of the view of the apartment buildings beyond.

For all its clear beauty, the crystal also carries a twinge for me as it is what’s left of a long and now lost friendship.

It was given to me by my oldest friend. Our friendship reached the furthest back; we met when I was twelve and she fourteen. Sadly our friendship broke up when I had my third child, something she did not approve of. The good thing is that we did talk about it, about our different views and goals for life – she that she couldn’t support a decision of mine that she thought was bad (in her opinion as a budding family therapist and longtime elementary school teacher, she felt that three children were too much for a family), and I that I felt friendship entailed supporting a friend no matter what you ultimately thought of her decisions.

In the end we agreed that we wanted to stay in touch because our long history together was valuable to both of us, but sadly that did not happen.

I sent her New Year’s cards for a while after that, but did not hear back. Five years ago I was visiting the Badlands in South Dakota with my family (one of my favorite places in the world). I thought much about her as we had done that trip together many years prior to that, so I sent her a postcard. I never heard back either.

So the crystal is what remains, and many memories, of course. In fact, now that I think about it, I have two other things that she gave me, and they are also made of glass: a crystal cake platter she gave me for my wedding (we use it often), and iridescent dessert glasses of which I only have three left, so I hardly use them (the family is too big).

Perhaps it is symbolic that what I have left of that friendship is glass – beautiful but oh so easily shattered.