Tuesday, November 09, 2004

cancer removed?

I recently ended a friendship- something I have only rarely done in my lifetime. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I have made a concious decision to remove someone from my life. That count: one.

Don't get me wrong, there are people with whom I no longer associate; those who have committed injury to me or my friends, those with whom I have merely lost touch and those who's lifestyle and/or choices distanced them. But I have never made a decision, planned an action, implemented said action and removed a friend.

Though I cringe to admit it, it is at once like breaking up with an abusive boyfriend as well akin to having the greatest of weights lifted from your shoulders. It was 15 months of the closest thing I might ever refer to as a "relationship" held with a male. Though at times friends and at other times friends... with benefits... he was one of the dearest people in my life. I sacrificed my closest friends to spend time with him-- eager only to hear his thoughts and bursting to tell him mine. I was flattered he found me attractive and even more flattered he found me interesting. He seemed to see me and hear me-- something I had never found in a male with whom I was friends. He asked questions, listened, asked more questions, gave his opinions and finally gathered all of this information together and became the human being I was closest to in the world. I could tell him things I was afraid to tell my friends-- my compadres-- the 3 women I love more than sisters-- and I hated myself for that. I felt I could never let the others know how weak I felt at times, how lonely I had been at times and how angry/sad/frustrated so many things could make me. Because then maybe they wouldn't love me.

When I came back from New York, I was at the lowest I have ever been in my entire life. Desperate, after a year of not being seen, for someone to see me. I had come back to my old life, only to discover my life had moved on without me. Though they all still loved me, it was difficult to know so much time had passed with not one memory we shared. And then I met him-- the shining perfection of coolness and style. He seemed to be lusted after wherever we went and I secretly, shamefully, hoped those girls thought I was with him. It pulled me to a status I had both detested, ignored and coveted in high school. That of the popular kids who seemed to move through high school like a breeze. No awkward braces or pudgy thighs and bellies. No unfortunate hair cuts from that shady place in the mall. The right clothes-- no tapered legs, please. And that unbelievable ability to walk into any room and find a friend.

He told me his stories, his dreams and fears. I told him mine, openly. To be able to talk about New York and my life there-- more than just the rehearsed "Oh, you lived in NYC?!? Did you just love it??" and then me: "Well, not to be cliche, but I found it a great place to visit but just very expensive to live." "Ohmigod, I can only imagine! I would LOVE to move there!" and then me again: "Yeah, it's, uh, super." I could tell him how the whole time I was there I wanted nothing else so desperately as to have someone visit me. To be able to lead them around, showing off landmarks, my miniscule apartment, the terrific bodega in my building with the cutest little old man that told me I was his "gorgeous gal" every day. To be able to show off my subway knowledge. And at the end of the day, know my memories are forever meshed, blended and stirred with another persons. I told him about the things I wanted to do. The plans I had made. And he never once laughed or critisized when yet another "life plan" was thought up and discarded when procrastination and fear won out.

In the end, things had deteriorated quite a bit. He wasn't healthy for me. And I had to accept that he never had been. His love was conditional; one based in insecurity and something not.. quite.. definable. It was unfortunate I had to sacrfice so much of myself to be with him. My best friend.... and I could never let him see me happy. He became my own worst enemy. And finally, I saw him as the cancer he had always been. And I removed him.

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