She got everything in the divorce. She got to keep her parents, her grandparents and all the recipes we invented and tweaked together like Southern meth heads in the kitchen. She got to keep my enjoyment of Disneyland, my mechanic and sound system hookup guy. She got to keep our shared Netflix queue (because I’ve gotten too proud to ask her for the password, which I set myself and can’t remember, but she always could).
I’m as queer as they come, and gay marriage is legal now, but this is not actually a piece about a failed romantic relationship. This is about the fact that my best friend cut me out of her life like you would a dead limb.
My best friend told me she needed “a break from people” when really she just needed an indefinite break from me.
That stung. But I suppose there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. Back in September of 2015, I accepted a job offer that would relocate me to Japan. I had a mental health breakdown right before I was supposed to leave and I backed out of going.
I put distance between us—depression kissed the corner of my mouth and pulled me in close—and I believe that was, in all honesty, the catalyst. She made me feel like that distance between us was my fault. She flung insults like shrapnel and told me my emotions were “too much” for her.
She was probably right. I often say that depression isn’t the absence of feeling. For me, depression is feeling everything too severely.
And since then I’ve been noticing, slowly, like the way water color paint bleeds, that she’s been on social media with people, living her life, and excluding me from it.
So this distance thing that she’s doing, where she stopped including me in her life for no particular reason that I have been able to discern yet, that feels like a weird sort of retaliation to me.
To this day, it still feels like payback.
I didn’t know our breakup was official until I got the call that made me finally write this piece. We haven’t talked on the phone in months, even though it’s typically a bi-weekly occurrence, and at the peak of our friendship we were texting every day. But she called and I picked up because at one time I promised her I always would, no matter where I was, what I was doing, or the time of day.
“Just calling to let you know O [her boyfriend, my other best friend; she got him in the divorce, too] is in the hospital. And I realized you’re the only one that doesn’t know by now.”
“By now?” I asked her.
“We’ve been here for two days.”
She told me he’d been hospitalized for a case of Diabetic Ketoacidosis, or DKA. It’s a thing I, myself, as a type one diabetic, have had several times over.
Here is the part where you start wondering how gunshot victims feel.
You tell yourself you didn’t need the friendship in the first place. That it was unexpected at its inception, came out of left field, inconvenienced you at the best of times like a blister at the hands of your new favorite Jimmy Choos.
You tell yourself the discomfort over its liquidation speaks to your abandonment issues set by your parents.
And you will reach out after what feels like too much silence on both your parts, after you get that call that says, “He’s in the hospital.” You will reach out the next day to make sure she’s okay. Even though your pride can’t take it and your emotions are only half-cooked.
You’ll send the following text:
I know we’re not on the best of terms right now for whatever reason, but I’m not just checking in on him, you know. I’m checking in on you, too. So even if you’re not trying to fuck with me like that anymore, or “now’s not the time,” or you’re too tired or whatever, that’s cool, but like I said, still checking in with you too, just to make sure you’re on an upswing and taking care of yourself.
She won’t respond, but insult to injury comes when your iMessage changes from Delivered to Read 1:16.
At that point, you’ll be convinced that the only thing left to do is pack up your sloppy feelings, pick up your pride from where she kicked it underneath the table, and figure out how to learn from this. How to either do better for the next friend you’ll have or to go through life with only surface friends.
Anxiety reminds me that this is the second best friend I’ve lost this year. Anxiety will ask me what the common denominator is. Anxiety will not whisper that it is, indeed, me.
It will shout it in my fucking face, spit flying, voice shrill.
At twenty-six-years-old, I wonder when this will stop hurting so much. I wonder when it gets easier to go through these friendship breakups.