This is my best friend, Harry. He is awesome! We are inseparable, it was love at first sight & he is my “companion animal”. Harry is unfailingly present, loves without condition, is without judgement, listens to me whether I’m complaining or recounting some good news..yes, we have long conversations. He doesn’t care what I look like and is always happy to see me. It’s hard for we humans to live up to that kind of Buddha-nature. I know I don’t and I’ve been terribly disappointed when other people fail as well.
Many of the good people who lived around me when I first moved into this area and found my world crumbling have since moved on. That’s okay…it’s what we do. They were more than just neighbors. They were friends. Self-appointed, at first; guardians in my grief; entertainment when I needed a laugh and social directors when I cloistered myself. Over the years, it became give and take and we shared holidays and special occasions, laughter and tears, life’s trauma and drama and all the other things that go into friendship….and professed our love and bonds with each other. To me, that means something and I assume it does to others. So, where did that all go when each moved as close as shouting distance or as far as a 3 hour drive? I’m still here, but they’ve all but vanished from my life. Yes, I’m hurt.
One who lives nearby comes around at what seem moments of opportunity or crisis. Visits usually finished with promises of a girls’ night out or some other activity that we once enjoyed. They never come to fruition. Much in the same way, my friend who retired and moved farthest…to a dream place for me…spent years begging me to join her on her pre-retirement weekend jaunts. I eventually did and loved every moment. It is a wonderful place! When she left for good upon retiring, it was with many heartfelt words to me, I cried and she made me promise to use the open invitation she had extended. She even broke down and got a pc to keep in touch with her friends here. I’ve received exactly one email in 4 months and saw her on one occasion when she had an appointment in town and dropped by the apartment to see her son, who still lives here. We had an all-too-rushed visit, loaded some things into her car, I cried again and she drove off. I, of course, agreed that I would come to see her soon and she assured me that her door was always open. Not an email or call since. I did call her last month on a whim, asking if I could drop in for a couple of days. She agreed that I could take the bus out…4+ hours…spend the night and return home the next day! Now, why would I spend 8 hours total riding a bus, to spend maybe 6 hours total visiting and the rest sleeping? I wouldn’t and I didn’t. To say I felt out off would be an understatement.
So, what’s the answer? I don’t know. I find myself caught between being reluctant to open up to new friendships and finding new friendships…albeit, online…that seem more meaningful than the ones I spent years living with daily. As in love, so it is in my friendships: I try to give of myself, be present, drop what I’m doing if needed, work at overcoming my fear of not being as good as those around me. I am left to suppose, that as it says in the little picture on the left, just take another shot. The world is full of amazing people who do have the capacity to be good and honest friends, to not feel obligated to pretend or speak in empty platitudes, wo can even enjoy each other’s silences. My dearest and truest friends have either passed away or are geographically out of daily reach. I find myself lonely for the company of those with whom I can share…good talk, new books, something newly discovered,maybe a little gossip and always a laugh or two. That’s when I realize that I have limited in common with those in whom I feel such disappointment. With one, it is books & the sea; with another, it is hip-hop and being rowdy girls. Overall, not well-rounded and deep relationships that will span decades….hell, they’ve faded as the saying goes: “out of sight, out of mind”. Yet, I cared and do care enough about these people to feel pained by their actions..or lack of.
Again, I ask myself why I should be so disappointed. The answer remains the same: I don’t exactly know. I guess I believed these people worked hard to open me up, to bring me back into the world, to be my friends even when I was not particularly loveable. So getting dropped on one’s ass, as it were, makes it all seem so senseless. For all of my attitude, for all of my armadillo-like exterior, I am still that shy little girl who never wanted to be noticed, lived through a fair share of bullying and didn’t believe anyone would really like me if they got to know me.
Life doesn’t come with a handbook, so we’re all just winging it…some better than others.My dog hasn’t run away, my cat still loves me & my fiance has the patience of Job, so I must be doing something right. I know I have qualities to bring to the table and, at my age, I can’t believe I’m still trying to figure out how to meet new playmates! We grow, the scenery changes, but it’s still the schoolyard and many are still finding their niche.