I read an article once that discussed how our friends are now the new husbands. Women no longer become adults within the context of marriage. As we delay marriage or struggle with relationships, we mature with our friends, experience adulthood with them. They're the ones who become our mates, the people who know us better than we know ourselves. Lovers can never even come close to the connection one has with their friends, unless they invest some serious years into the relationship.
The article hit home. I spent my twenties connecting with a select group of friends. These friends know my deepest, darkest secrets, my fears, my ideas, my dreams. They can read me and understand me better than I understand myself. They're the ones I lean on. When I was living in Barcelona and had a breakdown because of a personal problem, it was a friend who talked me off the fictitious ledge. When the boyfriend's mother passed away two years ago and I was a wreck because it just brought to the surface too many laden emotions (we weren't together at the time), it was my friends who came with me to the funeral and held my hand. They made me laugh and took away the pain.
My friends are my family. More than family. I've placed a faith in them that I've never even placed in my own family. You don't get to choose your family, but you do get to choose your friends.
There's nothing more heartbreaking than losing a close friend. I've lost two close friends in the past fifteen years. One because she turned out to be a selfish cow, the other because she betrayed me. While I was sad at losing their friendship, I wasn't devastated. I was upset that they had betrayed my trust, but the fact that they did something horribly bad helped ease the break-up blow. I also hadn't invested years into them, so it was pretty easy to move on.
A long-time friend and I recently "broke up" and it's been having the strangest effect of me. I've been experiencing an entire spectrum of emotions and fluctuate between them all at the drop of a hat. I'll be fumingly mad one second, cursing her existence under my breath, then utterly depressed and on the verge of tears the next. I get nauseous when I'm reminded that we're not going to be friends anymore.
I also often go into a daze without even realizing it, scrunching my face into a permanent scowl. This, by the way, will do nothing for the wrinkles I'm trying to avoid. I had lunch with a couple of my students last week and one of my girls asked, "Miss, why you look so sad?? What's wrong?" I averted her question by giving her a lecture on grammar. (I've learned that the best way to get rid of my students, who are constantly latching on to me now, is by correcting their grammar).
Friend and I broke up for inconsequential reasons. Neither one of us betrayed each other or talked about one other behind our backs. Nothing malicious. We're not the type. Just differences. Irreconcilable difference apparently.
I've been going through the five stages of grief pretty rapidly.
- Denial: Nah...this isn't really happening. She's just upset right now. She'll get over it, she'll see the situation in its context, she'll want to be my friend again. We'll still be friends.
- Anger: What the fcuk is wrong with her? How dare she say those things to me??! How dare she see me like that!!! If she thinks I've never been a good friend to her, the fcuk her! I don't need shitty people like that in my life. Fcuk her!!!!
- Bargaining: Okay. I'll call her. I'll call her and tell her that this was just a really big misunderstanding. That I take partial responsibility for neglecting our friendship and that I'll do anything to fix it. We're too good together to just throw it all away.
- Depression: I'll never have another friend like her. If this friend can leave me like this, a friend who I thought I could trust blindly, then what does it say about the other people in my life? Who's going to abandon me next?
- Acceptance: It is what it is. I can't change her mind. I can't make her see something she refuses to see. It was a great friendship, but if it has to end it has to end.
I didn't care that she insulted me the way she did. That she attacked me in the most vile of manners. Is friend worth swallowing my pride and beating her with a club in order for her to understand how important she is to me? Absolutely. Friend is very rare. And when you find someone like that, you keep that person in your life.
But she doesn't want to be my friend. She doesn't believe that I have the ability to be a good friend to her. That I've never had the ability. She's very particular, this friend. If she can't get what she wants, she won't settle for anything less. I've always respected her for that, but if she's got no room in her life for me, what can I really do? And if she doesn't want to be my friend, how can I fight to keep her?
I never got out of the car to knock on her door. I was sorely tempted to, but I wouldn't have had anything to say. I'd have just stood there. And she wouldn't have had the patience for that.