Sunday, March 18, 2018

Worried. Relieved. Guilty.

I haven't heard anything detailed from my oldest friend in weeks. This is the longest we've gone without keeping in touch in, literally, decades. This worries me because she has been battling health and severe depression. She has no income, and she was wrestling with California's welfare system so that she can get the pharmaceuticals and medical attention she needs.

Her recent emails were always chatting, superficial affairs. Mostly they were about how long it was taking her to unpack. I never understood this. She began the new year moving in with her cousin, into the attached "mother-in-law's" apartment. As I understand it, she has her own kitchen/dining room, bedroom and bathroom. My first place was a two-room apartment. I can't for the life of me figure why such a place would take two months to move into. A weekend, of course. A week, perhaps. But two months?

She said she was online all day looking for jobs. And getting rejections, which was breaking her heart. Then all of a sudden, I got a text that said their internet is out. That was March 7. I haven't heard from her since.

I know she doesn't like to talk on the phone anymore. At least not to me. I've heard her, in her own words, "blab away" with her kids and her cousin, but whenever I call, she doesn't pick up. So I don't bother to call anymore. So it's been radio silence since March 7.
On the one hand, I'm worried. She doesn't have resources for handling adversity. She copes by staying in bed. Getting up to eat and smoke*, but not to bathe. I'm afraid that the months she went without meds or a shrink have only exacerbated her depression. Then there are her other physical problems -- bad teeth, bad knee, incontinence. Pre-diabetes and ongoing heart trouble. She should be moving a little every day. It disturbs me to contemplate what she's doing to her health.

But then, I'm relieved. She loves her cousin so. She's always idolized this woman. In fact, it was one of my late mother's most vivid memories of my friend: When we were kids, my friend came over with some dimestore trinket anyone could have purchased anywhere in the country. But my mom remembers my friend saying, with a heartbreaking mix of pride and awe, "This is from my cousin. In California."  Now she's living with that cousin. If anyone can get through to my friend, it's her golden cousin.

And I feel guilty. I just saw a picture of my friend on Facebook, celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a Trump-loving friend of Cousin's. Seriously, here's what else is on their hostess' page.

I mean, really! How does this shit help anything?

ANYWAY, clearly their internet is back up, or Cousin couldn't have posted the photo of the St. Patrick's Day soiree. But I don't feel like reaching out. I'm not liking my own life right now, and I don't want to be weighed down by my friend's. Isn't that awful of me? We've been friends since Kindergarten. I know I should reach out.

But not tonight. I don't have to do it tonight, do I? I know she's surrounded by her cousin and her cousin's family and friends. If she wanted to talk to me, she could email or pick up the phone. All the work shouldn't be mine, should it?

OK, with her health issues, the heavy lifting has to be done by me. But I don't feel like it tonight. And, in my own defense, I sent her a little newspaper article via USPS last Wednesday, so she knows I've been thinking of her.

I love her, I do. I understand and accept that, for the foreseeable future, our relationship is going to be one sided. But I think tonight, I'm going to input my 3/15 finances into Quicken and wash my kitchen floor.

*Or vape, which she insists is "just steam," no matter how many articles to the contrary I send her.