A friendship should go both ways
We met in high school, clad in our plaid uniforms and looking for some company. Our task was simple: go to another library for some research because our own school’s bookshelves did little to help us with our paper. And as they say, the rest was history.
You can blame our friendship on proximity or sheer convenience, but we were pretty much inseparable. She went to more parties than I did, but we got ready together whenever my parents gave me the green light. I introduced her to my group that she would eventually call her own. And when college split everyone else up, we agreed to see each other on mutual breaks and matching yosi sessions. Her friends were my friends and vice versa.
It was good and then it wasn’t. We were fine until we weren’t.
Eventually, we went months without any real conversation—that’s what happens when each of you falls in love and finds someone else to confide in. But still, we saw each other constantly and enjoyed each other’s company. That’s how it works when you date boys who are friends, too.
She stuck with her significant other; I eventually found others. And when the day of heartbreak finally came, I reached out as naturally as anyone else would have. Not so surprisingly, she knew the girl whose name littered my screenshots but she was on my side. Where else would she be?
I pushed and confronted him, I drank and cried and then I was single. She saw it happen; I don’t remember sitting on her lap as the tears came. Days of no contact later, I asked her to dinner—a little last minute, I must admit. Still, I was in a bit of a shock when she said she had plans with the Cheater. They were friends, too.
She was there and then she wasn’t. She never checked in and I was fine.
For a good while, it felt like she went her way and I went mine. We saw each other consistently, still, but it wasn’t the same. Conversation flowed easier with the others around the table; I heard of her troubles through them and she probably never heard of mine.
Then she dropped a bomb that signaled her own heartbreak and I tried to be there. But my check ins remained read, my questions thrown over her shoulder. Maybe she didn’t have the answers either. It was weeks of her dodging my help and ignoring my messages.
I tried but she seemed fine. I tried more; she held her own.
But then I heard a little story about how she didn’t have any friends. Why wasn’t anyone going out with her, asking if she was okay, seeing her? Excuse me for being a little insulted at the thought; I believed I had done my part and she looked the other way. I replied to every message, offered help whenever she asked (and correspondingly refused).
Maybe she was looking for a friend that wasn’t me.
It’s been argued to me that maybe I should have pushed more, should have showed up more, should have been there more. But in my head, I tried and I did my dues; she was unresponsive—and in the few times she was, I was there.
I never felt guilty and I logically never thought I should have felt so. The truth is I lost her a long time ago—to boyfriends, to colleagues, to work and even distance. So I just thought: Isn’t it time she loses me?
Art Alexandra Lara