I lost a friendship last night. The irony is that happened at a Galentine’s party, which is a celebration of women and friendship. And the weird thing was that the friend I lost wasn’t even there. I found out about it through a mutual friend, although if I am being honest, the signs were already there.
A few months back, my friend had confided in me as she sometimes did through the years. It took a lot for her to open up. It was big, heavy, sad confidential stuff. So, I kept her confidence and didn’t tell a soul. Since then, I have reached out multiple times, through texts and calls which went to voicemail. I left messages. None of them were ever returned.
Last night, a mutual acquaintance told me that a group of mutual friends had lunch with her and she looked fantastic. She told everyone she was the happiest she has ever been. And she is now best friends with her former nemesis. This was all news to me. If she is truly happy, that is great news. The last few years, her path had been laden with brambles and thorns and boulders and downed trees. I did my best to be there for her through it all. I want her to re-emerge into a good, safe and healthy space. I want to hear all about it and celebrate her. Except she didn’t tell me.
And that hurt.
I have no idea why she left me out. A simple two sentence answer to one of my attempts to contact her would have sufficed: “Hey, just wanted to let you know that things are looking up for me and I’m in a good place now.”
I came home and cried. I racked my brain trying to figure out what I did that would have upset her. I couldn’t come up with anything.
I rarely see her so it isn’t like her absence will affect my day to day life. But this was a twenty-seven year friendship and that vanished and I may never know why.
I’m old enough now that this isn’t my first rodeo. I have had friendships die. Sometimes they wither away and sometimes they end in fiery maelstrom. This one feels like being pushed off a cliff you never saw coming. What lies at the bottom for me is profound grief.
I will miss her. Terribly.
For now, I am in the endless tears phase, headed towards anger. Beyond that will be acceptance. My life will go on, but it will be different and less fun because dammit, she was one fun friend.
This morning my husband rolled over and said, “sweetheart, I know you have been up most of the night. If she contacts you, please tell her how much this hurts.”
I’m not sure that opportunity will come. She might never contact me other than to post a birthday message on my Facebook wall, a platitude to let the world know she still considers me her friend. Knowing the truth behind it will hurt too.
People move on and maybe it’s simply that. But friends are like books. You never want a good one to end. When it’s over, you wait to pick up a new one because odds are, it won’t be as good. But, there’s always another one on the shelf. It may be different and it may not be as rich and well-developed, you may have to learn a new world. But sooner or later, a great one will come along and you won’t be able to put it down. And you’ll hold onto it so you can introduce it the people you love. If it’s really good, you’ll revisit it again and again. And each time, will be just as great as you remembered it.
Sometimes books become lost to us, only to return to our lives. When that happens, we delight in remembering how much we loved this particular book, this character, their world. So we crack it open again and enjoy it anew, but with a different perspective. Maybe wiser, maybe not, but definitely different. Maybe this friendship will make its way back to me. I am going to hope it does.
Go in peace, friends.