It's been months now since it happened. I figured that some distance would provide a more useful perspective on events rather than writing something while still in the fallout
of the event. Who knows, arguably I'm in the perpetual fallout, the nuclear winter of our friendship
. She would appreciate that line.
Flash back a month or so further, and I'm out of town on business. By pure chance I happen to be one town over from where she's living with her wife. The last time I saw her was before they moved. She drives over to meet me and we go out for a drink and laugh at the locals. Being surrounded by rich white liberals
makes us feel out of place. We're from the desert
, that makes a person a bit harder. "What's with all the suburau
's and fuckin' kayaks
?" I ask. She nearly dies laughing, having had this exact conversation with her wife when they'd first moved here.
We spend the evening having a great time chatting about AI
and theoretical telescope design
. It was a return to form for us. The kind of night chatting we used to have. I say used to because there was a gap in friendly relations for some time. There was a period of time where it seemed I was to be held accountable for the sins of every cis
white hetero male
in history. Of which there are countless. Our interactions became mostly her venomously harassing me for something. Any action that was in some way stereotypically male that I took was met with hatred and harassment from her. She dragged all of our conversations into bitter gender war
battles. I was the devil, and so she treated me as such. This vexed me to no end as she'd known me more than long enough to not attribute the bigoted positions to me that she did. It became apparent that she was full of rage about a lot of things (rightly), and I fit the profile of her enemy in all physical ways so I became a target of said rage (wrongly). I tried to play nice and not let it bother me, but it did. I eventually blocked her on social media. I understood why she said the things she did (rage against others/society), but I was tired of being a punching bag for her. Months, maybe a year or so later she opened a group conversation with myself and Bookreader
. Civil discourse
resumed. At some point that night I expressed some opinion and she laughed and said "you really are a real life Ron Swanson
, no it's cute". I'm not sure if this is how she mean it, but I took that as her apology to me for all the mistreatment. Maybe apology is the wrong word, it seemed that maybe she was comfortable enough with herself to be comfortable with who I was.
In highschool we used to joke that our group of three was structured around Freud
, Super Ego
. There was a definite balance to us. She would provide the crazy plan, I would temper it, and Bookreader
would bring us both back to center if we got too far out. Nights spent scrounging change to get dollar hamburgers, sleeping in drainage tunnels, sleeping in my van. Going to watch the symphony from the TV that was outside the bathroom at the concert hall since we couldn't afford tickets. It's strange and a little sad to think of all the moments we shared that exist now only in my head. In highschool my girlfriend at the time was forced to move many states away. I said to sarabandegreen
"if I had the gas money I would go see her tomorrow". She said she had that money if she could come too. And so we ditched school for a week and drove halfway across the country. All the moments on that trip exist only in my head now, that doesn't seem right.Music
. The fucking band....and music. She and I played so much music together. If there's such a thing as a musical soul mate
then we had that. I feel without a doubt that no one will ever understand me so musically intimately as she did. We spent hours playing together. We fed ourselves many a night busking
downtown for change. We had our band that we worked on through so many iterations of surrounding people. But it was always us driving the music, working together. That is where I feel the ache, where I feel she left things unfinished with me. We weren't done musically...But here I am, and she's gone
After it happened my wife and I ended up hosting a memorial
for her at our house due to some familial discord. There was mixed crowd of people who knew her but perhaps hadn't seen each other since highschool, family, and friends of her wife who were mostly unknown to me. As those things are it was a mix of laughter and remembrance, as well as sadness and crying. Two days later we hosted an emergency wedding
for a friend whose refugee visa
was going to expire soon. It was somewhat strange to see her getting married holding her infant daughter in our backyard so soon after holding the memorial in the same spot.
It's funny and arbitrary the things we choose to bring up when remembering someone. I never felt the sadness that I think is traditional for this kind of life event. I respected her, and her choices. I believe one should be allowed to live the life they want. This is what she chose, and while I may not be happy about it, while it may have immeasurably hurt others, it was in the end her choice. I'm glad I got to see her on that business trip and...well...not makeup, but make peace.
It's the just the nature of getting older that you have less free time to spend with other people. There are so many things that need attention that one can't just go spend 72 hours just kind of hanging out with one's friends like was an option in highschool/early college. It's unlikely one will be able to make that kind of friend again.