This week has been incredibly overwhelming for me. Personally, professionally and emotionally. I am drained. I am tired. I am exasperated. And more than anything…
I am overcome.
After many years, a friendship was ended…mutually, after nearly 40 years. We didn’t decide to just release one another but rather, it ended in an incredibly ugly fashion with sarcasm, bitter words, name calling and scathing accusations. She wasn’t listening to me. I wasn’t listening to her. We both struggled to be heard, but the louder the words became, the more they fell on deaf ears. This person was gone to me for a very long time. From the time I was 14 years old actually. We reunited back in 2002. For six years, it was wonderful. We shared each others homes, hearts and secrets. She entered my life during a very volatile time with my husband (yes, once upon a time, things were not all hearts and flowers between the Princess and the Hotband.) She got me through a lot of rough years. I will always be appreciative of that. Then, Facebook comes along. Old friends enter the picture. Worse yet, new friends enter the picture and slowly the chasm grows. We start realizing how different we are. Subtle changes at first give way to more blatant, outward changes. Statements that would once be taken in jest were no longer amusing. The differences become more noticeable, not only to us, but to our mutual friends. Bickering begins. Nit-picky small things at first slowly give way to all out lunges at each others throats. Diplomacy is suddenly lost on both of us. She is asking me to change who I am. I am telling her accept me as I am. She calls me a liar. I call her varying degrees of the word “bitch”. She tells me she is blocking me from her feed. I eventually block her from my “friends list”. Sarcastic nasty notes are exchanged and suddenly, it is 1980. We are two teenage girls, snarling at one another in the school yard, throwing down our books as the crowd forms a circle around us. Sides are chosen. Friendships are irretrievably broken. Alliances are formed.
Only this time, there is no teacher to step in, to intervene. We are left to our own devices, both of us too afraid to have this discussion by phone…so we are relegated to nasty Facebook messages saying things that we more than likely wouldn’t dare to say to each other if we were face to face.
It was exhausting. And now, it is over.
I have opted not to discuss this with our mutual friends. She, however, has been talking about this non-stop. The chitter chatter of the spies still running back and forth between us, like little electrical synapses firing off, one after the other. I just want to be free of it already. I wanted this year to start differently rather than more of the same.
And while there is a part of me that is always going to mourn the loss of that friendship, I am trying to remember that there was a reason she walked into my life when she did after a 25 year separation. I am grateful for the little girl I grew up with as much as I am grateful for the woman who held me in her arms as I sobbed over the pain my husband had caused me. I would have loved to have shared another 40 years with her…but we grew up differently, our lives shaped by different events. I am not who she remembers, nor who she wants me to be. She is not who I remembered, nor who I wanted her to be.
But, for a short moment in time, we were everything to each other. She held my hand in kindergarten sometimes. She was always the braver and bolder one. She had a silly laugh that carried over into her adult years, a giggle that would make you look into the eyes of this 40 year old woman and see the 6 year old within. We couldn’t stop talking to one another and were placed on opposite sides of a classroom more times than I can count. We crushed on the same boys. She always won their hearts and I suppose I always envied that about her. It always came so naturally for her. I had to work so much harder to impress people. Thus begun my extremely extroverted personality. The outrageous things I would say and do. She would always shake her curly head and laugh at me. And I would smile, knowing my best friend approved of who I was, accepted me and loved me…even when I wasn’t in performance mode. To everyone else, I was that crazy girl…but to her, I was just “CP”. Or, as she put it, even in our 40’s, she would refer to me as…”my CP”.
And I was hers. Unconditionally…and probably would have been for life had we not allowed the little things to pyramid to grandiose proportions and spin violently out of control.
In my heart, in my mind and in my soul…I will always remember the moment when we were 14 years old and hugging goodbye as my parents moved me out of the city and into the suburbs. I never saw her again after that. I will always remember her big brown eyes, her long curly hair and her lips, quivering from trying to hold back the tears of seeing a best friend disappear from her life. That vision will help me handle what has happened between us, remove the ugliness that transpired on both our behalves and allow me to move forward into the new year without regrets or pain.
She will always be my very first best friend. No amount of ugly will ever change that.
I’m willing to keep her there, in my heart, exactly that way.