Dear Ex-Fellow Collegiate,
We’ve known one another for ten years now and been friends – to use the term loosely – for eight of those years and it is time to end it. A conversation we had Thursday – four months since we last spoke – put the nail in the coffin for me.
Let me explain: part of the reason we hadn’t spoke in four months is that some time ago I removed you from my IM “Buddy list” since it had become entirely too annoying: the temptation to click on your alias and try to initiate a real conversation. I would inevitably be disappointed by your superficiality, get conflicting messages on what exactly my friendship means to you (this, at least, has been consistent for eight years), or be subjected to confusing details of your dysfunctional relationship of the last five years and asked to weigh in on the meanings therein. In fact, this latter aspect was the entire breadth of our conversation a couple days ago, without so much of a “How’s your husband and kids / What have you been up to lately?” throw-away line (you did dispense with a quick “what’s new?” before you launched into your own melodrama). I don’t want to disparage your struggles right now – I meant it when I said I had compassion for what you were going through. It’s just that the one-sidedness of our conversations has been there for years now, whether you were going through a personal crisis or not.
The fact is, I have cared for you over the years and gotten zero evidence that it goes the other way. Maybe the biggest irritation of all is not only do you not ever, ever ask how I’m doing and really listen – and you haven’t visited me and my family once since I’ve lived here – and the one time we were supposed to get together in Portland you ditched me – No, the biggest irritation is that in the four years I’ve been a parent you have not once spoken or typed either of my children’s names. Now, I don’t expect anyone who’s not myself, my husband, or my mother to give a goddamn about when my kids have a birthday party or potty train or any of that. I don’t force my snot-nosed brats on anyone except those who willingly visit this site – but in the last four years I would have liked some acknowledgment that they are important to me and they are what I do these days. Especially since I’ve shown nothing but polite – and genuine, as often as possible – interest in your acquisition of new four-or-two-wheeled toys, “high-school girl parties”, and creepy phone pictures of unwitting co-eds on the USC campus (the most recent communique before Thursday).
Since this is a send-off of sorts, I just want to say that the affection I held you in lasted a long time, considering the lame-duck friendship we have had. I had a lot of great times with you back in school (times that make me sweetly sad to think of, now) and we share the same sense of humor – if have virtually nothing else in common. In the first years after school I wrote you regularly and really cared (and prayed) about your major work-related injury and your relationships with women, if I didn’t always understand them. I have also always had the tiniest crush on you – one that was never consummated in any way, and wouldn’t have worked out in any capacity – a small amount of sexual attraction that can and did go a long way in my enjoyment of you. I guess I stuck around all this time because I have only picked up a small handful of friends in the ten years since high school, and I tend to care about them as much as they let me. But there is a point to cut someone loose, whether they know it or not, and even if it doesn’t change my life – lived, for so long now, with no real intimacy shared between us – for better or worse.
Obviously, you aren’t meant to see this letter; I would be surprised if you were keeping up with me at all. If you do read this I want to apologize for any hurt, surprise, or anger you may feel. If you feel I am being unfair (as you surely would feel, if you saw this), please re-read Paragraph #2 and #3. Otherwise, let’s not make a scene over this and move on with our lives.