I’m a sarcastic fellow. A dark fellow. A sad and sickly fellow with a twisted sense of humor that must often be tempered among the sunny masses.
The older I get, the more cynical I’ve grown — or devolved. However you look at it. More and more frequently, I tell myself there’s just no point in reaching out to others, again and again and again, just to maintain a friendship that will ultimately prove fatal.
After all, I’ve been there, done that too many times already. I have too many deleted phone and Facebook contacts to show for it.
You’re just gonna leave me anyway, so what’s the point? Why waste my energy on a friendship that’s not going to last?
When I think about some of my deepest friendships, the ones that changed me the most, I wince. Because they’re also some of my most painful losses.
On the one hand, these one-time friends undeniably shaped me into the man I am today; on the other, their now gaping hole in my life makes me wonder if knowing them in the first place was even really worth it.
How it hurts to no longer say hello to someone who used to hug me long.
In truth, I’m blessed by a handful of friendships that have survived the years. I can’t neglect them in my mad pursuit of the lost and longing.
And yet even among these surviving friendships, I can’t help wondering: how will I mess this up? What will I say, what will I do, or what will simply inevitably be that ruins everything?
My lack of initiative?
My tendency to dwell on darker themes?
My independent spirit and commitment issues and subsequent desires to roam and wander?
I’ve thought a lot lately about past friendships. The storybook moments that revitalized me. And the inconceivable fallings away that nearly broke me.
The tick and the tock. The to and the fro.
The persistent pull toward doom.
Some days, most days, it feels impossible. Friendship. How on earth do you stay friends with someone?
When your life changes or their life changes, or when they move or marry, or when you move or marry, how do you not only stay friends but also grow your friendship without growing too fast or too heavy?
Does anyone go to his grave at 99 with friends at his funeral, friends he’s had his whole life? Do such people exist? Is such an aim even achievable?
I just can’t picture dying at 99 with friends I had when I was 29. My heart can’t imagine that possibility. And it makes the prospect of finding and grooming new friendships all the more daunting.
Regardless, I’m grateful for friends who have stuck by me despite my insatiable longings and unshakable cynicism.
I honestly don’t know why they put up with it — with me. But I thank you, dear friends. Please continue to be patient with me as I learn to see the sunshine in my partly cloudy days.
Forgive me for doubting you and doubting us.
Thank you for lighting my steps — if only for this single fleeting day . . .