On Not Giving Up
I chose this particular quote for two reasons. First, because my friends mean to the world to me; they are an extension of my family. When I cannot make it down to New Jersey, they are the ones with whom I spend the holidays. I go to them for support and and in times of celebration, and likewise I am there to cheer them on and to be a shoulder to lean on during the hard times.
Second, because a little over a month ago I reconnected with a childhood friend who I had not spoken to in 4 1/2 years. She is a huge Jane Austen fan, and it was only fitting that I choose a quote about friendship by one of her favorite authors.
The last time this friend and I had spoken, during Columbus Day weekend in 2008 (it's amazing how you don't forget these things) I was hurt. I felt that I valued our friendship more than she did, and after realizing that I was always the one to reach out to her, I vowed that I was done making all of the effort. If she wanted to talk, the ball was in her court.
A few months later, after not hearing from her, I decided to reach out to her and sent her a birthday text.
In a fit of anger and frustration, I deleted her phone number from my phone. If she didn't want to make the effort, than neither did I. (No one said emotions caused people to act in a rational or mature manner.)
A year later, I found her work e-mail address online. Perhaps foolishly I decided to give it another go.
Time passed, and my anger with her seeming lack of interest in maintaining our friendship turned into sadness. I could not understand what I had done to make her shut me out of her life. Our last conversation I had expressed my frustration with her, but otherwise it was an innocuous conversation that. At least that's what I thought.
And more than anything, I just needed closure.
If she didn't want to me friends with me, as much as it saddened me, I could accept that. But I wanted to know why, and though I deserved to know why.
Shortly after I got married in 2011, I received a sweet Facebook message from her mother congratulating me. While it was nice to hear from her, it also served as a reminder that my friend was not there to celebrate that big day with me. Until a few years perviously, I had taken for granted that we would be there to celebrate these special occasions with each other.
Periodically I would dream about her. In my dreams I was often chasing her down, trying to find out what had happened, desperate to have my real-life questions answered.
Once in awhile I would look her up online. The only information I could glean was she was still working at the same job.
Then one Saturday night this past April, shortly after I had received some good personal news, I decided to look her up again.
I stumbled upon her website for her business (thank you, internet). I stared at the screen for awhile, tears in my eyes as I contemplated whether or not I should call her. My heart thudded in my chest as I dialed the numbers. It was to voicemail, and unsure what to say I hung up.
The following Monday I decided to try again. I sat down and dialed the numbers, waiting, wondering if she would know it was me and would screen the call or if she would answer.
She answered on the second or third ring. The tone of her voice told me that my name did not show up on her caller I.D. I told her who it was, and she sounded both surprised and happy to hear it was me.
We talked. We caught up on the last 4 1/2 years, or at least as much as one can during an hour-long phone conversation. Even though much had transpired during that time, our conversation flowed as it once had.
And I found out why she had shut me out of her life. It actually had nothing to do with me, but rather some things that were going on in her life. I have to admit, I suddenly felt guilty knowing now what had been going on. I wished I had pushed harder, and not given up so easily on our friendship.
But I was relieved, and so happy that I reached out to her. I had missed my friend who I loved so much, and I was so happy to have her back in my life. I am determined to keep her there. Our friendship and history mean too much to me to let go.