We met a long time ago and became fast friends. But our friendship was tumultuous.
I did so much to be a good friend. No, a best friend. As teens, I covered for you. As adults, I listened to you.
The first time we broke up, it was over something trivial. I’m sure because I can’t remember why.
The second time we broke up, it was because I was trying to split my time between you and other friends. You replaced me quickly and made sure I knew it.
The third time we broke up, you ghosted on me. I never knew why until much later. Apparently your parents thought I was a bad influence. Did they know about the times I covered for you? Did they know about the time you lost your virginity while I sat, semi-grossed out, in the other room watching TV, respecting your choice but waiting to hear you scream and ready to get you out of there if you changed your mind? Did they know about the time that you drank a huge glass of vodka and eventually started vomiting in your sleep? Did they know that you slept with your head in my lap that night while I stayed awake, scared to death? Did they know I cleaned you up, threw your linens in the tub and prayed that you would be okay?
What I don’t think you knew is that when you ghosted on me, I was devastated. I felt like my world ended. I was 16 and the friend I loved the most acted as if I never existed. I fell into depression. It was almost as if you died. I mourned the loss of something important to me and I went through all the stages of grief. You didn’t know that one night while I couldn’t handle it, I sat in the bathtub with my father’s razor and cut my legs just so that I could have relief from the internal pain. You didn’t know about my troubles back then. How I was just starting down the road of finding out that I was mentally ill. When we got back together, I could never tell you that because I was afraid you would judge me.
I’ve listened to you, your problems, everything. For years you monopolized the conversation, but I didn’t mind. Hours on the phone of listening to you, making sure I asked about your family. Making sure you knew that I was there for you.
But you never once asked about me. My problems. What I was going through. My family. For all those years I didn’t mind. So long as I could help you through your issues, so long as I knew you would be okay, I was happy to keep my problems to myself.
It wasn’t until we were in our 30’s that I started confiding in you. I started telling you about my issues, my health. You listened, but I don’t think you tried to understand.
It was never about me. It had to be about you. It was toxic. I knew it, but why throw years of memories down the drain just because of all that?
Its because I thought I needed you.
I made plans with you, but then life happened. I had to take care of myself because my health required it. I tried so hard to make it work, but the math didn’t add up.
In my self-deprecating way, I prostrated myself before you and begged your forgiveness while telling you why I couldn’t keep those plans. I was humble, I was guilty, and I was sorry. But it wasn’t enough.
After all those years of my understanding. After all those years of listening to you as you cried, as you got angry, as you were at a loss for what to do next, you forgot all that and asked me why it was always about me. You never once took into consideration why I had to cancel those plans. You blamed me. You acted like I did this to you on purpose.
It didn’t matter that at the same time I had made plans with you, life happened. In the intervening weeks, things dropped in my lap that changed everything. I had a hospital stay I couldn’t reschedule. I had a mediation I absolutely had to attend. I had medication that I can’t cross the border with. These things didn’t matter. You were angry.
I wrote to you, trying to defend something that didn’t need defending. Leaving the ball in your court to respond. I was praying you would respond. But you didn’t. You began ghosting again. And this is the fourth time we’re breaking up. It’s also the last time.
Now I choose to end this on my terms. If so many years of friendship came down to this, then I can’t keep trying.
I will mourn. I am mourning. I barely could get out of bed yesterday. Last night I cried. This morning I was ready to sleep all day. But then I looked at my family who brought me breakfast in bed. Who wanted to celebrate me for who I am, warts and all. And I realized this is a healthy relationship. My family accepts me for who I am.
I haven’t told you and I probably never will, but this is the end of the line. I will cherish every last memory we made together. I will file them away in my heart and always think back on you fondly. I loved you and I still do. I will probably always love you. I have for nearly half my life.
So I will grieve. I will cry. I will have days where I’m reminded of you and want to fall apart. But if our friendship came down to your refusal to reciprocate when I needed you, then it’s time to recognize that the only one being altruistic is me.
I’ll miss you. I wish you well and send you off with my love.
So, I guess that’s that.