Why do people grow apart? Ever had a group of friends at a stage in life, like in school, or in your estate, with someone whom you were so close there was nothing you used to do without one another? And you thought it would be like that for the rest of your lives? But as you got older and people's paths started to diverge you realized it was really just the geography holding you together? That apparently, even the strongest of friendships don't survive silence? And everything else in your life became invariably more important that these friends, so that you only noticed they were no longer around on that odd Saturday morning when you'd woken up a little too early and had nothing to do but stare at the roof and reminisce about the good old times?
As it happens, I fear that may be happening to me in my circles. There are people I literally grew up with; I haven’t spoken to this year. It’s nothing personal really because if we were to bump into each other on the streets, we’d talk and talk about everything we've missed. But that need to look for each other is not there. I have been a little busy lately and I like spending my weekends at home, by myself. So when the girls call for a night out or whatever as long as it involves dressing up and leaving the house, I think twice. Unless it had been planned earlier and I just can’t bail, you know.
Thing is, I have seen a lot of nonsense over the years in friendships and I tend to push people away especially when am not okay. I have a good number of friends that I love, but haven’t talked to in a while. I haven’t seen my best friend in more than a year, (since she went to the states). But we talk enough. She’s my ride or die. Despite the distance, that woman has been there for me in un-imaginable ways. She knows what’s going on in my life every time and she does it so effortlessly, it moves me. The eight years of this friendship have been bumpy, but after every trial, it just keeps getting better.
When someone goes to your wall after five years and writes how it's been forever and how are you doing these days, what are you supposed to answer if that person wasn't just an acquaintance? I usually tell myself if they were really close they wouldn't have to ask that, and then I realize I don't know them that well any more and the whole stones and people living in glass houses thing kicks in, so I just say, "Good, it's been great. Just school, you know... You?" and she says "Same here," and the countdown begins again for the next five-year interval when we'll check up on each other.
Nothing about the lost grandmother, nothing about the recent burglary that left you at square zero, nothing about the decision to go back to school, nothing about finding a new house and moving in, or the break up that obliterated you for a while, or the new baby... we never actually go into all these specifics. All that stuff is just supposed to be covered by the single perfunctory line, "I'm good." Which, if you think about it, is true in a way, because I mean, we're alive and healthy, it could always get worse.
I recently met with some old friends. Looking back I could tell the level of association had changed. No one wanted to know serious things about the other. It was just all on the surface. You want to show interest because it's been a while and you feel you're supposed to, but not enough that we'll actually talk about things that matter; or something that will require input from me, you know. The rest was all just making fun which used to be a thing we did but it seems to be what everyone does best these days. It's safe. And when it's all over we hug goodbye and go under again till the next time we'll run into each other on the streets, probably next year. And later you sit and you ask yourself what new things have I really learned about these people today and you find that you've got nothing. As it happens, you're no longer one another's rocks like you used to be. Everyone went ahead and they moved on. People go through stages and they grow and they change and the world still goes round, so you realize that maybe you should also do the same.
We seem to have gotten this growing apart thing down to such fine art we don't even have to talk about it or synchronize any more, it just happens. And it affects nothing else in our lives.