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Last night's work party, organized on a whim to get smashed after a particularly difficult week, yielded a surprise revelation I was not quite expecting.

I met T at my first job back in 2007 when she came to work with us as a project manager. She didn't really like me at first--didn't dislike me, either, just didn't care either way, and I know this because much later, when we talked about it, I asked and she told me. She's the kind of person who will tell you such things; she believes in being utterly honest about how she feels, even if it's uncomfortable. Eventually she ended up inviting me and another coworker over to her place for... I can't even remember, dinner and wine, I think; we were all quite unhappy with the way things were going at the office, and decided to share our ideas on what to do about it.

A few months later she quit that job and moved on to another company in town. Three of us followed soon after.

We became close over time. It's been seven years. About a month ago she told me she was going to quit the industry all together and move on to something completely different. Which meant that we would go from seeing each other daily down to occasional meetings when both of us had the time and the inclination to get together. Which, in my head, translated to, "I'm moving on from beings friends, too."

I realize what that sounds like, I really do.

Here's the thing: despite my age, I'm not very mature about these things. I'm not sure how to be. I have abandonment issues the size of the Empire State building and have come to expect being left behind. It's something that happens when people's lives change, and I'm mostly okay with that, except it happened over and over with people whom I loved dearly and that's bound to leave a bit of a mess. For years now I've made friends easily but avoided getting close, without even consciously making the decision to do so. Part of me is always expecting to get dumped.

So when I heard the news I pulled away. Again, I didn't decide to do that and I only see it in hindsight now.

Last night, a wasted and relaxed T flung her arms around my neck, pulled me in for a hug and asked me why I've been cold to her lately. I didn't tell her--I will when we're not under influence--but I assured her that I still loved her, because I do.

And then she said, "Oh, that's good. Because right next to my husband and my son, you're my most beloved person in the world."


We've been friends for years. I knew she was fond of me because she wouldn't have bothered if she weren't. But I didn't realize. Honestly. Maybe because she's not the mushy kind of person who lavishes affection on others left and right. And when I heard that I think it killed me a little, because well--I'd heard it before, from other people, and it went to hell anyway, but somehow I believed her regardless.

And then I felt guilty. Because I'm not a very good friend. I live inside my head too much and while I think about people a lot--a lot more often than they realize--I rarely reach out. On some level all kinds of close relationships freak me out, in no small part because being open and close to someone means being vulnerable.

So now I'm sitting here and thinking about it, about what it all means. Honestly, in a way it scares me. If I do manage to get this close to someone it hurts like freaking hell when they walk away, and in my experience, they usually do. But I think I'm already close enough in this case and that's why I tried to distance myself as a preemptive measure, so it wouldn't end up hitting me like a freight train when it happened. It's been eight years now since a once-beloved person, whom I loved more than was good for me, left without a word and I still remember all too clearly how that messed me up. Back then I promised myself that I wouldn't let that happen again, but I suppose avoiding disaster by avoiding friendships is a shortcut that doesn't really lead to where I want to be.

I wrote this mostly as a memo-to-self to go back to when I forget that there are people who really care, after all.

About me

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September 2016

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