Friends

Hers was a whirlwind romance ending in elopement. He was quiet, solidly built, kind of bookish, and charmingly gullible. Growing up in his parent’s bakery, he had developed impressive skills in the kitchen. Those skills are what eventually attracted his wife, who has no cooking skills to speak of, but has always been a sucker for pastries. Together, they love to entertain. She flits around filling wine glasses and cleaning up after guests, while he creates the meal.

My husband and I shared many meals with them over the first few years of their marriage. They also became our favorite traveling companions. We’ve enjoyed chocolate croissants in Switzerland, Lamingtons in Australia, steins of beer in Germany, and s’mores on the beach in Hawaii. Life was pretty sweet for all of us.

Several years into their marriage, the trouble began. It started with a seemingly innocent 30 day challenge for avoiding alcohol. Next came challenges for sweets, or fitness, or whatever food was being demonized in the news that month. She could take or leave the fads, but he tried them all. Then he came across a book that changed everything. Sadly, my husband and I didn’t pick up on the warning signs right away. Even if we had known how serious this would eventually become, I don’t know for sure that we could have headed it off. His own wife couldn’t stop him.

My best friend, who had cleverly married the son of a baker, has suddenly found herself in a gluten-free marriage. There are currently no signs that this situation will improve. I know how hard this must be for her, so I remain supportive by providing cake on our birthdays and sending her boxed, shelf-stable bread, when I can find it.

But secretly I giggle at the irony. Because really, that’s what friends are for.

Author’s Note:

This one may look familiar if you’ve been following along. I had just entered a story in the 12th Annual Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest by Geist magazine, so I had short, short stories on the brain. Flipping through some of the stories on this website, I found What Friends Are For and realized that all the background information I had provided in the opening paragraphs was superfluous. I hacked and chopped until this story was half of its original size, then entered it in the postcard contest as well. It reads much better with this edit and I’m beginning to wonder if including too much background information is a quirk of mine that I’ll have to watch out for. Time will tell.