When it’s high time to say goodbye to an old friend.
I caught the trolley back in 1989 and made it all the way to 2015 as part of a trio. I often talked about my two oldest friends and wore the proverbial badge of honour to be part of such a well-established threesome. But like it or not, people fucking change, and as I found out, not always for the better!
Jane, Sarah and myself saw it all together. We’ve all had our shit to shift and we relied on each other for support in our darkest of days. Those two were my anchor when my marriage went south and my Mum died and I helped them through family disasters and boyfriend pains. Yep, we saw it all together, and survived in our little huddle of three…or thruddle, if you will! There was nothing I wouldn’t do for either of them, and my word did that ever come back to bite me right on the ass?!!!
Sarah was in a long-term relationship that began to go south years before the final curtain fell, and Jayne and I feared for her after-life from this because she isn’t the most placid or agreeable little creature in the world. She had no qualms about regularly insulting us, displaying blatant selfish behaviour and moaning… she moaned alot! But you have to forgive all of that, because she was, after all was said and done, an Old Friend.
I let her live with me. I felt I had to because well, she told me she would be living with me… She hated being at home again. She hated living with her family. Her life was so hard. I had my very own place (recently separated was I) so by her way of thinking, given our longevity, I had to let her move in. I guiltily confessed to Jane that I was dreading the whole thing and she sweetly lied (unconvincingly) and told me everything would be alright… Good one, Jane!
Sarah was frenzied, bursting out of a decade spent coupled up and cared for. Life on planet Single was not agreeable to her sensibilities. She had been pampered and supported in every way possible up until then, but when the question of marriage and children came up, she didn’t want those things and her boyfriend finally decided if she didn’t want those things, he didn’t want her.
She lived with me for a couple of months and dated as much as she could. She wasn’t particularly good at dating (not many of us are) because she couldn’t let any of these flings go without a tantrum followed by a fight. Every time a dalliance dwindled, she would take to her bed and cry for days, refusing to ever admit she was still grieving the very first heartbreak that led her to where she was. One night she went out with some girlfriends and took a man home, which is absolutely fine… Except she took him home and forgot to let him leave for eight days. After day one, I came home to find them cooking half naked in my kitchen like honeymooners who weren’t going to conform to society’s rules about learning each other’s last names. Familiarity was for looosers!
Meanwhile, my sister was dying. My family and I took turns in caring for her as we watched cancer shrivel her body to paper. She lingered for far too long. I never imagined a little body could sustain that much suffering before it finally gave up. I would plod home to get some sleep or food at strange hours of the day and night, to find her and that guy, and then some other guy lounging around. The day my sister died, I came home to find her crying on the stairs because another one was gone. She blocked my path until she had dumped all of her pain on me, she briefly asked how I was (with a by the way tone), and finally allowed me to pass her by and go to my room.
Friends do all sorts of fucked up things, make terrible mistakes and then they usually snap out of it and apologise with the passage of time and self-reflection. Sarah has yet to snap out of it. A few weeks later, I asked her to move out and I don’t think she has ever understood why (despite being told each time something bothered me), and will probably never really forgive me for it. Jane still writes off Sarah’s poor behaviour because she believed in the Old Friend Code.
Now, two years later, I have distanced myself from Sarah because I just had to. I have never regretted the decision or felt a lack in my life without her. She has since found love again and may not have even noticed i have dramatically pulled away. Sometimes though, enough is enough and it is perfectly okay to say goodbye (and good luck) to an old friend.
Have you ever had to say goodbye to an old friend after some bad behaviour, or do you believe the Old Friend Code should forgive all?
Josephine Blue x