Because We Used To Be Friends

I’ve tried really hard to hate you. And then I tried to just be apathetic, because that, they tell me, is the healthy response. But I can’t manage to authentically feel either of those things for you, at least not for long.

Because we used to be friends.

We weren’t acquaintances.  We weren’t casual friends that had a good time together if we happened to show up to the same party.  I didn’t tolerate you; I loved you.  I made wishes for your good fortune, because your happiness became something I genuinely longed to see.

And then, suddenly, we weren’t friends anymore.

And just like that, I was expected to believe that nothing I knew about you was true.  We didn’t just drift apart – we exploded.  And I was supposed to rewrite our history together, because certainly that couldn’t exist in the same world as this.  There’s  no logical way to reconcile those two realities.

I know that people can live their lives as someone else for a while.  Oh God, do I get that.  But your someone else?  Your apparent break from reality?  She was my friend.

We laughed together.  We laughed until someone snorted or peed or cried, and then we laughed harder.  We reveled in the sheer joy of being able to snort or pee or cry in front of someone.

We cried, too.  Because, of course, it’s nearly impossible for two people to be friends for long without somebody crying.  We wiped each other’s tears, or sat silently beside one another until there were no more tears to cry.  We shared secrets, secrets that went beyond the superficial he said/she said/I did/I know.  We divulged the truly dangerous stuff about what we feared and regretted and hoped for and dreamed of and wanted to be when we grew up.  I split myself open in front of you, and it made perfect sense at the time to do so.

Because we used to be friends.

The day we stopped being friends, my family and I stood in front of our memories of you.  We asked one another if we should erase your photos from our walls and sweep your footprints from our lives.  We were torn.  On one hand it seemed that scrubbing you from our lives would be the logical thing to do.  On the other, it was flagrantly dishonest to pretend those memories hadn’t been made.  And so we let your picture hang until the day it fell off the wall all on its own.  The frame shattered, and I found myself surprised by a wave of sadness.

Because we used to be friends.

I’ve seen people move on from friendships.  I’ve heard the rewriting of history as the same old stories are suddenly retold from a new, more angry perspective.  I know that it’s natural to become hyper aware of a person’s faults as resentment and time puts distance between you.  I know.  I’ve done it.  And part of me wants so damn badly to do it with you, because then all of this wouldn’t still hurt.

I have no problem feeling apathy for the face you show now.  That girl is a stranger to me, with no memories to cling to.  I don’t miss that girl anymore than I miss a woman I might pass on the street during a morning run.  But there is another girl, a girl I’m told was a figment of my imagination.  A girl I laughed with and cried with and shared deep, dark secrets with.  And that girl I can neither hate nor be apathetic towards.  That girl, I’m ashamed to admit, I mourn.

Because we used to be friends.

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