Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dear Friend

Dear Friend,

I'm a coward. That's why I'm writing this here. Because I need to get it out there. I need the words to be said. But I can't say them to you. I don't know how to talk to you anymore. I'm pretty sure you don't read this and that's ok. Maybe just knowing that the words are out there, floating around will be enough for me. Or maybe it will give me the nerve to tell you, in person. This probably won't be short and sweet. You know me. You know how I ramble and over explain and repeat everything. You're the only one who never seemed annoyed at one time or another by it.

I think it's time we break up.

There, I said it.

Someone I respect said recently:

Friends come and go, they go in and out of your life. Sometimes you have friends from way back who are somehow a permanent fixture in your life--past and present. Maybe you never talk anymore or see each other, but they are always there, attached to you by gossamer love. Well, it feels delicate like that, yet it persists and persists and follows you everywhere you go. That friend pops into your head when you laugh about something only they would understand.

And all of that makes me think of you. But you know what hit me the hardest? Friends come and go. I had a friend from the time I was 5 until I was 15. I couldn't imagine life without her, and then one day she was gone. But it was painless. We still have occasional contact. Cards and things. I found her recently, she has two young children. She'll always be special to me. But I didn't mourn her going. I've had other friends come and go. You've come and gone and again and again. But it never felt raw or wrong. Not before. Now it does. Now I'm not content to let this friendship come and go.

I can't keep letting it go, I think. Or maybe I don't know how to let it go that last time. I don't know why. I think if we met today, we'd never be friends. I don't think we'd like each other very much.

We've grown so far apart it's hard to recognize you sometimes. But no matter how much we disagreed on really important things we still respected each other. I think I can pinpoint exactly when we started going in different directions, a long, long time ago. Or maybe not - maybe it just never mattered before. It never mattered that you turned so far right when I went left. We had a bond stronger than any of that.

You knew me. You knew everything. You were there for everything. For some of the most difficult moments in my life. I could always, always depend on you. You've seen me at my worst. And you still loved me. You still came around. You would tease me or laugh about some of my crazies. But you rarely judged me. You were the only person I could tell everything to. I thought I had other people like that in my life, but I was proven wrong.

Along the way though, that changed. I've been growing up. And I think you've been staying the same. Honestly, I just can't relate to you anymore. And it's been so long, that our past isn't strong enough to hold us up anymore. That was one thing we could always fall back on - our shared past. But over the last decade, we haven't been creating a new past to lean on over the next decade.

Gah. I don't know. Told you I would over analyze it. But you knew that.

As we've grown older we've gone from talking daily to weekly to monthly to 3 or 4 times a year. I've stopped calling you, because I'm tired of being ignored. I'm tired of feeling like I'm begging for your friendship. You say it's not just me, and I know that. I know the same thing is happening with your other friends. But I can't keep doing it.

It used to be that we could not see each other for a week, and more recently for several months, and things would pick right up where they left off. But not any more. Now it feels like work to be around you. It feels awkward and fake.

And for those reasons and a million more, I know I should let this friendship die. I know it's time.

But there's a part of me, a big part of me, that just can't. No one understands why. I don't understand why. Maybe I'm afraid no friend will really ever "get me" again. Not the way you did. They just won't know me. They weren't there for all those really hard years. They won't get all the old jokes. They don't know who I was before I was a mom. This me is all they know.

They didn't know me when I was young, and free and fun.

Before I became afraid of being home alone. Before I became dependent on being in a relationship, before I had children, before I worked full time, before I thought 10 pm was late at night, before I was (increasingly!) neurotic. They don't know the me that you knew. That you know.

Sometimes I don't know, or remember, that me anymore either. But, when I'm around you, I do.

I guess maybe part of the reason I'm so damn afraid to let you go, is because it's letting a huge part of myself go too.

And you know, I'd take it all back. All of this, every word. If only you were you again. If only you would come to me, as someone I recognize. I'd throw every word of this away and we'd sit and have a glass of wine and talk about our past.

And I guess that's why I can't leave you. Even though every year I get more annoyed by this. Some days I'm so tired of it I convince myself that this is the day - I'm just going to let it go. And then I don't.

I could let it die, just fade away. That's what's happening. I know it would work. But it seems wrong to end it that way. I think our friendship deserves better then that. It deserves a formal goodbye. Or maybe just a see ya later. It deserves to be acknowledged though.


This is crazy. And you know that. And you would get it.




Barefoot Goddess said...

I'm proud of you for this post. See you tomorrow night <3 ~M.

Valkyrie said...

You write so beautifully. It is so hard to know when to let go, especially the friendships that go way back--as you said so eloquently, she reminds you of who you were. She'll always be a part of your history. Sometimes it's better to just leave it like that--a perfect memory in time, instead of struggling to keep something alive that is so imperfect and painful now.

If only we could be content to talk on the phone a couple of times a year and acknowledge the best part of our relationship is behind us. But somehow that contact, even though spare, only reminds you of what you had and what you miss so much.

It's hard.

Sara said...

Love the pictures that went with this. Big hugs!!!