Just Friends

Waking up to hammering rain, which three hours later transitioned to blazing sunshine so disoriented me that all I’ve accomplished is moving from one room to another, over and over. I’ve pounded out words and more words, folded clothes, written emails, filed papers - all important matters - but none of this activity alleviates a nagging sadness.

When a relationship ends, people shower your broken heart with sympathy. Even if they hated your mate, they acknowledge your pain and offer well-circulated platitudes. Society doesn’t have the same default setting for when a friendship ends. We don’t even know what to call such an occurrence, but for me it’s a break up of the worst kind.

Yes, I’ve been dumped. Not romantically. That’s the other problem. This friendship never fit into a tidy category. From occasional lovers to intimate friends to long time confidants, we’d traveled all the terrain except for established couple. But this man has met someone new and no longer needs me as his the stand in girlfriend. Good-bye spontaneous calls to go grab coffee or visit the farmer’s market. No more ‘Let’s get a drink’. No more ‘Let’s plan a dinner party.’ No. No more of anything. The phone sits silent. The inbox remains empty.

When the quiet began to overtake the noise, I refused to passively sit back and wait. I made the overture, picking up the phone, despite the onset of vulnerability. I sent the innocuous email. The response? Casual indifference. This from the person who’d called me so regularly, and often with such urgency, that I’d flash on the Red Batphone in the Commissioner’s office. Yes, he deserved his own direct line.

But I’ve been discarded, and right now I don’t know if I’d rather have a hanky or a hatchet as I vacillate between hurt and anger.

The unceremonious dumping came abruptly. When he disclosed that he’d met someone, I confessed my preparation for his departure knowing how easy it is to get replaced in this life, but my friend cut me off by adamantly rebuffing my concerns. And I actually believed him. I must admit that this isn’t the first time that this friend has dumped me, but this time was on the heels of the most entwined period of our friendship, so it stings the most.

When he came back into my life after his last harsh vanishing at the request of a girlfriend threatened by my existence, my regretful friend promised to make things right. And while I could beat myself up for falling for his line again, I actually want to congratulate myself on embracing someone I found meaningful despite our troubled past and his complicated stance with me. I operated from the heart and lived according to my own code. He may have pissed all over our friendship once again, but I can now walk away with pride knowing I deserve better.

When I recount this story to a few key allies, the male friends all say good riddance, that this guy is hardly worth my sadness. The women, on the other hand, encourage me to reach out and give him another chance. I’m sorry, but I align with the men on this one. What is it about female forgiveness? Do we collectively feel so unworthy of proper treatment that we won’t even stand up for ourselves? How many chances does he deserve?

But I do think wistfully upon the term ‘just friends,’ which is so often maligned as a demotion, because, really, there is no such thing as just friends. If only we all could remember that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

from the 'greater truth and accruacy in blogging committee' -- did i say just take him back?
i didn't think that was my position.... but you know me and my memory...
what i thought i said was that
because i don't like to lose people since i know connections of depth and value in life are rare, i thought i said it would be nice to think that there might be a time when his coming and going wouldn't matter to you --- we know intensity and feelings for people change and that that scenario is capable of happening.... -- that's all. but in the interim, i agree that it's just too cruel and creepy a situation. he seems so oddly both oblivious and indifferent to your feelings.
is he a regular reader of your blog site?