Stories for Lent: #12 Missing You

Here’s what I never told you:
When you made fun of a fat woman on the street, I felt it like an insult to me. I wondered what you might be saying about me behind my back, even when I was the smallest person in our friend group.
I was even more hurt when I tried to redirect the conversation into a more positive direction and you lot didn’t listen.
When I couldn’t see you for a while, I waited for you to text and see how I was.
When I went to an event you were at, I felt like I had no right to sit with you because it had been so long.
When you didn’t come to talk to me at all that night, I was hurt.
You said we were friends, but when I stopped seeing you, you didn’t bother to try and find me.
And I still miss you, motherfuckers. I still miss you.
*
Being young, isolated and depressed is a scary thing to be.
Being young, isolated, depressed and heartbroken over lost friendships? Devastating, but also confusing as fuck.
It would have been so much easier to figure this out if I was in a romantic relationship. There’s a template for that, an etiquette for broken hearts and betrayals. No-one writes songs about broken friendships – not listenable ones, anyway (Taylor Swift, I love you, but “Bad Blood” makes my ears bleed.) Movies where friendships are the primary focus are so rare, they make fucking headlines. There are one million and ten articles on the Internet instructing us about the best way to dispose of our ex’s stuff, but how the fuck do you deal with a signed edition of your favourite book that your friend gave you right before they stab you in the back?
No idea.
*
Here’s what I did when my friends didn’t call or text, didn’t try to get together, didn’t bother to respond to my emails: nothing.
For a while, I was angry and riding a wave of self-righteous indignation.
Then I tried throwing myself into activities and online forums, to prove to myself it wasn’t me that’s the problem.
There was a period where I’d just sit and watch youtube videos and browse online retailers forever because it’s a material world, I’m a material girl, and shiny things make me feel better for 0.0000001 seconds.
I tried meditation and bored myself to death.
I tried yoga and decided I wasn’t skinny enough to be down with the rest of the Earth Mothers. I also hated juicing.
At no point did I address the actual problem head on, which is this: I was friends with people who didn’t care for me beyond our shared interest, and I’d let myself get invested in a fantasy that they were. If I had actual relationship experience, maybe I would have recognized the pattern early on. Instead, I broke my own heart and didn’t realize it until months later.
It sits here, bruised and stitched up and beating, but it’s hesitant. It’s not sure it can go through that again, at least not so soon. And it’s my unpleasant duty to throw open the window blinds and pull at its covers and coax it out to get fresh air. To step outside and get ready to tumble.
It’s still holding onto you, though. Even after all this time, it’s still holding on.

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