About a year ago, give or take a few months, I had a big fight with my best friend. The kind of argument where you swear you're right, and so do they. The kind that leaves scars that tattoo you for years to come.
This person and I had known each other essentially our whole lives. It was one of those friendships that started out at a young age, and grew with each passing year. But much like anything that grows that uncontrollably, there were a few vines along the way. Things any teenager would go through like, who was more popular, and who was getting better grades. But as we evolved and grew, so did our vines. After high school was over, we spent four years apart at different colleges. There were moments when I felt the time did us well. We would see each other less often, and when we did we would talk for hours just trying to catch up with each other's lives. It went on like this for a long time, even after college. Months or weeks where we were inseparable. On the phone or in person almost every day. Then, like with any long-term relationship, there were dry spells. Point where out of the blue, we didn't speak for weeks and didn't see each other for months. Of course, I always blamed them and in turn, they always blamed me. But I was always the one who noticed the absence first. The one who was mostly affected by it. It bothered me for a long time, made me feel needy. But when I stopped and took a step back, it wasn't really that dramatic. I just needed my best friend.
There's something different and special about the bond you share with your closest friend. Something that cannot be replicated. Not through family, or even marriage. It's rare and it's powerful, and when it's over it affects you in a way that nothing else will. Not to say that losing this bond is the worst thing that will ever happen to you in your life. But initially, it may feel that way. And that's okay.
When we had this exchange, it was short and curt. Both of us remained calm. Measured. But in retrospect, I would have preferred a screaming match. You know, to go out with a bang instead of a whimper. A fight with some emotion behind it, because at the time I did feel very emotional.
It took place around a time of year when a certain event always took place. The event was hosted by them and ever since I was old enough to ask for a ride, I attended as a guest. But as the years past, I became more than a guest, I became a part of the family. I knew and loved everyone there, and when I became an adult, I realized it was the one event I looked forward to more than any other in the year.
Because the altercation we had took place around the time of this event, and it was clear that I was no longer invited. Of course, my friend blamed me for not reaching out, and I blamed them. We both said some things that were harsh, but the worst part of it was that I knew we both really meant them. I was completely devastated, I knew it was the end of an era. A few months after this argument prevented me from going to the annual event, I got news that a family member of my best friend, someone I cared deeply about, had passed away. I had known she was ill, and had asked many times how she was doing, but I was never given a straight answer. I knew my friend must have been suffering, deeply. But when her family member passed, I held a lot of resentment in my heart for my friend. Resentment, because it kept me from seeing her one last time. I felt anger, sadness, guilt, grief, and every other word the thesaurus can spit out for you when you type in the word hurt. I felt betrayed by someone who I thought of as my family, and I felt guilt for feeling this betrayal. Because ultimately the pain I felt was nothing compared to what my friend was going to.
So I waited. I waited all of this time for my friend to call me, email me, reach out in some way and magically undo all of the pain that came with not having them in my life anymore, but it never came. And I may sound weak for saying this, and the truth to you is that I really don't care, but I miss and love that person every single day, and I'll probably never get over not being friends with them anymore. But much like a romantic relationship that has ended, even with friendships, at some point you have to move on.
You have to let go.
A year has passed, and we have barely spoken. One or two text messages here and there filled with counterfeit platitudes, which we both probably sent out of obligation. I realized the other day that she wasn't going to contact me, and that I wasn't going to contact her. That we had moved on so much from who were once were that I didn't know if it was even possible for us to ever be friends again. And I'll tell you, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Nothing is more shocking than when you realize you've been in denial about something. It is a real feeling, and it is powerful.
So for the rest of this year, I am thinking about her. I'm still mourning the ambiguous loss of my best friend. When the New Year comes, I have to let go. All I can hope for is closure.