Thursday, July 03, 2014

Understanding Love, 3

The brain doctor told me that friends weren't the people whom we wanted to unload all of our problems on. Friends, he said, are the people whom we just want to spend time with. Time going over the bullshit of the day. Time watching TV that you both enjoy. Time trying to make each other laugh. Sometimes, he said, you do unload your problems on them, but that it was their choice to offer to listen and stay because they also want to spend time with you. In the end, though, friends are about shedding off any outside crap and enjoying the time.

You were probably the best best friend I ever had.

For four years we were nearly inseparable. Where you went, I followed. Where I went, you followed. Any new people came into our lives and the decision to keep them was a mutual one. You not only had a license, but a car and were willing to pick me, and my brothers, up for school every single morning. We both liked cartoons well past the age we were supposed to. You had a biting, sometimes cruel, wit that always made me laugh. And for some reason, you liked me, too. (As I've gotten older, it's been getting harder for me to understand why you, or anyone else, like/d me. That's probably a mix of my no-self-esteem and depression, though.)

I had known you for a long time before I knew you were my best friend. About half of our lives. And during that time, we were friendly, but I'm sure if we were exactly "friends." During our time it was still considered wrong, or at least questionable, for a boy and girl of seven to be friends. Sure, we could all play tag in a huge group, but for me to encourage you to play Cat's Cradle and you to get me to play basketball, that was a rarity. So you mostly hung out with the girls in our grade and I mostly hung out with my one real friend, my best friend, at the time.

I've written about us before.

My favorite story of us as little kids is still you selling me curse words for fruit snacks. It's the best price I've ever paid for anything because I still smile when I think of that day.

Did you know that because we were together so much and got along so well that just about everyone we went to school with thought that we were dating? Did you know that our parents, or at least our mothers, expected that we would eventually marry? Or at least get close to marriage?

I certainly didn't, at the time. Hell, I didn't know until I was specifically asked if we were married, yet. It was a bit of a shock.

I'd be lying if I said I hadn't fantasized about my female friends. Can't be helped. I didn't fantasize about you, though. I've known you since we were seven. You were the sister I never had and better than any sister that I might have had. Also, by the time we were basically inseparable I knew you too well. I knew your quirks and crazies, you buttons and issues. I knew you and in knowing you I learned that there are things you can say, thing you can do, with friends that don't fly when you're also intimate with that person.

With you, though, as a friend anything went. That whole discussion we had, on the bus with one third of our classmates, about turning human breast milk into cheese and then selling it as an aphrodisiac? All the places sand gets and the problems that come with it? How the attack on the Death Star in the original Star Wars is all about sex? ("We're too close." "Stay on target!" "Loosen up!") There aren't that many people out there who would have let me just go off on those topis, let alone joined in.

So, what happened? Just saying college happened or growing up happened isn't really enough for me. Not enough at all.

During our senior year of high school you started pulling away, some. There were two others, girls, who you seemed to enjoy spending more time with than me. I understood because most people aren't like me and only want/need one or two really close friends; most people want more. I missed you, but I knew that your time was your time, not my time and not our time. But sometimes the relationship you had with those two seemed less and less like a friendship and more and more like a relationship. The three of you had these weird jealousies and reactions. And then the way it all ended with the three of you hating each other, that was just strange.

I did ask one of the two, the one I was closer to, what happened and I asked you, too. Neither of you wanted to tell me. You just got angry and she always told me to ask you. Mutual friends hinted around that there was a sexual relationship between the three of you. I don't know and probably never will. Still, if it wasn't sexual it was extremely intimate.

Anyway, exactly what the three of you meant to each other isn't the point. The point is that this was when things changed between us. Then college happened and you were in the north and I went south and you learned the joys of becoming a fag hag and I became more and more isolated. I started to get left out of gatherings when people were back from school because I didn't want to drink alcohol and you and they did. Did I make you feel self-conscience? I didn't judge you or them, it simply wasn't something that I wanted to do. As time went on you stopped coming back from school and if you did it was just for two days and we didn't always get to visit. I kept sending you e-mails, but you didn't always reply and I wrote you less and less.

After years and years of not hearing from you, not seeing you, you friended me on Facebook and I saw that you were engaged. I e-mailed you and your wedding was that weekend. Of course I had to be there even though I hadn't heard from you for years and didn't know the guy.

Your wedding day was the last time that I remember seeing you. That day I was horribly uncomfortable surrounded by people I hardly or didn't know, but for the ten minutes that we had to ourselves was like nothing had ever changed between us. Just the smooth flow of conversation.

That was the last time we spoke. I don't even think we've exchanged e-mails. I quit Facebook after that and since your account is only viewable to friends I can't see it. I don't, and probably never will, know you husband. I haven't seen the photo's of your children. Are they boys? Girls? One of each? Are you still a nurse? In the ER still, or have you moved to something less stressful? Are you still obsessed with fantasy books? Do you have plans to introduce you kids to Pinky and the Brain?

I miss you. I miss having a friend like you. The way I am nothing is going to change between us. I wish you and your family happiness.

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