Back in 2014, I made a dumbass comment to my best friend in a moment of anger that led to us not speaking to each other until October of 2021. Decades of friendship down the drain with a single comment.
We were both dealing with personal family issues at the time. She had been a rock for me during the first year of my ex-husband’s affair and gave me a lot of support and solid advice – some of which I heeded, and some I wish I’d heeded! She had been there for me every single day without fail while my life fell apart in front of my eyes.
When I was trying to hold my marriage and family together, she also had some serious family issues crop up. I thought I was doing a good job being there for her, but in retrospect, I can see that I was drowning in my own BS and wasn’t really as supportive as I could have been.
She called me out on it.
I told her to go ahead and find a better friend.
And then we didn’t talk for seven years.
I lost another friend during that time for the exact same reason. Although I tried to explain that I was hanging on to my sanity by a thread and didn’t say anything nearly as callous to her, she decided to move on as well. Which is fine. Sometimes we outgrow people.
I remember telling my ex-husband that I had lost those friends because the Universe was preparing me to lose him. And while at the time I think I was just being dramatic and trying to get him to pay attention to me instead of his cell phone, I can see now that I wasn’t wrong.
I had to lose some pretty important people in order to grow. It was painful, lonely growth, but it was vital to my evolution in this world. Each person we come across in our lifetime can teach us something – even if it’s with their eventual absence.
I watched my best friend’s life from the FaceBook sidelines, of course. Among other things, an extra-marital affair teaches you how to do this.<insert eye roll here> I saw she got married, I saw her outdoor adventures, I saw her dogs and new home. From the sidelines. I “hearted” her wedding profile picture and genuinely wished her well.
And I missed her.
I would laugh to myself, remembering stupid crap we did in our 20’s. I would think of all her great guidance when I learned about that affair. I would want to reach out to her. And then I wouldn’t.
After J and I got engaged, I got an email one morning that made me literally blink in disbelief. It was from her. And she wasn’t mad. She was sending best wishes on my engagement. Tears streamed down my face as I read it.
Hours and hours of phone calls and one Thanksgiving visit later, I feel like maybe we’ve caught up. Both our lives are very different now from the way they looked seven years ago when I opened my big mouth. And we both know there’s nothing we can do to get those years back. We fucked it up, and we are healing it. We’ve known each other since we were kids, and we often act like kids when we’re together, but we are healing our mistake like grown ups: owning our parts, apologizing for them, and vowing never to do something that stupid again.
No more sidelines for us.