Tonight over burritos with a new friend we talked about old friends. About how difficult it is to live far away from your closest humans, to feel like you are surrounded by mainly acquaintances, to let go of former friends when you’ve both outgrown each other.
She described one friendship in her life as a short flight. From Kansas City to St. Louis. Barely got off the ground before it started to descend again.
When I was younger this concept would have devastated me. I had very permanent ideas about relationships. If you love someone, of course you love them until the day you die. The idea of ever loving anyone else is a betrayal. It couldn’t have been love then!
Friendships were the same. Once a friend, always a friend! Even if you have nothing in common anymore, it’s your job to maintain the dead friendship, otherwise why call it friendship at all!
Adulthood has cured me of that, somewhat.
The first friend I let go of cured me of that, somewhat.
It wasn’t that hard, actually. There was no big falling out, no moment of truth. It was just a gradual moving away from each other until one day I woke up and realized she believes this thing about the world that I don’t and I believe this thing about the world that horrifies her.
And it’s not that you must share all worldviews to be friends, it’s more like
It’s OK that she was my friend for the time period she was my friend. It’s OK and it was good while it happened and I’m grateful it happened.
And neither of us are terrible people if we just let it go. If we move forward.
The second friend I let go of ended abruptly. Well, it was more like small grievances built up into one terrible, hurtful thing, a thing that still is terrible and hurts me today. It ended poorly and forgiveness will take some more time and that’s OK too.
It’s OK to walk away when it’s not working anymore.
Not all flights take you overseas.
Of course, some friendships you fight for and some are for good–in sickness and in health, till death do you part. I have less than one hand of those and they mean the world to me and there’s no replacing them.
My mom said that once.
After a lifetime of moving and moving and moving again I talked to her about maintaining friends through the moves.
“There’s only one Macey,” she said, referring to her best friend from 17 moves ago.
There’s only one Macey.
And there’s only one Macey and my mom.
And yet, in this hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant in a town far from my own, I sat with a girl who became my friend through the internet (of all places) and we discussed writing and day jobs and holidays and mental health.
And yet, you make more friends.
There’s only one Macey, but there’s also only one Hilary.
Slowly, ever slowly.
We take off again.