Monday, February 11, 2013

Remnants of a Friendship...Part 7

Part 7

The beginning of the end. The winter of 2008 things already started to change. I could sense it. Her niece had recently moved into the same apartment complex, just a few feet away from her. Marie was planning on taking a trip with her niece to St. Lucia for the holidays, Christmas to New Year's. I encouraged her to do it, it was good for her to get away. I think she hesitated because of leaving her kids for the holidays. I told her they were older and she could celebrate with them the weekend before, as long as they got their presents, they probably wouldn’t care. She went ahead with her plans. I told her we didn't have to exchange presents that year so she could save her money for her trip. I even sent her a little extra with some gifts for Christmas. With all the planning for the trip and spending time with her niece, she barely found a moment to open the gifts I had sent her. She called me and said her niece would be there soon and she wanted to open the gifts before she arrived. What could I say? I agreed. It was rushed and not at all the way we typically celebrated.

Still, I was happy for Marie that she finally would have her niece living close by.  She could be there to help her, support and encourage her.They would be there for each other. In fact I had prayed that one day they would find their way back to each other. They had been very close as children and had grown up like sisters. My prayers were to be answered. After their trip, in January 2009, they seemed inseparable. However, the closer they got, the more it seemed Marie was pulling away from me. At first I thought it was my imagination or maybe a phase she was going through. But in time there was no way I could explain away the change I sensed in our friendship. We spoke on the phone less and less. I tried to express how I was feeling, it was like I was taken out of the ball game and put on the bench indefinitely. She kept saying it wasn’t true, nothing had changed. But still I knew something had changed and it wasn’t me or on my end. No more calls in the morning, no more calls after work. Days would go by and we wouldn’t talk at all. I stepped back. I thought maybe she just needs some time and she will come around again.

You can imagine I was actually very surprised when, in the spring of 2009, she asked me when I was coming down for a visit. She sounded like she actually wanted to see me and it had been two years since our last visit. She was talking about looking at new cars or possibly houses, and she knew I had my mother’s gift for haggling down prices. I had no intentions of being a third wheel between her and her niece, so the thought of visiting hadn’t crossed my mind. I still felt she had been distancing herself since January and I had been placed on the back burner. Every time I tried to bring up how I felt, she dismissed it and said it wasn't true. Yet, all her actions, her pattern of behavior told me it was true. Now she was asking me to go down there to visit and I considered it. Could I have been mistaken or imagined her pulling away? Wishful thinking was at work. I was trying to convince myself that this “phase” was ending and maybe things were going back to the way they used to be. But, the more I thought about visiting, the more my gut said no, don’t go. I kept going online to reserve a ticket and couldn’t bring myself to actually buy it. But the days were passing by quickly. I had to bite the bullet and make a decision one way or the other, go or don’t go. I had thought my feelings would change if I waited a few days, but my gut feeling was just as strong as ever, and it said, “don’t go.” I began to reason with myself. Even though I felt and believed things had changed, she kept saying they hadn’t. So, I thought that I needed to go there and see for myself, so I would know if it was or wasn’t my imagination.  I went online, overruled my screaming gut and ordered my ticket for early July, 2009.

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