Now this saddens me. I had to search high and low for a picture of me with friends. This is from college; probably 1986 or 1987. Brigitte is on the left (she was my roommate freshman year, along with Michelle) and Sheila-V is on the right (she was my co-founder and co-editor in chief of The Ivy, the first school newspaper in 50 years).I am writing this at home on a Friday night, since Ty is on his Great Miniature Boat Trip and will not return for another nine days. I realized around 3:00 today that it was Friday night, and I had no plans. I wrote a plaintive email to my brother and sister in law, but to no avail. Ty had suggested to Luke and spouse that they call me, but they didn't. I was going to call Mike, but it was too late--and he doesn't like staying out late. And that, my dear reader, is the extent of my friend network. I have latched on to Ty's friends and family; my parents are in H.B., my sister and her husband in San Francisco, and my two old friends from high school are never available: Julie, because she lives six hours away, and Chris, because Chris is never available. Even when we were best friends, we only managed to see each other once every couple of months or so.
Six years ago, I had enough friends to throw a big Halloween party--really big. Everyone would come, too. There was Gwen, who had a smile and a laugh that made me happy no matter how I was feeling before. There was Zurine, a kind and genuine person who really cared about me; Francesca, best friend material through and through; Sara, who took a very long time to really know, but who was in the sad position of having to choose between my ex and me (she chose him); Shayne, the diva opera star with a heart of gold; Tim, who I truly loved; and others who came into my life with promise and the joy of a new relationship, and for one reason or another, vanished.
I shouldn't say "for one reason or another". I know exactly what happened. A divorce forces people to take sides; there are those who can make that choice easily, and there are those who cannot handle the pain and drama of their friend's life change. Many of my old friends could not make the transition; I was half crazy with trying to save my marriage and trying to save my soul. It was a lot to ask of anyone to stick by me during that time. In truth, most of them could not; those that were willing were sacrificed to my shame and depression. I just didn't call them anymore, even after they tried multiple times to contact me.
I decided that is was less painful to be alone when family is not available. I still hide out in my room, reading endless books on life after death, or I spend hours on the computer, sending emails or commenting on Flickr pictures, because that's about as risky as I can get. I'll watch some television, or clean the house, or play with the animals, and I can easily go for days without speaking to anyone. Luckily there is Mosca, and we comfort each other, since she also faces a long summer without friends; but when she's not here, and Ty is gone, I am completely isolated. Is this my choice? Is this what I really want?
Those that don't know me terribly well would find it surprising that I am actually quite shy. It's hard for me to establish friendships, and I don't know how to behave sometimes with someone I don't know very well. It's like starting a relationship, and while I am currently pretty good at picking great spouses, I don't know how to act with a potential friend. I either scare them off because I come across too strong or needy, or I alienate them because I appear aloof and uninterested. I know that I do need friends. I see my husband and his siblings thrive in their strong friendships; I am amazed at how often my parents throw large dinner parties; I am jealous of my little sister and her vast friend network. I have to be honest here: it hurts to be so alone.
It wasn't always this way. It's only been this way since 2003. If you look at the picture above, you'll see how happy I was with Brig and Sheila-V. We took care of each other. We had fun together. We counted on each other. Most of all, we trusted each other and we truly believed we would be friends forever.
I haven't heard from either of them in 20 years. Is that the fate of all human relationships? Is that why I hide and keep to myself? It's just too hard to expose myself to loss and rejection again; yet it's even harder to be here, writing this blog alone on a Friday night.