Neither John nor my oldest friend seems to care much that we aren't getting along. John appears content to walk with a cane, drink too much, and watch his life get smaller and smaller due to financial and mobility issues. Sure, it makes him hostile, but not uncomfortable enough to change anything. I don't like watching him, and I don't like the way he snaps at me.
My oldest friend finally answered my Thursday email ... late Sunday night. Her reasons for not getting back to me were chaotic and not wholly convincing. She's making doctor's appointments and having tests and getting her ID renewed and fighting with her bank ... Like any one of those things isn't over by 7:00 PM. I appreciate that her life is a mess right now, but think about it: How late have you ever stood in line at the DMV or the bank? What's the latest your doctor ever phoned with test results? That means her April and May evenings have been spent doing things with people she prioritizes over me.
So I get it. They are each more important to me than I am to them. This realization hurts me a great deal since they are part of my life: John and I have been friends since 1979, she and I were Kindergarten classmates in 1963.
But this death by a million cuts thing, this waiting for either of them to "come back" and be who they were once were to me, is painful, too. And so I'm doing my own re-prioritizing, reshuffling the deck, if you will, and trying to become less dependent on them.
I'm not ending these friendships. That would be too drastic and too unnecessary. After all, this isn't 5th grade. If my oldest friend ever does get around to calling me and a game isn't on,* I'll pick up and won't let it go to voicemail. And John's birthday is next month. I have his gift here and will celebrate with him.
But I'm going to consciously allow this distance between us to grow. It won't be easy, because they each hold so many of my best memories. But I'm tired of feeling like the ugly girl at closing time, hoping they'll notice me.
I will miss them. But I miss them now, too, already. Here's a quote my friend Patrick posted on Facebook. It's very wise.
From now on, I'm going to celebrate the people who value me, and not concentrate on the ones who seem to regard nurturing our friendship as something to mark off their "to-do" lists. At least I'm going to try to.
Just why the fuck did they both have pull this at the same time? Ah, life's imponderables!
*Remember, it took her three days to scratch out a one paragraph email response, so I won't feel guilty for putting Rizzo above her.