I spent the night with a group of friends … we took advantage of the happy hour and a few (extremely watered-down) cocktails later, I was brave and forthcoming and opened myself up to questions I may not have been entirely ready to answer. But nevertheless, the wine flowed, as did the words from my mouth and I felt safe. Protected in a blanket of honesty. Speaking the truth certainly does wonders for the soul, and possibly the skin, because I came home feeling and looking somewhat radiant. Also, that is not the point.
While sitting with my friends, an old one walked in. Now this particular ex-friend was once the person I would consider such an integral part of my life that I could not see an end to what was, now with hindsight and experience, a very deep and toxic friendship. In she breezed, that huge, brilliant smile on her face – the smile that I for years wondered at what it truly hid. Yes, there was something quite enigmatic and dazzling about that smile. It distracted you long enough to forget to ask the real questions. The ones she probably did not know the answer to or dared not reckon with. Probably the latter. Anyway, this particular friend and I, had now for the second time, gone through a long drawn-out dissolution of our very intense friendship. One that I for a long-time felt was incredibly one-sided. So wrapped up in everything “her”, I played the friend wanting more friendship from her, with very little luck and so, like I had done many, many years prior, I simply got up and walked out and away from it, and her. Done.
And her, in her vapid innocence, had tried to get me to wander back. But, the thing she seemed to have forgotten is how I am not so easily swayed once so deeply hurt. Or betrayed. Or whatever heady combination of the two she had inflicted upon me this time. Anyway, so there she was, with that smile of hers, the smile that she seemed to paste on her face as if to desperately will positivity to surround her. Maybe it works in other situations… but she also forgets that we are similarly stubborn. Hers is dogged persistence. Mine is steely determination. Either way, it doesn’t go well together.
This encounter got me thinking about friendships… those I’ve lost, and those I still have. New ones which have emerged over the past couple of years – the kind that you know will last forever and those ones that serve its purpose and reach its expiry date and then we carry on with our lives. And it can be a pretty tragic thing, though, because in that time, one cannot see a valid reason for this existence not always just being. In its simplicity. Just being. Alas, it was not the case for this particular friend and I. I feel as though I should feel a sense of great loss as one does when we lose that which we love… but I don’t. I feel a bit of relief. I feel a bit of anger, sometimes. But, mostly, I feel awed that nothing has changed for her, about her. We grow, and many things shift for us. We learn. We realise mistakes we’ve made. Her, not so much. I bet if she reads this, she’ll only remember what I said about her smile.