My oldest friend in the world hasn't spoken to me in over two years.
At first, it was because she learned that she might not ever be able to have children and this was at the exact same time I was pregnant. Last July she got pregnant and lost the child. I totally understood why she would not want to be around me at this time in her life.
Today her reason for not talking to me has evolved.
She told me in an e-mail that she's been working with a therapist and thinking about her past. She said that when she recalls her childhood, she remembers the cruelty of the children around her and me participating in that cruelty.
I remember that too.
I moved into the house across the street from her when I was entering first grade. She was my age and her younger brother was the same age as my brother.
We were fast friends.
She was my best friend throughout elementary school. We were Campfire Girls together, we rode big wheels together (pretending to be Electra Woman and Dinah Girl), we went to summer "sleep-away" camp together and we took joint family vacations.
When we had sleep overs we would spell out words and sentences on each other's back. Letter by letter we would spell things like "I love you."
We were so close for so many years that I feel related to her and her family is family to me.
She was always a bit of an outsider though.
She was diagnosed as "hyper-active" and prescribed Ridilin. My recollection is that she was like a human energizer bunny and would out last every other kid. She just kept going and going...
Sometimes she simply took things too far and didn't recognize the social cues (that the rest of the 6-10 year olds did) that indicated she was getting on the other kids nerves.
My strategy with her when she exhausted me was to change the game. I can't tell you how many times we played "Restaurant" where I was the customer and she busily prepared me cinnamon sugared toast or "Sick" where I was the sick daughter watching television while she brought me cold compresses.
Other kids just got fed up.
I admit, sometimes she would be too much for me too.
She was teased, she was hit, things were thrown at her, she was called names and I know she was deeply hurt by all of it.
I am also certain that at times I participated.
I have no excuse other than being aged six to ten and learning about social interaction myself.
I am not bitter that she doesn't speak to me right now. As an adult, I think it's important for her to do the work she's doing and I believe that real love and friendship mean that I will be right here waiting for her when (and if) she decides to return to our friendship.
I hope she does because there isn't another person on the planet so close to being my sister. I have known and loved her for 33 of my 39 years.
I expect times of trouble in life-long relationships.
I just hope the hurt she feels about her childhood can be healed and wish there was some way I could participate in that healing. At one point she asked me to go to the therapist with her. I was more than willing to go, but that was months and months ago and I haven't heard anything from her about it since.
I hope she does return to our friendship someday because I have a million memories of her that are good ones, happy, silly, joyous ones.
Tomorrow is her 39th birthday and I am reminded of her and of the best times. Like the time she picked me up to go to the mall in her little brother's beater car... so this is a tribute to the good parts of our relationship and a special message for her.
Happy Birthday T.L.