How many disappointments do you accept before it becomes too many? I’ve had 6 best friends in my life. Five of them left me behind (plus a fair number of close friends). Even though I miss them all, I’m not bitter anymore. (I miss the more recent ones more because I’m not sure I’d get along with my best friend from when I was 7 these days. I actually ran into my first best friend in high school and we couldn’t have been more different. He was a jock. Big, muscle-ly guy with nice/cool clothes and somewhat cruel to smaller kids. And I had hair down to my shoulders and was spending every weekend at rock shows. His friends called me a fag. Meanwhile, I can still imagine sitting next to my last 3 best friends, doing nothing, and enjoying every second of it. Or talking for hours about the last album we listened to.) My 6th best friend is the only one not to leave me behind but our friendship had to succumb to the pressures of grown up life.
While I may not be angry anymore, each time I lost a friend it was brutal. My self worth dropped to zero, and maybe dipped into the negatives. I never had many friends, and for a while I didn’t have any (oh, thank you punk rock for saving my life), so I always felt there was something wrong with me. When the person I trusted the most decided I wasn’t good enough, or worth the effort, I figured it had to be true. I’m a bit older and less terrified of judgement, but I’m not immune to moments of weakness. Add in my horrible shyness, which makes human contact with strangers almost physically painful, and I’m tremendously handicapped when it comes to making a friend.
Two years ago, a friend yelled at me for taking things too seriously. She bailed when we were supposed to hang out three times in a row. I told her that was shitty and she told me to go to hell. I said that was even more rude and she said I was too sensitive. I replied that I might be but I felt that her behavior displayed a blatant and continuous lack of consideration regarding my feelings. She told me I was being an idiot and not seeing the whole picture, but she was willing to move on. I said I didn’t think I could after all that. She said, “You’re an asshole.” I said, “Probably. I’m sorry I can’t change.” She said, “Bye.”
And so I’m left wondering if it’s worth it. I’m inclined to say it is. Without taking the risk, I wouldn’t have any of the memories I have today. That road trip down the California coast would have been alone. All the images I can recall of people sitting in various places laughing would be gone. The dirty venues. The late nights. The parking lots. The disgusting fast food. Walking city streets all night. The highs of the shows. The band practices. The love. The conversations. Everything would be gone. And then what would I list at the end of my blogs? (Sorry about that, two days in a row? Bad form.)
I never had much family, or too many friends, so I love the ones I have. As Tim Kasher sings, “We’re a family of strays, but together we’ve been found.”
It just makes it so hard to lose them.