I’m a fairly solitary person. If you’ve met me, or if you’ve been reading along for awhile, you probably know that about me, already. I don’t trust easily. I abhor dishonesty. And while I understand intellectually that “little white lies” form the foundation of human relationships, it’s not a foundation I’ve ever felt comfortable standing on. Which is ironic, considering how much fiction I write for fun. I mean, I’m probably a world class liar, when you think about it. I’ve had hundreds of thousands of words of practice intentionally opposing “fact” in text.
The upshot is that I don’t let a lot of people into my life. I’ve never been much of a social butterfly. Crowds are not my thing. Neither are clothes, hair, make-up, or the vast majority of pop culture. Fleeting adolescent and early adult attempts at social conformity were catastrophic at worst and excruciating at best. I’m a lot better at just being me. Especially now that I’m old enough to present myself as-is, and without apology. It’s not that I don’t worry, ever, about what people think of me. I’ll probably always do that. I just don’t feel obligated to change myself to suit them. And it’s not that I don’t cherish my friends. I do! So much! I just don’t count them by the dozens, you know? Never have.
Anyway, several months ago, one of the few people I let into my life disappeared. Not via death, illness or alien abduction. Nothing like that. A brief phone message was left. A return call was ignored. And then another. The digital Christmas card bounced back. The Facebook account deactivated. Stuff like that. Little things. Barely noticeable, on their own. But cumulatively, they amount to a closed door. And when it occurs without explanation, at the end of a decades-long friendship and during a major family crisis…. Well, it feels like an act of dishonesty. A lie by omission: You’re not who I thought you were.
My husband has been down with a respiratory virus all week. My kids have the sniffles and my house is in chaos. There are drifts of books on all elevated surfaces and crumbs on all surfaces below. It’s grey outside again. Snowing. I have three days to make interesting – in 1200 words or less – an incredibly dry topic for school. And one day to submit final edits on my fiction short for the journal. On top of the regular week-end to-do’s, and my kids’ social calendars, gifts to buy, items to return, goods to restock and life to keep living. So much swirling around in my head, I don’t have time to think about what could have been, or where I might have misunderstood.
The door has been closed for about a year. I think I’ve knocked three times, in that while. It’s enough.
Good bye, old friend.