Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Faded Photographs, Faded Memories

It's a little past Lammas now, which means summer will be ending soon. The closer autumn creeps, the more reflective I become. And with all that reflection comes nostalgia. I start thinking back on my past friendships, my old hometown, and other ghosts that haunt my personal history. For the last few says, I've been mulling over an old, and possibly gone, friendship. One that dates back from my teenage years while I muddled my way through the quagmire that is called high school. I was extremely close to this young woman, but due to the ravages of time and bruised feelings, I cannot help but wonder if this friendship is over and done.

My high school friend, I'll call her "H", I met in my freshman year. We were both outcasts, neither one of us fitting in with the pre-described social structure of academics. We both took the same drama class and both worked on the same warm-up drill together. She was from Georgia, I had lived my entire life in North Carolina. We were different, yet the same. We hit it off almost immediately and began to hang out together, doing the usual teenage things like wandering the mall and passing notes to each other between classes. H and I were close, like sisters, for nearly the entire length of our high school years together. At one point, she spent nearly the whole of her sophomore year summer living with me and my family!

Then came our junior year, where I met my ex-boyfriend. Soon after, graduation, which helped to split our paths. A few years after that, other troubles began.

H elected to stay and continue living with my family for a number of years after high school. Her sister, who was her guardian, had moved to the Appalachian mountains with her second husband. H didn't want to live there (she wasn't terribly fond of her sister's new husband or his friends) and decided to stay in Coastal NC with me and mine. Things were great, for a while. Until my parents put the pressure on her to continue her schooling. She went to a community college to make them happy. Then, they wanted her and I both to get jobs. We did: I worked at a sub shop, she worked at a pizza place. Then my parents decided to breed our show-dog. She had three puppies, which turned into a major headache for the both of us.

H began making noises that she wanted to move elsewhere; the din from four extremely loud, barking dogs made life difficult, if not impossible. I agreed with her; I could barely carry on a decent conversation with H, much less talk on the phone with my high school sweetheart. Then, she bounced between two different boyfriends, found a third and moved out of my family's home shortly after meeting him. They lived together for a while before breaking up a couple of years later.

I had different troubles brewing. I, too, had begun looking for apartments and houses to rent, but my then boyfriend had no interest in moving in with anyone, much less me. When one of H's former boyfriends, with whom we were friends, mentioned that we could all rent a house together in the neighborhood where he lived, I was very excited. My boyfriend was not. He swore the quickest way to make an enemy was to move in with a friend. He may have been right, but I have no way of knowing now.

Things became more and more strained between my former boyfriend and I. We fought on an almost daily basis. I began to think that I might have been better off with someone else, though I did everything in my power to try and make the relationship work. It wasn't easy. Apparently, my ex began to feel the exact same. He flirted with one of H's co-workers when he chatted with H at her workplace. H saw and overheard everything, even my ex's half-joking "Wanna go out sometime?" comment made to the pizza cook in question. What was said next would forever color my feelings toward H.

H said he should simply dump me, without warning. She said he was "too great a guy" to even consider being with a "total bitch" like me. She even suggested that he date the same pizza cook and commented he should get her phone number!

When my ex told me what she had said, I was hurt and angry. I had been working on a long letter to her at the time, but when I heard what H had said about me, I burned it.

My ex and I broke up a few months later, after he was unfaithful with the sister of one of my other friends. Our break-up was a very painful year-long process; I tried to forgive him for what he had done and thought that perhaps we could salvage what was left of our relationship. There was nothing to salvage. Both of us were left shaken and shattered from the experience. It still haunts me, even now.

I lost touch with my ex and H until about three years ago, when out of the blue, she emailed me. We corresponded for a while, but little comments she made kept getting to me. She refused to acknowledge that my ex cheated on me. She claimed that I had "found someone else" and had "moved on" with my life, absolving my ex of any guilt and placing the blame upon me. And then she demanded to know what I had done to him, since he seemed so withdrawn and unresponsive. I had a few demands of my own, but I was just too polite to send them to her.

It's been three years. I have H's email address, but I haven't bothered writing. I don't know if I want to contact her anymore. We were friends for almost a decade, but I fear that our lives have changed so much that we have nothing in common anymore. (She's been married with a young child, I am merely engaged with only a cat as my dependent.) With all the pain in my past, and the hurt of what felt like her betrayal, I am unsure if I want to have anymore contact with her. Yet another part of me wants to forgive and forget. I wish I knew what to do. Saying good-bye is never easy. And letting go of the past is just as difficult.



Blogger TOS said...

The end of summer is a very comtemplative time isn't it? I fimd myself reflecting more lately as opposed to wishing things away like I do at the beginning of summer. I think it is the hope of something new that takes root in spring and takes over the more realistic side of my personality. Spring and summer are times to grow and thrive and sometimes it's nice to forget about the weeds in the garden and focus on the plants that have the potential to overgrow even the weeds.

Now that summer starts to slowly (I'm in the hothouse called Washington DC) wind down I come back to reality a little bit more - realizing what needs to be done and why. All in advance of the impending darkness which to me embodies "reality" itself.

Good luck with your blog. I too am an aspiring writer. I'm just trapped and mired down in the nasty muck that is corporate America. I use my blog to exercise what little creativity I have left during the workday...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005 9:21:00 AM  

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