I have another email from you this morning with tough news about your mom. I’m sorry that I didn’t write to you before. I have your previous two emails flagged for a response but somehow there was never any time. I am reminded of you often, whenever I come to bed and see the teddy bear you gave me the year we first met in high school. He’s now old enough to drive the the US, and has had a couple of minor “heart surgeries” but he never leaves my pillow side. And yet I still didn’t write.
Last time I wrote to you it was also because you had bad news to share, and it shouldn’t take bad news for me to do reach out to you, tell you about what’s going on, ask for your news, reminisce. People frequently talk about marriage being a relationship that requires a lot of work to maintain, but no one ever talks about friendships being the same, especially over distance. I have grown insular this last year or two, wrapped up in my own world, my own troubles, my own worries. It’s easier to sink into the depth of your own life and limit your horizon to what’s immediately in front of you, avoid lifting your eyes higher, but it doesn’t make you a better person. I know this and yet I find myself once again having to apologise.
I’m sorry I can’t be there for you now in any way except insufficient and empty words of support. It’s not enough. It’s never enough when you can’t just be there with a hug, or a cup of tea. I always feel so blessed that, on those rare occasions that we do see each other, we fall into our old friendship like a wheel falling into a smooth rut. But that’s not enough to sustain the us. That’s taking that special thing we’ve had for years for granted, just knowing in the back of my mind that the vine of friendship is there, dormant, waiting to bloom the moment we see each other. One day though I could turn around to look for it and find that it has withered away from lack of water and attention and I’d wonder how I let things slip so far.
So I sit down and make myself write. But why do I need to make myself? Surely that in itself is a sign of trouble. If my friendship with you in person is so effortless then surely staying in touch with you should be a pleasure, and yet I have grown rusty, forgetting how to enjoy these things.
So I will write. I wrote today. I will write again over the holidays. I can write a blog for almost 365 days straight, so I will damn well make I can once again remember how to enjoy writing emails to friends. To you.
You will not be my cautionary tale of how good friends are lost.
I miss you, Brain.