Mama Kat's Writers' Workshop provided the following prompt this week: " I miss the friend you used to be."
The Husband was at work the other day and a guy we don't even particularly like came in and they got to talking and the result of this conversation is that he got the phone number for one of his all-time best friends, who we've lost touch with.
When he told me about this, I was thinking "Great! I know you've been missing him," but what came out of my mouth was, "Don't think I'm gonna hang out with his wife just so you guys can hang." I was pretty shocked by this statement for a couple of reasons. 1. It sounds so mean when I say it like that, 2. I don't really think he would, and 3. I didn't realize I felt that strongly.
See, we used to be friends. In fact, I am the sole reason they even know each other, as I set them up.
Kate* and I met in the way that people that age normally meet, whatever that is. She was so completely unlike me, but we were both opinionated and loud. She was perhaps the best shopping buddy I've ever had. It was a good friendship.
I'm not even sure what drove us apart. It just seems like things piled up on us. Not the living life kind of stuff, the hurt feelings type of stuff. The laundry list of ways we've each been done wrong. The nights we were stood up. The niceties denied and the insults heaped.
We still see each other in the grocery or elsewhere from time to time, but we don't have any enthusiasm for seeing one another anymore.
What I miss about Kate isn't her undying friendship or her loyalty; because those things never seemed to be there. It's not even her personality. She was funny sometimes, but after a while her brand of snark would start to grate on you.
What I miss most is that she was something I had never before had. Someone who in one breath would tell me that those jeans in fact did make me look fat because they were not magic jeans and I was, in fact, fat; and in the next tell me that I could make anything look good. Someone who was fun to be with and might completely tell you off over a minor transgression, but couldn't hold a grudge for longer than a week. Someone who knew when to hold your hand, when to hold your hair and when to get the hell out of your way.
It's easy to look at those traits, the things that made her wonderful and cemented our friendship and think that there was something there worth saving. And maybe there was. Maybe I am too cold when I say "Never again." But some wounds are hard to heal.
In many ways, it was our differences that made us friends, our opposite takes on the world. But it was also our differences that pushed us apart. Mainly that of temperament. While she was quick to anger and quick to get over it, I am slow to anger (real anger at least, I am very quick to frustration) and slow to move on.
I've been thinking a lot about friendship lately. About how hard it is to make a friend and how hard it is to keep a friend. About how most of the friends I've loved through the years are now scattered around the world and I never see them. About how important seeing is to me.
And the conclusion that I've come to is that life is short. It's hard to find people to share yourself with and it's harder still to hold them. It's worth the work, but all that work shouldn't be wasted on someone who is anything less than precious to you.
*Name changed to protect... who are we kidding here? Me. Name changed to protect me. Thank you, that is all.