Today, when taking the short trek from work to go home I ran into a friend, or at least someone who I thought was a friend.
You see, this friend was someone I had actually met through the greek life on campus. At our first social between her sorority and my fraternity we hit it off pretty well. I will admit, that I indeed wanted to take her home upon first encounter but we never got that far to make an exciting conversation good enough to insight sexual tension. Time passed and I was now a sophomore taking a difficult class with the same girl as my classmate. We were simply friends and I had accepted the fact that I was probably never going to get into her pants especially since she now had a boyfriend. Yes, I was “friendzoned”. This was no matter though. Our friendship meant something more to me than just some potential hookup. Then, towards the end of that class, her boyfriend broke up with her. Constantly, I would see her making posts about being a strong woman and being tough when life gives you lemons-kind of posts. Normally I am skeptical and at times even cynical when I find posts like that- the kind where there’s a beautiful sunset in the background that says some inspiring quote like, “The best kind of women are the ones who stay true to themselves and don’t fall apart in the worst situations. #strongwoman #independent #passion #hashtag, etc.” Sorry, they’re really dumb posts… But I get it. If you’re depressed or are feeling very sentimental in that moment, or are going through something “dramatic” (compared to world problems – psshh) post away if it makes you feel better.
I reached out to her as soon as I found out about the break up saying that we should grab coffee to go sort things out. Maybe I could use my past experience to help her realize that she isn’t alone. Maybe I could cheer her up and show her a good time. Maybe we could go back to my place, cuddle up on my bed and watch Netflix in the dark. Maybe when all that is going on there would be a moment where I look at her and she looks at me-our eyes lock, the world stops moving, the lighting from my laptop shines against her gleaming skin on her high cheek bones. She bites her cutely shaped lips. I move in. She slightly turns her head. I slightly push my lips forward. She opens her mouth. My hand caresses her neck. FOCUS CHAZ! Okay, so yes I still thought of her sexually and okay- yes, I thought if there was a chance NOW, in her vulnerable state, would be my chance but my intentions were still pure. I still wanted to see my friend happy. I still wanted to help the situation. Regardless the doors wouldn’t open. At first she would respond to me. We had conversations over texting and facebook messaging where I tried to consul her through the digital world. These conversations would end halfway, though, as she would sometimes not answer a certain question leaving me to start an entirely new conversation when I was online and thought of her again. Normally, the question that would the statement that would end the conversation would be, “Hey, so I thought, since you were upset, I could take you out to grab coffee sometime and we could have a good time. Sound good?” No answer. The cycle continued for a little until one day she stopped responding all together. I tried texting and facebooking her but I never got a response. I go to snapchat where I see her story to find her at concerts sometimes, or at work. I get it, she was busy. On those off days, though, I would see her at home smoking weed out of bongs with her friends and roommates.
Now was my chance, I thought, so I texted her and messaged her only to get no response… again. What? You can’t take your hand off the lighter, look at your phone and respond? What? When you see an unanswered message you don’t even have time to look at it? There was no excuse, in my opinion. Frustrated I went back to her story to see that she was still smoking weed out of the bong only this time her most updated snap was a close up selfie. It had now been 2 weeks since her break up and there she was hitting the pipe. She lit the bowl with her gas station lighter and milked the pipe until the whole pipe was milky white like clouds trapped in God’s glass cup. She released the bowl from the stem and sucked in the steamy THC as it filled her lungs and entered into her body’s nervous system. Suddenly her muscles loosened and her shoulder’s sagged. Her eyes lit up red like Rudolph’s big red nose. She exhales the smoke and suddenly 2 weeks of denial and teenage instinct fog up the lens of her phone to the point where it feels like I’m a pilot flying in overcast weather. This agitates me. I quit.
Well not exactly… I more forgot about her. I figured She’s hurt and needs her time to do stupid things, so let her. She doesn’t owe you anything. So I did. 8 months go by with no contact. This didn’t phase me in any sort of way. I got busy. Life continued as usual. Eight drama-less months went by and I was totally fine. Now it is today and I’m walking out of my new job that on the fourth day went smoother than the other 3 combined. I was proud and happy. A new job with a bright future. The opportunities are endless. Walking past the coffee shop a familiar face comes out of it. To my surprise I see a skinnier and somehow taller old friend than the one before. Dressed in worker’s clothes she runs right past me.
“Oh hey!” I exclaim.
She runs right past me with two coffees in her hand, regards me with a quick and phony smile and jumps in a black pick up truck with some other boy and drives away. What? You couldn’t even say hi? Cat got your tongue? Was I jealous? I don’t think so. Was I mad? Could have been but I’m passed that. It was then that I realized where we stood. We stood in a place where I no longer have the patience to wait for people.
Remember that skepticism and cynicism that I mentioned earlier? I gained it from the summer after my first year of college. When I graduated, I found myself surrounded by a family of 100 or more people who called myself their best friend. Whether it was theater friends or family friends or even in cases acquaintance-like friends, I knew I was immersed in a place where I could be safe and free and ultimately be accepted for who I was. No matter what anybody could say, it was love. Love… such a deceiving word. The problem with theater kids and many students of that high school (probably many schools beyond mine but still) is that they use the L word a lot both during and off productions. Love is said like the word the practically. It seemed beautiful but now thinking about it it makes me sick to my stomach to know that such a pure word was whored off the way sluts at parties sleep around. It seduces you, brings you in, infects you with something to remember until you realize it wasn’t the amazing sex that was rememberable- It was the herpes. Beyond my actual family, I haven’t said the word love in years. This is why- When I came back from college and spent the summer back I hit up everybody – old friends and acquaintances alike – and found that the ones that I actually got to sit down with had somehow lost their spark. Everyone lost their spark including me at times. Granted we were all changing but somehow things felt more one sided than I remembered it being. People didn’t put in effort anymore to sustain friendships. People treated graduation as a time to break free from social pressures – the same social pressures that set me free ironically – and dispersed for their own good. But for me, it took the reverse effect. Somehow it trapped me in my own mind as I began to over think every little move made by anybody. I began to realize that I was only holding them back and that by me physically being around them, I had created a nostalgic atmosphere that wasn’t welcomed. They were in the now. No one was willing to live in then. Then was a place people were trapped and faceless. I hadn’t realized what I was doing. Suddenly good memories became bad. Suddenly everything that seemed bright became clouded with inner turmoil. I couldn’t breath during this time. I began to feel what they felt. It was then I learned how to say goodbye – not the way that most say goodbye – but the way that you say it when the person you’re saying it to isn’t aware of it. It’s painless. It’s easy. It’s what one must do to survive especially when you feel like you’re the odd one out in a world that is moving in a direction opposite to yours.
So let this be the landmark of the goodbye you aren’t aware of, old friend. I wish you well in your ambitious-less life filled with computerized talentless concerts, drugged up raves, THC enhanced lax nights and depressing regretful thoughts that creep up in your dreams. I hope one day you will wipe away the fog on your glasses and see more clearly. Oh, please don’t fight my goodbye. You would’ve done the same. This is so I can breath. Thank you.