Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Writer's Workshop: You don't bring me flowers
Apparently it was me. Entirely my fault.
Despite the fact that my mother had been undergoing radiation for cancer, and that I lived 500 miles away, and was barely in NY long enough to blink, it was me. All me. Entirely my fault that my friendships were suffering. Scratch that, two of my many friendships were suffering.
See, I moved on. I kept living my life here in NC. When I went home to be with family, that was what was my priority. Family. With a capital F. You get the picture.
And that last time, that last time I spent a few days at home with my family, with my mother, who could barely speak, and my husband, who was working at his company's NYC office nearly every second we were in town, it was entirely my fault that I did not get to see my friends. My former friends.
See, what happened was, I returned home, after a precious visit with family, and I wrote letters to all three of my very best friends. One of them thanked me. For my beautiful sentiment. The way I shared how important she was to me. And how I hoped that the next time I was in town, everyone would be well and I'd find a way to see her. Somehow.
The other two? Not so much. I sent their letters off into snail mail (seriously, I did, I even used stamps!) and never heard a peep. Not a word. Not a thank you. Not a 'we miss you, too.' Nothing.
Until a few weeks later, I forwarded on some recent pictures of my beautiful baby girl. Look at her, I said. Isn't it crazy how red her hair looks? Isn't it crazy how much she's grown? Isn't it crazy ... that the two responses I received (via e-mail) were nearly identical? Might as well have been word for word, but they did put their own spins on them. And yet, so little mention of my child. Not a word about my mom.
*I don't know how you can think you still care about us when you make no effort.*
*I'll never put you before anyone in my life again.* (paraphrasing here, the true words sting too much, still)
*What if I were traveling to NC and didn't come to see you? That would be the same thing!*
Uh, no. No it wouldn't.
And so I was done. Completely and utterly done. I backed away. Hysterical. Tears flowing. I called my husband, said a lot of curse words, and walked away. I never picked up the phone, sent another letter or responded to that e-mail. Those e-mails.
Because you know what? All that time, all the time I tried to maintain what had existed before, it was a waste. Because you stopped bringing me flowers long ago. You stopped writing me love songs. You stopped being my true friend. My mom had cancer. CANCER. And I wasn't a good enough friend to YOU? It's OK. I get it. I got it then and I get it now. Life pulls people apart. North Carolina took me away from you ladies. But long before the moment you sent your e-mails, you lost your grip. On life. On love. On me.
Perhaps it was too much to handle, and that's why I wound up with the brunt of it? But obviously you knew you had to stand your ground, too. You had to stay strong, not bend, and think to yourself, she must know how wrong she is, and she'll come around eventually. And so you didn't write. You didn't call. And neither did I. And here we are, still at a standstill (for the most part for one, and entirely for the other) and here we shall remain.
Friends no more.