I have (had) these two friends–a couple–that I’d known for about 6 years. We’d become pretty close and they’d become close with my kid. We’d been there for each other through some rough times: family deaths, job losses, illness, pet deaths, childlessness issues.
Then, all of a sudden, last December, they stopped talking to me. Both of them. The last time I saw them was at one of their birthday parties. I brought wine, a gift, and even took off my the sweater I’d worn and gave it to the hostess when I was leaving because she loved it so much. (Needless to say, I said it wasn’t a favorite of mine anyway–which was completely untrue–but I figured that after what she’d been through this year, it was just a simple token of my love and friendship for her.
I’m an idiot.
Then one day, I send an email inviting the two of them to a glass blowing experience–on me, of course–as well as updates on the family, asking about the now orange-sweatered gal and her grieving process (her dad just died and boy did we try to be there for her and her partner…AND their dog). I immediately received this curt reply:
“Thanks for the invite, but no can do. Super busy right now.”
(I keep these sorts of things in case I forget who these people are or forget why it is we dropped out of each others’ lives.)
I wrote back and asked if that was all I was worth, a 12-word response without even signing her name.
No response. From her or her partner–who isn’t much of a writer/speller/reader anyway and yet still makes whopping boatloads of money doing…not quite sure, actually, but makes sure that YOU know that SHE makes the sort of money she does. You know, a typical come-from-no-money to now having money story and behavior that I’ve always let slide. (MEEEEOWWWW! Annik!)
And it’s 6 months later. Not even a call on my birthday.
Here’s the irony of this — and it is thick: My daughter is going through, with many of the 4th and 5th grade girls, daily dramas about who is friends with whom and who is being mean and who is gossiping and how the younger friends from last year’s class just don’t understand that when you’re in a different grade and a different class you still love them but can’t always be or play with them because you’re trying to cultivate new friends too, people with whom you spend all day…and so on and so forth. Bian and I have many sit-down chats about how it’s important to TALK about what is going on so that it doesn’t fester and you don’t lose friends over things that maybe aren’t weren’t losing them over. That sometimes it’s scary to confront someone because maybe they’d said something hurtful. I try to teach Bian to not say a lot of “you”s when talking to this person; make it more about how SHE is feeling and not what the other person did or did not do.
And yet two 40-something women can’t even do that. And even if they tried now, it’s too late. I mean 6 months? Really? What could I possibly have done between the time we had a great birthday party to that weak response to my generous offer?
Of course I’ll always be somewhat curious, but I’ve let it go because life is short and people are weird and insecure (insecure is the key word here with that one) and I need to let my daughter understand that things like this happen. Even when we never find out why.
So it’s like mourning a death of two friends.
But more than that…
I want my orange sweater back!