Friday, June 1, 2012


Last night I answered an e-mail that has sat intentionally unopened and unanswered in my inbox for almost two years. I cannot say what brought me to finally open the message and read its contents; perhaps I was tired of letting it occupy space in the back of my mind. In some ways, I think, it held an infinitesimally small power over me in that I was still holding onto it. The message was from a friend -  more so a friend from the past, though I hate to use the term "ex-friend" - who, after roughly eighteen months of mutual silence, broke it. I avoided opening this e-mail because this friend (my best friend for six years, including some of the most important years of my life) hurt me very, very deeply after I moved away from the town where I spent the majority of my pre-teens and teenage years. She said some exceedingly mean things about me, the bases of which were completely unfounded. Her words came out of nowhere, and in my absence, they still pricked my skin with their malicious undertones. Obviously, then, my hesitance to read her two-year-old e-mail has been understandable, albeit perhaps a little silly.

Last night I read her words, let them sink over me, soaked them up, chewed on them, and spat them back out into some makeshift version of coherency and response. She noted the way in which we lost touch; she claimed she knew not why our relationship dissipated. She did not say she missed me but she did update me about her life. It was a strange conglomeration of thoughts- in so many ways incomplete, lacking the emotion I expected to be present, and in other ways exactly what such an attempt at reconnection can aspire to be.

I responded with an affirmation of the greatness that our former friendship possessed, but with a stern acknowledgment, too, of just how acutely her spirited, baseless words had burrowed under my skin. I followed this with my own declaration of the "state of things" - everything I said was true, and all of it was relevant, but it somehow felt contrived, unimportant, and, perhaps worst of all, disingenuous. So, too, did her subsequent response; so, too, did my reply. Why?

There is great vicissitude in most friendships. Regardless of the bonds that two individuals share, a relationship subjects itself to an immense potential for change. Often, these moments bring clarity, renew strength, reinvigorate the communal life forged between two persons. But my relationship with this particular friend has experienced an entirely different sort of change. Distance, I think, is more than anything else to blame, and this, I know, is not her fault. Nor is it mine. Yet our relationship has seen such enormous vacillations that it seems entirely too tired to even begin moving towards recovery.

What, then, are we attempting to do with our most recent exchange? The pleasantries are starting to flow, the jokes are slowly working themselves back in, and we have begun to wean off - or, to be more truthful, forcibly remove - the weirdness between us. I cannot help but feel, however, that everything between us is still somehow nothing more than a beautiful fabrication.

How can you rebuild something when you have misplaced its pieces? 
I am not sure finding ours once more would be worth it.