There’s a special kind of heartbreak that comes from saying goodbye to friends. There’s a restlessness, an emotional fragility, a quiet streak of rage twisted around a nagging headache, a fierce desire to run to exhaustion and simultaneously nap the afternoon away. Today I’m pulled between these extremes after hugging two of my close friends for the last time for a long time — yesterday morning, we met up for coffee at my kitchen table, and the night before we played board games and ate cake until it was late, and now they’re both leaving town and will leave the confines of the continental U.S. for a few years each.
This place that I have known within the safety of friendship is a little more empty now, but I have months and months of good memories and deep conversations and inside jokes for comfort until I too am off on the next stage of our adventure. This is just a part of military life, insomuch as making new friends is a part of it too.
I’m learning a lesson here. I’m learning that there is no benefit from trying to protecting myself from pain and sadness. Closing myself off to potential discomfort simultaneously cuts me off from potential joy. My naturally soft hearts become hard, not open, not warm, not of love. It’s all worth it in the end. Being willing to risk a little heartbreak for a lasting friendship, one that transcends time and distance for a lifetime, is always worth it in the end.
Earlier this week we three friends had a little of this homemade ice cream, and its sweetness was just the thing to take our minds off of the big changes ahead. For a moment, at least, life felt normal, like it wasn’t going anywhere and neither were were.
1 quart strawberries, washed and trimmed
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 can full-fat coconut milk
2 egg yolks
pinch of salt
dash of nutmeg, cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla
¼ – ½ c. maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss strawberries in melted coconut oil and roast on a rimmed baking sheet for about 30 minutes, or until soft and jammy.
In a blender, puree the coconut milk, egg yolks, sweetener, salt, spices, and half the roasted strawberries until smooth. Stir in remaining strawberries and put in an ice cream maker for 20-30 minutes, until thick and creamy. Remove from machine and freeze for half an hour or so, until the ice cream sets. Serve with fresh strawberries, homemade whipped cream, shaved dark chocolate and a few friends.