1.a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.
synonyms: companion, soul mate, intimate, confidante, confidant, familiar, alter ego, second self, playmate, playfellow, classmate, schoolmate,workmate; MoreRetrieved from Google
I don’t attach to people easily. I am positive my shrink could tell you the specific moment in time that my ability to attach and form normal relationships ended. I would say from birth but he would disagree.
I remember when my mother first moved me into this house. I was 6 or 7 it was the summer before first grade. There was a store on the corner of our block, back in the day when mom & pop stores were more common in this neighborhood and they were operated by the neighbors.
I was sent down to get a loaf of bread. You could do that back then… send you kid to the corner store with money and not fear they would get hit by a bullet, or robbed or abducted. As I walked down to the corner I passed two other girls about my age on their steps playing together. I ran to the store and then ran back home. MOM MOM I yelled to her — I just met two new friends down the street.
She smiled at me when I asked if I could go play with them.
I was innocent enough then to not realize that children could be cruel and I assumed that those two girls would want to be my friend. I was right. That was the day I met Trina and Nikki #1 (I got the moniker Nikki #2 from that day forward).
As we aged our trio expanded to include Tammy & Peaches. We were all just girls. We were all just friends, as friendships go at that age.
By the time our teen years descended on us we moved a little into other directions. Some were more interested than boys. Some were more interested in books. I was just a little chubby misfit trying to find her way in life.
At 41 the only one left from that group is Nikki #1. She and I though are still not as close as we once were. Life took us into different directions and even though there was once a time when we would pick up the phone like no time had passed, eventually too much time did pass and we no longer knew one another like we once did. We still love one another desperately. Our connection is a little different now than it used to be.
I met Carla in my 20’s when I worked for the PPD. I’ve told the story of how I met her, but I don’t think I shared the night that we both spent in a holding cell. That is another story for another time. I know that I can call her my friend though because being in jail is a bond that never gets severed. Never.
Over my kinky years I picked up people that I have called friend only to have to reassess that proclamation over time. I once would have called Waffles my best friend, until the time came when she was no longer. I held onto the hope for a very long time that my forgiveness of her harm to me would mend what was broken. I was woefully wrong there.
This afternoon while trying to hold onto my happy place after time with my guy I realize that I have to assess friendships once more.
When someone I love hurts me I bleed. I often tie off that wound though and not explain to the party who cut me how deep it really is. I love hard, and I love completely. That love includes my friends. I forgive of them that which I do not of others. I give them passes not extended to others. Once you’ve found your way into my heart I don’t really let go, even when you are no longer a part of my life.
When faced with behavior that can be questioned of my friends I don’t hold them to the equal standard I would a stranger. I let go because my love won’t allow me to hold on. Until the damage becomes too severe to ignore and still go on.
Kind of like when my hemoglobin went down to 4. I felt it over time. I felt something was wrong. I powered through because I felt I had no other option. Until the time came when the other option was death.
Seeing the true colors of someone I loved like a brother had me take time – step back – and reassess all of my friendships. I looked at what I was giving vs what I was getting and how I managed them. I looked at what I could and should do better, and looked at what was beyond salvaging.
Still didn’t pull the trigger though. Some triggers are tighter than others. Except today I heard “that” voice coming in the message of another. I was on the phone with the guy and the girl when I read it. I realized that I am much better at concealing my tears than I used to be.
I cried as I remembered the last time something this big hit us and how I caved in and didn’t hold them to the fire. I didn’t because the bottom line is I love them. I really do. More than I’ve ever been able to convey in words or deed. But as I listened to “that” voice and heard those words that were placed there I realized that all of the other injuries to us over the years never healed. They just were bandaged so I didn’t have to look at them.
And I go back to that day where I begged and their response was cold and relentless and reminiscent of Bonnie so long ago. And I go back to that day when I asked for advice and it was the ugliest moment I have seen in that scenario. Uglier even than … well that is not important.
I cried because I knew it was time to let go. I cried because it took being in the arms of someone who loves me to know that being a friend means so much more than what I’ve been given.
And I cried because I was taken back to a conversation I had back in 2010. He knew/knows me better than anyone. I remember his words as I cried in his arms at the time. In his way he held me and told me a truth I was unwilling to accept. That I could accept that friendship on the conditions that existed, but that I would be foolish to think that it was without condition. I would be foolish to think that one day it would not be me turned on, in the same fashion.
I drove myself further into his arms then and wept until I fell asleep. He held me that entire time and when I woke he bathed me and made me tea. I apologized and he told me there was no need. He told me then that the time would come when the decision would make itself and that he would be there that day to hold me again because my pain then would be worse than it was today.
He was right about a lot of things. He was wrong about that though. He wasn’t there to hold me today. I like to think that it was his intention to be here, but the reality is that he was not. He was right about the pain though.