turning of tables
“So what is new?” Her enthusiastic voice hits me. I try to respond with equal enthusiasm, but I feel my voice is fake, and I close my eyes and take a deep breath. The guilt wells up. J had to convince me to call her. “I will do the dishes, you call her. Come on,” he said several times before I picked up the phone and dialed her number. She had phoned the night before, J picked it up, and when I realised who it was, I begged him to tell her I wasn’t free to talk. “She’s in the shower,” I heard him say. After putting down the phone, he looked at me, did not say anything, just looked at me.
We used to be really good friends. As with many girls before her, she entered my life at a point where I needed a friend. We had both just attended our first classes at university, when we moved into the same house. Because we were young and the first new ones the house had seen in a while, we spent a lot of time together.
During my disastrous relationship we didn’t talk much, but she was there for me when it ended and I needed her. And I was there for her at 3 in the morning when her boyfriend called me and announced that he was now the ex-boyfriend and would I pop my head over and see if she was okay. I have birthday cards and presents from her, and I have pictures of our feet in the sand. I have a box full of memories that I cherish and sometimes dive into, but it’s a closed box.
I don’t remember an exact episode that changed things, but I remember growing up and realising that even though this friendship was different, something was wrong. She did things and said things to me that she would have never accepted I did or said to her. I never said anything, because that is not the person I am, but I slowly moved away from her, inched my way out of our friendship and got to a distance where I started seeing our friendship as a time in my life which wasn’t any longer, as an encapsulated experience, as a memory.
She married and moved away. We were already apart, but this just emphasized the distance between us. She lives in a world I have never been part of and have trouble relating to. I, on the other hand, live in a world she was once a part of, a world she is often hungry for. I am sad that I am seldom able to satisfy her hunger, but mad that I am giving accounts of other people’s lives because I am the last straw she clings onto from this world.
Friendships have never come easy in my life. I think back and remember all the people I have desperately tried to remian friends with – people whose friendships I wanted, but who didn’t want mine. I remember the tears and the feeling of worthlessness and the despair. It is as if the tables have turned. It is a first for me and though I have chosen the path I am taking, somewhere inside it pains me a great deal.