Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What Did You Say?

Some of you know that I spent this past weekend with four friends from high school. And yesterday I had lunch with my college roommate. Both times I heard something that astounded me.

Almost ten years ago, I was in the hometown of one of the high school girls. We tried to hook up with her, and she had already left by the time we arrived at our meeting place. After the trip, she tried three times to contact me, by phone and email. For some reason I didn't get back to her all three times. We usually met in our hometown over the Christmas holidays, but for the next few years after that, my family gathered elsewhere.

My college roommate wanted to rekindle our friendship. We made a couple of attempts at getting together and I had to cancel both times. And though we've danced around each other - mutual friends and careers - we haven't gotten together.

Both of these people apologized to me this week because they thought I was angry and upset with them. And that my feelings were what kept us apart. This stopped me in my tracks, because feeling angry and upset with them was the farthest thing on my mind. But for several years, they have felt that I didn't want to be with them.

The simple truth is that their phone messages and email messages got left to be answered when I could give them more attention, and in the daily shuffle they got erased or deleted. And I carried on my little life of children and work and other friends and activities totally unaware that they were hurt by my neglect.

Girlfriends, listen up: I never hold a grudge. I never stay mad. So please oh please don't ever assume that I don't love you anymore. And this goes for all my friends, present and past. I'm not ignoring you, I'm not angry with you, I'm not irritated that we haven't seen each other in a while. I hold each and every friend, their problems, their families, the love that we've shared for umpteen million years as preciously as I hold my family. And most times, most times, if I'm in a snit, you'll know it. Quickly. Zip zip and then it's over.

I'm sorry that I hurt these people, and I'm going to be more conscious of responding to emails and calls in a timely manner. You can't let a good friend fall by the wayside. There are just too few of them.


kenju said...

Oh, my Lord, how true that is!! I hope I never have a problem like that.
This reminded me of something that happened in high school. My physical education teacher called me into her office and told me that everyone thought I was stuck up because when I walked in the halls, I didn't smile and speak to people. Truth was, I was painfully shy and not confident, and would only speak when spoken to. I couldn't believe that they all thought I was stuck up!

mamie said...

That's funny, Kenju. And indicative of the days we were in high school and the teachers actually had time to talk to us about things like this.