Or rather, the moment I realized we weren’t who we wanted each other to be.
I’ve been thinking about you a lot recently. This is something I’d previously be ashamed about because I know you don’t like knowing that I think about you. But I’m not (too) ashamed. I do think about you sometimes.
I think I’ve been thinking about you recently because “breakups” are never really a clean break. The thoughts aren’t nostalgic, as they once were. They’re more like ambivalent memories. Stephanie leaves soon and I find myself wishing for more black friends so maybe the friendship thing just brings you to my mind. Or maybe not. Maybe I’m just remembering things because remembering is a part of life. I’m allowed to feel.
I’m remembering why things didn’t quite work out. Mostly from my perspective, because that’s the only one I have. I’m remembering wanting (maybe expecting?) more from you and being confused and disappointed when you couldn’t (wouldn’t?) give me that. I’m remembering time spent trying to understand the disconnect – talking and writing and talking again. I’m remembering the moments I gave up, deciding not to try anymore then switching to passive aggression then giving up on that then getting upset when the same dissatisfaction ensued. I’m remembering the trivia.
You probably don’t remember the trivia (though if you do that may prove the theory right). We were “roadtripping” around North Jersey, scouting apartments for our friend, and you found the box in the car. You proceeded to ask me questions about Africa, a continent I know almost nothing about except that my ancestors must’ve had crappy lives there because they were unfortunate enough to be sold into slavery by their African brothers and sisters.
Africa, a place as foreign to me as any other, yet fairly well-known by you. The same Africa you had contemplated revisiting. The same Africa I had no interest in seeing.
I didn’t know most of the answers to the trivia questions and that bothered me. Not because I thought I should, but because I thought YOU thought I should. Because you wanted me to be the kind of person who knew answers to Africa trivia. Because you wanted me to be not me.
But you weren’t alone. Because a few months later, I realized I wanted you to be not you. You asked if, after I got married, I might look back on our relationship and be disappointed that my relationship with my husband wasn’t quite like my relationship with you. I said no, because my relationship with you hadn’t been positive for a while and that would negatively affect my memory of it. But the real answer is “no, because you asked that question.” Because you didn’t get that it wasn’t about comparison or romanticism or a weird situation where I’d always want my future husband to be like my college best friend. Because you couldn’t help but be you and I couldn’t help but be just the slightest bit uninterested in befriending that person.
I sometimes wonder what good came of our friendship, but I know that’s a shortsighted perspective. I’m sure there were lots of good things. Other times I wonder how and why we chose each other to be the ultimate bearers of our disappointment. I have other friends, none of whom I place unrealistic expectations on, so what happened with you? I don’t know the answer to that and right now I don’t much care. To be honest, I don’t think I’d do things much differently.
Let me end with this: I’m sorry if you’re reading this. I assume you’re not because the chances are small but if you somehow are, sorry. I know you don’t like to be thought of, least of all by me. While on the topic, let me also say that I’m not actually that sorry. Because this was way more for me than it was for you. And losing your best friend is a big enough deal that it’s worth writing about more than once. I’m not sorry for having been emotionally invested in our friendship, though there are times I wish the investment had been smaller, less risky.
Sheila texted me about getting takeout and not responding to guys on a dating app. Steph texted about going to a rooftop bar and saying goodbye (again). They remind me how much I love my friends and how happy I am to be here, right now. I don’t say this to make you feel jealous or something dumb (you never seemed to be the jealous type). I say it because I’m always struck by the human capacity to span emotional continents. I’m thinking about you but I’m not, at least not fully. It’s odd but I guess it’s how life goes. Time ticks away, memories fade, and only the present seems important.
Or maybe I should just give up on philosophy.
Anyway, if you are reading this: don’t you have something better to do than read my blog?! Between all the obsessive posts about Adele and Tina Fey you’re probably losing so many brain cells. Go study or something. Learn a book. And good luck down there. Though you probably won’t need it.