While driving to soccer practice, my 10-year old daughter chatters non-stop. One day she mentioned that she and a teammate want to have a playdate. I suggested the waterpark or the beach and then she said, “It’s weird. Whenever I go someplace like that I always meet someone and make a friend. And then I never see them again.”
I said, “Yes, they are just friends for a day, huh?”
I hate the idea of a friend for a day.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the occasional conversation you have with a stranger you meet in random circumstances: in the airport or the beach or while walking your dog down the street on a balmy Southern California morning. I like a temporary intersection with an acquaintance or the getting-to-know you exchange of information and ideas with a potential friend, even if nothing really comes of it.
But what I hate is the abandonment of old friends, dear friends, those friends who have toured the inside of your heart and seen you cry. I hate it and I don’t understand it.
Maybe I am that kind of person, the kind of person who walks away and forgets her friends, the kind of woman who drifts away on the currents of busyness, the loser who plain-out abandons her friends. But I don’t want to be like that. I don’t think I am like that. I spend a lot of time wondering if I am. Is it me?
Admittedly, I am an introvert, one of those weirdos who would choose reading over partying. I am never the life of the party, like some people I know. I don’t gather people to me like a magnet. I like solitude and peace and quiet.
But when I find a friend, when I connect with someone on a deeper level, when I find someone who laughs at my jokes and makes me laugh, who “gets” me, I treasure that person. Over the years, I’ve had some of the most amazing friends. We have walked parallel paths as we became wives and mothers. We’ve shared our lives, our sorrows, our gripes, our dreams, our fears. We have history together.
But at some point, silence has crept in. Distance both geographical and emotional has turned from space into a wall, an impenetrable wall without a gate. I’m alone. I don’t know why.
I don’t have forty-seven other friends tucked away in a banquet room. I have loved these few friends with devotion and faithfulness. I have saved every letter these friends have ever sent yet I feel like my actual friendship has been shredded and tossed out in the recycling bin. (I know. Real letters with handwriting and postage stamps and everything! So old-fashioned.)
Sure, this could just be life, that time in the life-cycle of an American female human being when she only sees her children and her husband and her job and her to-do-list, but I have a hole where those friends used to be.
I can’t stop probing the hollow space.
p.s. I already know that some friends are “for a season” and some are “for a reason” and all that trite stuff. I just feel a sense of abandonment and it’s probably me, not you. I don’t need advice or comfort. I just wanted to stay what I’ve been thinking because it helps me think better and sort through things. (I almost didn’t post this but I can’t seem to post anything else until this post stops blocking the traffic in my head.)