Sunday, May 22, 2011

A visit from the ghost of Colleen

I will be the first to admit that I am not good with friendship drama.

And Colleen has just been - well, she's essentially been missing from my life since the end of February.

I - as I tend to do - wrote it out and came to the conclusion that I needed to let her make her own mistakes and figure out her messy, messy life when she was ready to do so. I wanted to shake her. I wanted to guide her. I wanted to fix her. But I promised myself (and Lucy) that I would continue to be her friend while resisting the urge to meddle in her life.

But then she completely disappeared.

Lucy and I invited her along for a while: to the dog park or to see a movie or to dinner or to our favorite so-weird-it-is-awesome dance club. At some point, we stopped asking because we knew the answer. Always no. Always electing to stay at home with her boyfriend, doing whatever it is that a couple would do when both parties are unemployed and one has extreme social anxiety. Get high on a regular basis and eat junky food? I'm not really sure because Colleen fell off of the face of the earth. No appearances. No calls. No emails. No Facebook posts. Absolutely nothing. She was gone.

At one point, Lucy deleted Colleen's number from her phone. "If I have it in here, I will feel obligated to call and check on her." Lucy and Colleen have been friends since elementary school. "I just can't do it."

I didn't feel that same tug. Maybe it was selfish, but I didn't want to call to make sure that she was alive and listen to her problems. I wanted to have dinner with her. I wanted to sit in Lucy's living room and drink wine and retell all of our favorite stories. I wanted a friend, not a charge.

But I got nothing. Nothing until an email that I received when my plane landed in Detroit on Tuesday evening.

First and foremost, I would like to apologize for being a shitty friend. I've missed some big events in your life lately and I feel terrible that I wasn't there to congratulate and support you along the way. I wish I had a good reason for my disappearance, but I don't... All I can do is apologize for being self-absorbed and hope that my apology isn't too late. I really miss you. When you have some free-time, please give me a call. I would love to hear about your new job and your trip, and anything else that I have missed.

Love, Colleen

The email was not unexpected. She had emailed Lucy a week or so before. And - though I didn't know it at the time - they had met for coffee the weekend that I was in Milan.

I read the email from Colleen as I was disembarking the plane. I wanted to be mad, but I couldn't. I wanted to be sad, but I couldn't. I wanted the desire to email her back immediately, but I didn't have it.

I sat on the email for a few days. Eventually, I sent her back a very generic "good to hear from you. Give me a call when you want to catch up" email.

She hasn't called. She hasn't emailed. I'm not surprised. Just disappointed. Which is absolutely no different than how I've felt towards her for the past three months.

I'm tempted to just write her off. But I keep returning to the days and the weeks after my dad's cheating scandal broke, when Colleen and Lucy held me up, and I know that I'm not quite ready to give up on her yet.

And I really, really hope that she decides to be a friend again before I decide that I can no longer be hers.


k said...

I think that your response to her was perfect. As long as she hasn't done anything intentionally to hurt you, you don't have to go out of your way to be her friend, but that doesn't mean you won't be there when she comes back or if she needs you.

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