Strange how you go through life, all happy and content. At age 2 you meet someone just like you… only different. Then she morphs into someone else and you forget all about your previous kindred spirit while playing with your new one. And on it goes until you find yourself in your forties and realize the friends you’ve gathered along the way stopped playing with you… or you stopped playing with them, but you couldn’t say why.
Sometimes you change away from their beliefs/actions… and sometimes they do. But I think you both walk away, one step at a time.
One friend was a partier. She knew all the right bars, all the fancy tricks to keep from having a hang-over the next day (I am very skeptical any trick ever really works, but I never had one while staying at her house… then again, I don’t drink much to begin with – that you know). She now is content working in a garden, singing in the church choir and preaching the word of God. Who is this woman I grew up with? (Not that there’s anything wrong with those things – just a far cry from the person I knew not very long ago.)
One friend became a Secular Progressive (…or maybe he always was one, but I just didn’t know it…) and lost his sense of humor… “Don’t even joke about that!” I find it hard conversing with him now, as one of the side effects of being overtly-political is the added conviction anyone who believes differently than you is a moron… or how did ‘Munchhausen’s-by-email-address-disorder’ (allergymom) put it? “Ignorant Woman” (that would be me). I don’t mind being thought of as ignorant… just please don’t say I’m not funny.
One friend is ultra religious, so when I found myself leaving an adulterous husband, she couldn’t bring herself to understand… for I gave my vows to God and swore to let no man put asunder… (Oh, yeah? Well he broke his vows first: Forsaking all others? Give only unto me? Hear those lines before anywhere? Nee-ner!) Anyway, she has yet to forgive me completely for dishonoring her version of God. We trade Christmas cards. That’s about it.
One friend just recently stopped emailing, stopped responding… I have no idea why. I don’t know if I’ll ever find out. My emails go unanswered.
Don’t get me wrong. I still consider all of these people my good friends. If they ever needed anything, I would be right there for them. They are and always have been kindred spirits.
Some you lose track of. Others… the ties that bind begin to chafe and gag.
My cousin and I were pretty good friends, at least I thought so. We lived in different states growing up, so we didn’t really know each other or hang out until recently. Then stuff happened and she showed her true side. I’ve always said you never truly know someone until you divorce them… and that’s how I found out how deceitful and mean-spirited she is. Like I tell my kids – just because she (he, they) said it, doesn’t mean it’s true. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee – if my cousin said it, it’s more than likely a lie. Some people you’re just better off without in your life.
My ex-sister-in-law (who shared my pain and was a constant in my life) actually thought she had to ‘choose sides’– if there ever was such a thing – after my divorce and chose her husband’s brother. (Funny thing is, she was my friend first and I introduced her to the family). I don’t blame her, really. She has to live/deal with them. Poor thing. And my ex is just like my cousin – they both confabulate like pros.
The last time I spoke to my ex-sis-in-law, she said: “It’s the nature of the beast.”
Well, I’m no beast.
…at least not after I’ve had my coffee.
In Joy & Enjoy