This is a painful post that is close to my heart, but I did say I was going to try and be more vulnerable here right? So here goes nothing!
Recently I have recognized my inability to be direct and the value I place on those friends in my life who hear what I am not saying. The ones who read between the lines and address the feelings behind the words. The ones who understand me. The ones who are aware of this:
It is such a beautiful thing when you meet these people. I’m lucky to have met more than one. I remember the first girl I met, around 14 years old, who came into my world and blew me away. She saw me, heard me and understood me in a way I had never experienced before, and showed me what it was to love and to be loved. I existed to her as if I had never existed before her. It was profound. I can only hope I did the same for her. When you are on the same page as someone in this way, it feels as though your souls have joined hands the way otters do in their sleep so they don’t drift apart. (Awww) I never imagined it would be possible for her and I to drift apart. I could not imagine a future without her in it and I knew she felt the same. We were friends into our 30’s before it all came crashing down. I guess considering how young we were when we met, it was a pretty good run, but it will always feel, to me at least, unfinished.
You were one of the most important people in my world, and if you were ever to stumble upon this blog, I know it would pain you not to find yourself directly referenced here. That silence would speak volumes and scream loudly “I don’t care. You didn’t matter.” If you are reading this, it is not because I didn’t care that I have not written about you, but because I did care. I still do. I could not find the perfect words to honour you and the friendship we shared. It is also true to say that I had trouble articulating what happened exactly because it has taken me this long to fully understand it myself. This post is for you. I’m sorry it has taken me this long….
So…..Why did we drift apart in the end? Because while we were still reading between the lines…. We were no longer on the same page…and maybe neither of us realised! When we began we were so in sync. The rest of the world melted away as you and I created a world and language of our own. I smoked my first cigarette with you, shared my love of cheesy 80’s music with you as we serenaded each other into impulse deodorant cans, tasted my first sips of alcohol with you and even shared my first girl on girl kiss with you among other firsts! I know you felt the way I felt and I know (now) how much that scared you. I couldn’t understand it back then, how unexpected that must have been for you. I had my doubts about my heterosexuality already, long before I met you, but you had never questioned yours until then. It shouldn’t have surprised me when you eventually pulled away from me in favour of exploring the male species, but it did surprise me and it did hurt. It hurt because although I never asked you, I thought you were my girlfriend…. And then, suddenly, you weren’t. I guess you didn’t hear what I wasn’t saying, and I didn’t want to hear what you weren’t saying! It wouldn’t be the last time, perhaps, that I refused to hear you.
In time I came to accept that what had felt right for me, hadn’t felt so right for you, and we tried to remain best friends. It was all unspoken, but we struggled to stay on the same page after that. Actually maybe we were never on the same page after that. For what it’s worth, I’m so sorry I scared you. You were open and willing and loving enough to help me discover myself and I will always love you for that. However, this post is not about that. It is about what transpired after that. Or, more to the point… what didn’t.
I didn’t hear what you weren’t saying when your beloved pet died the next year, and I let you down. There were other ways after that we failed one another. These things cracked the foundation at the core of “us” – whatever we were. As life happened and we moved out of home, studied, took partners and jobs, life got more busy and the space growing between us was so loud… for me anyway. I don’t think you heard it now. As you answered my calls less and less, and returned them with alarming infrequency, I heard in your silence “We are not friends anymore. I don’t have time for you. Let it go.” I didn’t want to let you go entirely, so instead we transitioned into Shasta Nelson’s circle 3. While I interpreted this as “us pretending to still be friends from time to time” because there was no bad blood, no reason for a fight, no reason for it to end entirely, I see now that you genuinely still believed us to be 'best friends', while I was grieving the loss of you from my life?! In time acceptance found it’s way into my heart and I no longer cared that “we” were over. I let go emotionally. This process took a good 5 or 6 years. I was moving on.
Ironically as that happened, as I let go, you finally heard the silence between us. You now, for the first time, heard in my silences “We are not friends anymore. I don’t have time for you. Let it go.” And from that point I failed to read between your lines. I didn’t hear what you weren’t saying. I didn’t take the time to understand and address the emotions behind the words. I wasn’t on the same page. Maybe it felt like I was refusing to hear you, but I was just no longer speaking 'unspokens' with you. I’m so sorry for that.
We fought over trivial things, and we both blamed you for “always making everything about you.” You apologized for being a bad friend and I still didn’t hear you! My indifference must have been loud and painful. Looking back is bittersweet because I can finally see how hard you were trying to get my attention. Trying to get me to show you the love that would maybe have saved “us.” I see that you put real effort into saving us and your silent screams and angry words fell on deaf ears. I can understand how hurt you were by my actions, and the messages I silently sent you when you were not asked to be a bridesmaid at my wedding, or when you were the last to know of a few other things going on in my life etc... These things confirmed your fears; that we were over, that my soul otter had let go. :( I guess you were right, it had. I didn't fight for you. We couldn't keep fighting anymore. For or against.
In many ways I suppose I made you watch me replace you. Ouch. Yet it was still a real shock to me, when you ended our friendship, formally?! Lol. Du'h?! Although that was also largely unsaid, I finally heard you. I didn’t understand, but I wanted you to know that I get it now. It was all a miscommunication, a misunderstanding. A reading of subtext which didn’t exist and a mixture of not hearing what wasn’t being said and hearing things that were not said and not intended to be hurtful. If only one of us had said “it feels like we aren’t friends anymore,” instead of blindly pretending that we were in the hopes that we would someday be again. Our timing was all wrong. I’m so sorry. Honestly. I miss you. I think of you. The Virginia Woolf quote springs to mind when I think of you; “I have lost friends, some by death, and some by sheer inability to cross the street.” I’ll never really believe we are over. That is the real reason I haven’t written here about you. I hope one day one of us will find the courage to cross the street. Until then, please know that “Somewhere in my heart I’m always dancing with you in the summer rain.” – Belinda Carlisle. Our friendship lives on in my heart and I remember you fondly and with much love. I hope you are well, and that we will meet again, if not in this lifetime then in the next one.
Your Best Friend ForNever