Eggs, shots and rock n roll

Thursday, January 05, 2006

An old friend

I have this friend, Paty (the one who lost her father back in September) whom I've been friends with for a long time. But our friendship has always been a weird one. Sometimes we could spend 2, 3 months without calling each other and that was normal. We have our lives, we don't really mind and get mad. It's just how it goes with her. Anyway, every time I talk to her, it's always to talk about her. You know, the kind of person who always manages to turn a conversation on herself? It's always about her, no matter what the subject is. If it's not about her directly, it's someone she knows, or something she heard... It can never me about ME with her. As an example, when I told her I was pregnant, she told me one of her co-workers was pregnant too (I don't even know her!). And when I told her I had miscarried before, she told me about another co-worker, about her cousn, her mailman's sil... Look, I don't care about those people, I don't know them! I'm telling you about me now! Also, it's always worse with her. She always has all those problems, you know, that *nobody else* ever has. If you read Dilbert, you can say she's a little like Topper. She doesn't know how to listen and it's very frustrating. Why would I be friends with such a person, you might ask? I'm not quite sure. She is a nice person. We spent a lot of time together during high school, mostly because she was the only one of my friends who lived close to my home. It might sound harsh, but she was kind of a habit...

Anywho... In September, she lost her dad. We talked on the phone after the funeral and that was it. I hadn't spoken to her in two months, so one night in November I wrote on my calendar "call Paty". The next day, I received an email from her (how weird!). She was saying "I am writing to you to know how you're doing and also because I have good news to tell you. I wanted to know if you were there tomorrow so I could call you. If it's ok, write to me and we'll talk tomorrow."

I'm not stupid. I can read between the lines. Her email told me two things: she wanted to tell me about a pregnancy and she didn't have the guts to do so (wth? I want to know if you're there tomorrow... just call damn it! It's not a long distance! Worse case, you'll get the machine!). I answered her email, telling her that if her news had anything to do with a pregnancy, I'd rather learn about it by email so I could live whatever I needed to live emotionally by myself. I always do that, it's just a way of protecting myself and of avoiding to fake a smile and happiness when all I want to do is cry or scream. My friends understand that and it's nothing new. One more reason I felt her email was somehow phony.

She wrote back the day after, telling me I had guessed right. She was over 3 months pregnant. Even if I was expecting it, it hurt. You know, kind of like when you expect a slap in the face. No matter how much you prepare for it, when you get hit, it still hurts. Of course, this being a oops-baby didn't help at all. I thought about this news all day long, and all night. I was surprised by how much it affected me, even if I was happily pregnant. I never know how I will react, and this time, it was really unexpected.

The next day, I went to get my hair cut. Paty and I have the same hairdresser, we used to go together. So the hairdresser and I talked about Paty, of course. It turned out she knew about her pregnancy almost since the beginning and not because Paty had told her, but becasue another friend of Paty did! That really was a slap in the face. I knew we weren't exactly best friends lately, but I never thought she would tell the whole world before telling me! That really hurt me.

I thought about what I would tell her for a couple of days. I thought it through and through, not wanting to lose this friendship after all. When I wrote back to her, I told her exactly how I felt. I always thought truth was there to be told, and that my friends deserve honnesty. I told her I was very hurt she did not tell me before and did not trust my friendship. I know I'm sometimes hard to follow. I know fertile people don't usually *get* how we can feel about these types of things. I know it's very sensitive and she must not have known how to tell me without hurting my feelings. I know all that. Even if I am pregnant, thinking about all that just reminded me how hard getting there was for us. It made all sorts of bad feelings come back to the surface, when I thought they were burried very deep. I may be the happiest woman on earth, rubbing my belly and enjoying every kick from my boy, it still doens't give us back the months and years we have lost, crying, hoping and raging.
And I was, in fact, happy for her, even if this baby was not planed, I knew she wanted kids.

So I told her I did not actually want to share our pregnancies. I didn't feel like talking about onesies and cribs and morning sickness with her. I told her I wanted to know the details of her progression, but via email, at least for then. She wanted to do something before the holidays (this was at the end of November) and I told her the truth: I did not think it could be possible, since all my weekends were booked and I was swamped with work. I even told her "unless my Mom has organised a surprise shower for me, I don't think it'll be possible to see each other before the New Year." And it was true, it wasn't because I didn't want to see her (ok, maybe just a tiny little bit). She was on the guest list I had given my Mom for the shower. My Mom knows her very well too, so there was no doubt in my mind she was invited, if there were to be a shower.

Overall, my long email was very clear, sincere and sensitive. I wasn't rude at all, I didn't blame her for not having the courage to tell me before, even though it hurt me. I told her I was happy for her, I asked questions, asked how her Mom was doing. I thought she would understand, at least a bit.

She wrote back a few days later with a very short email. "If it took me some time to tell you, it's because I knew it would hurt you a little. And since I thought it would be better to tell you in person, I was waiting to have the time to tell you, which I haven't had."

Wtf?? I didn't have the time?! What sort of a lame excuse is that? The only thing that came to my mind after reading her email was: bullshit!! Did she really think I would beleive her bogus reasons? She's working part-time at a drug-store, she has no kids... No time? Who doesn't have 5 minutes to spare for a (supposedly) good friend? What she lacked was not time, but courage. And respect for me.

I had tried. I had written a long email, stepped on my pride and my hurt feelings to ask about her pregnancy. I could just have shut her out right then and there. But no, I thought she was worth at least a try. She didn't even consider our friendship one minute. All she wanted to do was clean her conscience. She just could have told me the truth: I did not know how to tell you, I didn't have the courage to tell you because I knew it would hurt you. I would have understood and respected this! But I didn't have the time?! No.

So when my baby-shower came, I was a little anxious. I didn't know how I would react when I saw her. But I felt it would be easier this way, with lots of people around, no time to be personnal. Well, she didn't even show up! Not only that, but she didn't even have the decency to call my Mom, who was expecting her to be there. All my friends asked me "Why isn't Paty here?" and I didn't have the heart to say anything else than "I don't know." She knew how important that day was for me.

I didn't answer her last email. I didn't call her. I sent her a card on New Year's and one on her birthday, which is today. That's the most I can do now. I don't even want to make efforts anymore for her friendship. If mine isn't even worth 5 minutes for her, why would I lose time trying to keep her as a friend? I gave enough.

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