Tonight I finished reading The Myth of You and Me by Leah Stewart. It is the story of two best friends who end up not speaking for eight years. The book was really good, and it reminded me of my best friend from college. I know that I have mentioned her before, but I don't think I have really written about her.
She was the person I was closest to for four years. We went through everything together. She knew almost everything that happened to me during those four years, down to the most boring detail. I knew about all her classes and professors, her crushes, her random acquaintances. We weren't inseparable, but we were together a lot. We had so many inside jokes and stories that no one else shares or really understands.
I saw the way she treated her best friend from high school. I could tell that my friend still really loved her high school best friend, but she was not good about returning phone calls or e-mail. There were a lot of things that she kept hidden from her high school best friend because she told me she felt like the high school best friend had a certain image of her that she had to keep intact.
When I was moving out of our apartment on the last day of July after our senior year of college, my friend reminded me that she wasn't good at keeping in touch with people. "You're going to have to be the one who always calls and keeps in touch," she said. I was ok with that.
I went to law school, and she did a one-year volunteer gig on the East Coast. I called every once in a while, and she wrote me a couple of letters, and it was fine. During my second year of law school, she got harder and harder to reach. During the fall semester, I called her every week for ten weeks and left a message, and she didn't return my call until New Years Day. She called on a cell phone, and we talked for maybe five minutes before she had to go. I didn't try very hard to keep in touch after that. I called her about a week after I got engaged and left a message with the news, mostly because I felt like I should call her, not because I wanted to call her. She called to congratulate me, but I didn't answer the phone. A few months before the wedding, I tried to give her a call, but the phone number I had for her had been disconnected. I sent her a wedding invitation anyway (mostly because I had already sent her a save the date card announcing our engagement and the wedding date). She didn't send in her RSVP, although she did send me an e-mail a week or two before the wedding. The e-mail said that she wanted to come to the wedding, but she was going to the beach with some guy instead. I sent her a very bland thank you note for the gift she sent, as though I were writing to an aunt of H that I had never met instead of someone who had once meant so much to me. I am guessing that thank you note will be my last contact with her.
I think one of the reasons my friend and I fell out of touch was that my friend felt like she needed to "keep up her image" with me. The thing is that if she thinks I would judge her for changing or for making choices that aren't necessarily the same ones I would have made, then I am sorry that she thinks so little of me and my ability to be a good friend.
At this point, I don't want to get in touch with my friend again. If you change your phone number without telling me and don't come to my wedding because you feel like going to the beach, are we really even friends? But every once in a while, something will happen that will remind me of one of our stupid inside jokes, and it makes me sad that no one else understands what is funny about some guy nodding at me when we pass on the sidewalk.