Let's Blame It on the Weather...
I could blame it on the weather, but there is a lot going on right now that weighs on my mind, pushing down the brow, forcing my face into something of a scowl. I feel as grey inside as the sky is outside. Last year, at this time, I had a magnificent tan. I also had someone I called my ‘best friend’; a woman at work whom I confided in, laughed with, shared catty observations with, and celebrated things with on a weekly basis.
She stopped speaking to me about two months ago (although it feels much longer), for reasons known only to her, for she hasn’t really shared what the hell went wrong. I know it began the day I confessed to having shared a bit of business-related information that she had passed along to me. It had to do with who was being interviewed to become my new boss. The information she gave me contradicted what I was being told by other employees. When I told her I’d shared the information she acted as if I’d raped a puppy in front of her. I apologized and immediately set about trying to remedy things by swearing those I had told into secrecy. Not that it mattered: turns out the individual who was being interviewed was quite vocal about the fact that he was interviewing for the position (and that the interviews had not gone well). So, that should have been the end of it, but no…
I knew something was up.
Emails went unanswered. There were no IMs. I wasn’t getting the usual quick response/feedback to work that I would send her way. We stopped going to lunch. Three weeks went by. Out of the blue, she suggested we meet for coffee. Fine. I showed up, and she… didn’t. Not really. It was like having coffee with a Stepford wife; all glassy-eyed smiles accompanied by overly-crisp, polite conversation. I brought up the matter of things having changed between us – for we were rather inseparable before this. We used to joke that she was my work wife. We’d go out and celebrate birthdays with her spouse. She shared about her family difficulties and I shared… well, way too much. I even knew her children. So… what gives?
She told me she wanted to concentrate on her job more.
Unaware that I was preventing her from doing so, I smiled and accepted that. And that was it. The end. We parted, not hugging, not making plans. And so I sit, almost daily, since, staring at this empty bag in my hands - this bag that once held our friendship, and I am, to say the least, bereft.
It’s affected and colored everything. My sleep. My joy level. My fear level. I have some medical and legal issues that are requiring attention on my part. She used to help me through such things. Without that support I feel… frightened. Alone.
It’s also affecting my writing. Something cold has nestled its way into my brain. Words refuse to flow. Everything feels forced and unnatural, the poetics stifled, the magical flow gone… for now.
I regret having shared things with her. I fear what she may share with others. I worry that the day may come when she tries to take credit for things I have done. Much like the slow-to-arrive summer, my days now move at a glacial pace, full of brooding and gloom.
I remind myself that this is hardly the first time a ‘best friend’ has suddenly and inexplicably left me for dead. No, actually this is more like the fifth time. They all haunt me. For they all share one thing in common – the fact that I can never achieve any type of closure. Those that are not dead are dead to me. Oh, I have tried to reach out, but they have made it abundantly clear that they have no interest in helping me understand or quantify whatever shortcomings I may have that led to the abrupt end of our friendship. This woman and I? Four years. Previous friends? Two to twenty years.
They were my anchors and each one eventually set me adrift. (Boo-hoo.)
Each time it happens I tell myself, ‘I don’t need friends.’ ‘I don’t want friends.’ ‘I won’t trust or love again and that I don’t like and don’t need people in my life.’ No, I will have to hold the world off at arm’s length. My life? No one enters here.
Of course… it’s karma.
In my youth, I failed to value the friendships I had garnered in High School, abandoning them rather quickly (and not always respectfully) for a hoped for ‘new’ life. I left two of my best friends in the lurch and with a year’s lease on a house, because after living with them for six months I felt like I could not breathe. When you live with someone, you lack the privacy that would shield others from knowing all about you… you, know, like the fact that you’re gay, for instance. I couldn’t talk to them. They were endlessly happy. I was mired in myopic, naval-gazing, and adolescent depression. My abandoning them was the first bitter pill I think either had ever had to swallow. Needless to say, I moved out and they never spoke to me again.
And my karma? My lesson to learn? My mistake to repeat?
Apparently I don’t ‘get it’. Because I never see it coming.
The friend before this one? Twenty years of friendship. I saw him through a horrible relationship with a man that was based on their love of crystal meth. He was ‘in loooooove’ (with a drug). I travelled to his father’s burial. We shared a lot. He moves to St. Louis and I go to visit. During my last visit, walking to a restaurant, he points out a man that he hasn’t worked up the nerve to talk to yet, but is really hot for. The day before I am to leave, that same man hits me up on-line and wants to get naked. I ask my friend what he thinks. Would it be okay? Would it affect our friendship? He tells that I can do as I like. Apparently it was a test. A test I failed. Or not. Maybe that wasn’t it.
He was also in a recovery group at the time. I went to have dinner with all his new friends from the recovery group. They hated me, I could tell. I thought they were all sticks in the mud and I’m sure they felt I was some idiot hick interloper that threatened my friend’s sobriety – because I was – ooooooooo – from the past. During that same trip, I also had lunch with another of his new friends – a real snob: designer labels, partnered with a doctor. All he wanted to talk about was his incredible house and how it was being decorated. Then the subject turned to dogs and my friend mentions that he was considering getting a new one.
If you know me, then you know that I will not stand mistreating animals. This friend? He had owned two dogs previously. He purchased them because he liked the idea of the breed and the image of ownership. That said he was a horrible dog owner. He threw the first one down the stairs in anger because it peed in the house and broke its leg. I and his other friends convinced him to return the dog to the breeder. Then, having moved to Florida, he buys another very expensive dog. He can’t train it and tells me he frequently locks it in a closet when he’s at work. I work with the dog while I am there. The dog is fine - nothing wrong with the dog. Again, after much convincing, he accepts that he doesn’t have time for the dog and it is taken to a rescue group for that breed. So, needless to say, when my friend suggests that he is thinking of getting another dog, I have a few harsh words of reality to share.
This leads to the end of the lunch and an argument wherein I confront him with the fact that, while I applaud the fact that he is in recovery, he has failed to make amends and own his past behavior during his ‘crystal meth phase’. He tells me he’s not an addict and that it was never that bad – and by not that bad, I assume he means he didn’t have to resort to turning tricks to get his fix. I fill him in on the horror I experienced standing in his living room watching him and his boyfriend put a Bic lighter under a piece of tin foil holding a couple of rocks. And I remind him about a certain trip he made to New York to rescue one of his meth friends. It involved owing a dealer a great deal of money, his friend running around wearing nothing but a mink coat in his apartment where all the mirrors had been covered, and the dealer showing up, pouring lighter fluid under the door, soaking the carpet, before lighting it. Oh, and then the escape… with bullets(!) whizzing past his head. No, I wasn’t there, but he has never taken responsibility for the fear he filled all of his other friends (those not doing meth) with and the worry he caused us during such escapades.
Before I leave? We patch things up. I think. He tells me he’s horribly bored (he’s a trust fund baby). I tell him to go volunteer. I tell him to go wait tables at a restaurant he thinks might benefit from his skills (which for some reason he takes as an extreme insult). I tell him that the only thing seeing a therapist three times a week is accomplishing is to help the therapist pay for their summer home. I tell him to stop staring at himself in the mirror and start thinking about the rest of the world - any part of it. Go do some good. Go help others. Think about others. Thinking I’d succeeded in getting through to him, we part on good terms.
We email each other daily for another three weeks and then… nothing. Did he die? No, mutual friends assure me he’s alive. And doing well. But I, apparently, am dead to him. We never speak again.
I’m always the last to know.
I’m powerless to prevent it.
I never see it coming.
Am I at fault? Of course. I’m a horribly flawed human being – one honest enough to point out those flaws to anyone who expresses an interest in being my friend. Hey, forewarned is forewarned in my book. And I’m not going to be much of a friend if I don’t try to help you recognize and work on your own flaws. Granted, I have not always been so self-aware or so forthcoming. But let’s face it – after a point, being naïve without wising up? Well, that’s just stupidity. And I am not stupid.
Except when it comes to keeping friends.
So, why am I blogging about this? I was hoping it would prove to be therapeutic. I know, who cares, right? Entertain us! But I can’t do that right now. Sorry to bore you with this, but I can’t write about my sex-capades or much of anything else until I work my way through this latest wrinkle.
That said, I have actually thought about taking a break from blogging. Take the summer off, you know? Last summer, I did that with my other writing and was able to pick up where I left off in the fall without missing a beat. And while I may do that with my other writing, I won’t stop blogging. Why? Because blogging is a different kind of writing – it’s a living, active thing, subject to the whims and foibles of its creator.
So, I guess you’re gonna be stuck with me as is; whining and sighing and being horribly human. But don’t worry, things will get back on track shortly… I hope. In the meantime, at least I have TMI Questions to write about, so while that’s more of my usual naval gazing (all about me!), at least it’s a tad less myopic and infinitely more entertaining than me simply being human.
You know, a little sun would probably clear this whole thing up, am I right?
Bring on the sun…