I miss my friends. All the ones that have had to move away, and all the ones that are still around but either I’m too busy to see them or (more often) they are too busy to see me. I miss not having responsibilities and just hanging out. I miss feeling like I belong. I hate that Facebook makes me feel like I’m always on the fringe; sitting on the outside looking in with glimpses of other people’s lives and all the fun they are having. I hate having the nagging feeling in my heart that people only call me when it’s convenient and they have no one else to hang out with, but won’t invite me to the regular parties. I just miss my friends.
I know I’m an adult and these feelings are very high school. I know I’m independent and live in one of the most amazing cities in the world. A city that has a million and one things to do if I just made the effort to do them – great film houses, theaters, dance shows, culinary spaces, classes from pottery to photography to painting. And yet I feel awkward doing these things on my own. Well everything except films that is. When the theater darkens and the screen flickers to life, I am perfectly content in losing myself in the story playing on the screen. But when the lights come back on, I want to be able to discuss what I just saw with someone. To duck into a café for a quick dinner or coffee and go over everything we had just experienced.
Years ago, hah back when I didn’t really have close friends, going to films and shows and the museum were fantastic ways to spend an afternoon or evening. I’d wander in, take my time, and just soak it all up. I’d stare and reflect, take it all in, and let it wash over me. I’m not sure what happened in the past 10 years, but what used to be my solitary mode of escape somehow started to make me feel more alone. I still enjoy the actual process, but now I crave doing it with someone else and being able to talk about it. I miss the discussions.
This spiced pumpkin cheesecake has nothing to do with the feeling of loss, but instead reminds me of a close friend of mine that I miss a lot. She was one of my closest friends in college, and we lived maybe 15 minutes from one another. Hah, we even got married within a month of each other. Now she lives in NJ and I still live in NY, and even though we are less than 2 hours away from one another, the distance feels insurmountable. I attended a training in NJ a few months ago, and had to stay in town for a week. While I was there, we met up for dinner and it’s there that I had my first taste of a spiced pumpkin cheesecake, during this perfectly ordinary / extraordinary dinner with this dear friend.
I haven’t exactly been a hermit for the past few years. I honestly have tried putting myself out there and tried making new friends. I’ve tried to care about mundane details and carry small talk conversations that felt like pulling teeth, to the point where I honestly thought there was something wrong with me. Or that I was romanticizing these old friendships. Were those people really that interesting? Did we really laugh with such ease? Can I honestly say we could spend hours talking about the most random things and I would actually be involved in the conversation and not planning to do lists in my head? On this night, with this friend, I remembered what all that felt like. Friendship and conversation without having to force it. I remembered that yes, these people, and this friend in particular, would always be worth it. And no matter how little time we actually got to spend together between moving, and kids, and jobs, and relationships, and the million and one things that have crept into our lives since we were 20 something, she will always be worth it for me.
- 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (I bought the box of precrushed crumbs because honestly, who has time?)
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 stick melted salted butter
- 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
- 3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
- In another bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.
- Pour into baked and cooled crust. Spread out evenly and place in oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit for 2 hours, or until room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.