Inside a Best Friendship: The Good, The Awful, The Hilarious
Susan: We are standing on Barrow Street, in the West Village. We're 30-something. Kathryn asks me if I think she should have children. I have one. So I say: "You? You must have children." I dance at her wedding. She takes my 6-year-old to the top of the World Trade Towers so I can attend a reading of my new play. In college my son makes a movie of her two boys. The first time I understand what it will be like to put myself in my son's hands, he takes the wheels of our rental car to drive home from Kathryn's house in the country, where we have spent the day watching our children grow.
Susan: Do you know you never looked at my scar? After my mastectomy, I asked you if you wanted to see it and you said you weren't ready.
Kathryn: I had no memory of this moment and was instantly ashamed, even 24 years later, at the thought that my friend could have survived this loss and that I was too frightened to even acknowledge it. Until I realized that what I knew all those years ago was that I couldn't imagine my life without her in it, and looking at that scar would have brought me too close to the possibility that I might have lost her at our very beginning.
Kathryn: What's worse than not looking at your scar is the fight we had on the corner.
Susan: Well, not a fight.
Kathryn: A large disagreeing. A taking to task.
Susan: Okay. It felt like a fight.
Kathryn: I wanted you to move on. Stop being stuck in regret or sorrow. I didn't want you to waste time on what people didn't give you or how people weren't honoring you appropriately.
Susan: That's you! You are talking about yourself. You can't tolerate my—
Kathryn: Because I completely identify.
Susan: I was going to say—darkness. You can't tolerate my pain and worry over my son's pain and worry. You don't stop and let the other person's world take space. You're too wrapped up in your own circumstance. You who are totally uncontrollable in your panic at any disruption of your own family. That's what the fight was about for me.
Kathryn: I get impatient with Suz when she's a "dark thing" because I don't really get being a dark thing. And I want to "fix it." I am sometimes a sad thing and often a hysterical thing. I've sobbed on every couch in every apartment my friend has lived in, and she's listened and held me, but she doesn't try to fix it. She is wise enough to wait until it passes, which she always assures me it will.
Kathryn: I want us to live like we have two minutes left.
Susan: Okay. But then you'll have to stop talking.