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Lisa and I are no longer close. We live on opposite coasts. We have very different lives. But still, I couldn't bear the idea of us being "ruptured and ruined." I recently called her and said I was sorry for being selfish when she lost her job. I said I had eventually learned that it must have been a terrible time for her and that I had made it worse by leaving her so alone with all her confusion. Lisa was gracious ("You did your best"), forgiving ("Really, you were a wonderful friend to me overall"), and honest ("It was 15 years ago, and I'm over it now"). She changed the subject, and we caught up on our summer plans.

Her family—along with the cocker spaniel, Maya, who was still alive and giving reproachful looks—was planning a camping trip. Packing up, Lisa realized none of her jeans fit. Her pregnancies had stripped every curve from her body. She was skinny as a post. I began to wail,

"Oh my God, you lucky rat! I gained 10 pounds..."

But then I stopped myself. "Um. So how does it feel to have to buy new jeans?" I asked.

There was a silence on the line. Then Lisa started laughing. "Wonderful," she said. "Absolutely wonderful."

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