I don’t know about everyone, but at this time of the year, I become pensive (engaged in, involving, or reflecting deep or serious thought; "a pensive mood"). I think about many things in my life – including people who are no longer in my life, persons that I thought that I would have never lost touch with. I do know that friendship is a giant revolving door or roundabout (a type of circular intersection or junction in which road traffic flows almost continuously in one direction around a central island); friends and even family members come and go throughout one’s life (family members are always family but the occurrence of their association with a person does change through the years)
An example would be “K” who I have been friends with since 8th grade. She and I were inseparable for several years, until later in high school, when I wasn’t cool enough to hang out with or walk to school. I know that it was new friends that she made – I made new friends also, but was hurt seeing her walk home on the opposite side of the street that I walked on. We managed to get over that by the time graduation rolled around and we planned our senior trip together to Florida. Throughout the years, she made it clear that she didn’t like the life I was living as a young adult and didn’t want to associate with me during this time. Looking back, I know that I made some really stupid decisions, but nothing that was damaging, lasting or terminal. She would come back into my life and leave with the wind. I truly believe that it was hard for her to have more than one friend, one person to hang out with at a time.
In our 40’s, we again became close friends. During this period of time, it was pretty bleak for “K” – she ended up losing her job, and in desperation asked my husband and I to loan her some money. We weren’t much better off, but we had credit and offered to do a cash advance on a credit card with a really good interest rate, which she agreed to. After taking more than 6 years to pay back the money that was charged, she bristled at the interest that was on the card, but paid it back mid-2013. Following that, I received a few emails about her brother who wasn’t doing well physically, and a phone call in the fall of 2013 letting me know that he passed, and she would call me back when the memorial service was scheduled. I am, sadly, still waiting for that phone call.
There was a time when I would have said that nothing would have gotten between the two of us. I was wrong. My husband and I now agree that we are no longer the “Bank of Thompson” – that has closed. He firmly believed that “K” thinks we ripped her off with the interest and that is the problem. I don’t know if I believe that, but something did – and I don’t know if anything would ever be the same. Hell, she had a major medical issue that I only found out about because her boss mentioned something to me thinking that I should know (as a close friend). “K” never told me.
I had another friend, “J” who I did everything with for years and years. We drank together, went to bars and clubs and danced and hung out. We did so much together when I left my practice husband; he told my father that he believed that we were lesbians and that’s why I didn’t want to stay with him (the truth was that I didn’t love who I was when I was with him, but men like their own version better). She even visited when I was living in Germany and we traveled around together. When in Paris, my husband fell asleep in the hotel room early and “J” and I looked at each other and left the hotel. We walked the streets until the wee hours of the morning, stopping for a drink or coffee in several bars or cafes. We learned that “woo woo baby” means the same thing in French or English! What a grand night!
Soon after I moved from the area that we both lived in, I learned that she wouldn’t come north 20 miles to see me and if I wanted the friendship to continue, I would have to drive down all the time. So, slowly, as I made new friends, it fizzled out. I last heard from her because she was in the hospital and she wanted me to get some medical information for her; shortly after getting it for her, I never heard back, her phone was disconnected, and multiple attempts to find her were unsuccessful. I wish her well.
As girlfriends got married and families, I seemed to have less in common with them. It’s the “you don’t understand because you don’t have kids” phase in life. Through the years as the children grew, the friends and I seemed to have widened that gap and it’s hard to cross. Or it’s the gap when a friend marries and their husband really doesn’t like me (or my husband) and you just separate because it’s less stressful.
When the internet because popular and on-line interest groups developed, a number of on-line friendships developed. As interests changed; those friendships also waned.
I was deeply involved with a bead society locally that I thought would never change as long as I was involved with that medium of art. The leadership I started with and deeply connected with has changed and new leadership is now in place and I don’t connect with it any longer. I have a different outlook than some and it was a time for me to remove myself from the leadership, as much as I didn’t want to; the time was right.
At this time of year, I think about those friends that I am close to now; don’t worry about when they will leave my life as I don’t have control over what might or might not happen. I think about old friends and what we had then and what we have now. I think about the friends who made the decision to leave my life; and I don’t worry about their decision. I can’t do anything about it and I can’t make them stay connected to me.
I am just grateful for those who are in my life. Past. Present. Future.