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By Amy Joyce
In the language of flowers, cyclamen means "resignation."
No one ever really talks about the ends of friendships. When it happens, it’s maybe mentioned briefly in passing by the respective parties involved, most often explained away with a simple, “We just drifted apart,” or a blithe reference to a “former friend” in conversation. When I hear the former turn of phrase, I imagine two hands outstretched towards the other, fingertips grazing, moving farther and farther away, and not for a lack of trying. But like the breakup of a romantic relationship, it can devastate so deeply; friends can break your heart, too.
He and I had been friends for thirteen years. We met our freshman year in high school and bonded over Metallica, sharing the majority of our classes, and mutual friends. What seemed like minor similarities steadily but surely grew into what people mean when they talk about having good chemistry with someone, perhaps even what it means to have a platonic soulmate. It was an extraordinary privilege, but now I wonder if one is allotted either only a certain amount of time with them, or if they were really the soulmate you imagined in the first place.
We became so close it was often asked if we were romantically involved, which became a sore spot. We weren’t, and there was a time when his feelings for me intensified and I demurred. It was because of that, actually, that I had always fought to keep our friendship afloat, particularly after I began dating someone else. It took some gentle coaxing, but we settled into what I thought was a comfortable and solid friendship, and it cemented my belief that he was someone on whom I could always count.
Always down for Wednesday night trivia at our favorite bar; a midnight showing of The Room; readily available by text for a random observation or quip (“There is a guy here at work who looks exactly like Kingsley Shacklebolt.”); offering sage advice when prompted, and sometimes without; he was undoubtedly my best friend, and I couldn’t begin to imagine life without him.
In hindsight, the degradation of our relationship wasn’t so abrupt. For months, I‘d endured from him unanswered texts, emails, and plans that mysteriously fell through with no apologies or explanation, though it’s not so mysterious now. At the time, I’d chalked it up to us both searching for new jobs, getting a handle on being in the throes of mid-twenties, so on. I also had an inkling that he’d finally gotten a girlfriend but didn’t want to share the news for reasons still not clear. Turns out I was right, because of course I was: I knew him about as well as I know myself, and probably still do.
Even so, when finally introduced, the girl who would become his fiancée and I forged a promising friendship ourselves: We texted often, she invited me to her forthcoming bridal shower and bachelorette party as a given (“Oh, you’re definitely on the list!”), and was instrumental in helping me all but land a new job. But at some point or another, she very suddenly decided she didn’t like me and the friendship that he and I had, and that was that, more or less. I have my suspicions, but what does it matter?
I half-jokingly say that it was I who officially severed ties by serving him papers initiating a friend divorce: a pithy, concise email, written at 2 a.m. following a terrible night where circumstances had allowed him, his fiancée, a mutual friend, and myself to be in the same bar at the same time. When he looked directly at me, and then deliberately and literally turned his back, I realized there had been no gradual drifting apart as I imagined. Rather, it had been my hand reaching out and grasping at nothing, and it had been that way for a long, long time. And so, thirteen years of friendship officially ended of my own accord.
It’s been around six months, and the pain has considerably lessened, though every once in a while, it occurs to me with a dull ache that the one person to whom I told almost everything now has no idea what’s happening in my life. Certain things remind me of him and probably always will. I’ll hear a Rod Stewart song and recall his utter hatred for “Forever Young.” I remember when we “gifted” each other The Room on DVD for our respective birthdays, as they’re only six days apart, and how hard we’d laughed as we simultaneously unwrapped Tommy Wiseau’s leering visage. I remember his confusion at the word “visage.” I remember his favorite band, his favorite movie, which mythical creature he’d prefer as a pet. What do you do with thirteen years’ worth of leftover information? How do you learn to forget?
And much like one does when sifting through the remnants of a romantic breakup, ill-advised and melancholy, I made a sloppy and admittedly slightly drunken attempt at an apology by way of text a few months later. It understandably went unanswered, and I deleted his number from my phone. I’ve resigned myself to the damage being done, and I don’t really ever expect to be friends with him again. But I still miss him terribly, even if I’d cross the street to avoid him.
#Real #FriendBreakups #LuckyThirteen #Heartbreak #Metallica #PiratesOfTheCaribbean #Dragons #We'llAlwaysHaveTheRoom
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