I lost a friend at the end of 2012. She didn’t die – she basically broke up with me. It’s a friend I’ve known for literally decades, but as someone pointed out to me recently an old friend isn’t always the same thing as a close friend. She has been both at various times, and though she’d kept the “old friend” status all along, in the last few years we’d definitely grown further and further apart.
The petty, small part that we all have had been tempted to use this, my own personal sandbox, as a place to hash out the whole damned situation. And if I said I don’t still have that temptation I’d be denying all of the sentences I’ve already typed and deleted in what is only two paragraphs of writing. Because I’m frustrated. Because the end of this long, and once important, friendship came in the form of an angry, accusatory, vitriolic email to which I chose not to retaliate. I took what I had decided was the ‘high road.’ I honored the demand that she made for our relationship to be ‘done.’ I let her have her say and didn’t lash out and carve her down to a sad, quivering, humiliated lump, and I’ll be bold (ok, smug. Cocky even.) and tell you that I could have. Instead I just said “ok.”
The thing that most frustrates me about all of it, and which makes this post really hard to write the right way (by which I mean the fair and correct and not evil way) is that I didn’t do anything wrong. I protected people who were important to me, and kept confidences that were entrusted to me and let my own happiness be at least as important as the happiness of others and for all of this I’ve got more than one person out there considering me evil. I know the truth of it, and the people who see me through this kaleidoscopic view are not the people who matter to me. So why does this still occasionally pop up in my peripheral vision and eat at me?
I’m sad to say I think it’s pride. It’s years of “she dids” and “I nevers” that I didn’t get to play in this terrifically stupid game. It’s this final “high road” I took after what I see as years and years of high roads bringing me to the point where I’m on the frickin’ Mt. Everest of damned high roads but which I don’t get to flaunt. And, most lame of all, it’s this really inherent sense of what should be “right” and “wrong” in the world but which isn’t being those things. And my need to get them there. To make the world line up with my view of it. And to be able to see my actions as being exactly what they should have been, and noble to boot.
In the last year before this friend stormed off she and I connected with each other maybe half a dozen times. Certainly no more than a dozen. So we’re talking one chat or email or “ships passing in the night” encounter a month at best. I’ve got people that I actually DON’T like that I interact with more. As far as things I can live without go this friendship is a doozy. And yet I have stopped and walked through the conversation that I didn’t get to have with her a few damned times since she proclaimed herself “done.” So, in the end, what this whole thing did more than anything was force me to face some things about myself that I need to keep working on. Ironically none of them were things with which she took issue, but as it always is it’s not the things that others tell me I should care about that matter. It’s the things I know I want to improve.
So if my ex-friend were to stumble back on this blog I’d want her to know that I’m working on the stuff I think I need to improve, and thank her for giving me this annoying, niggling view once again on my imperfections.