I guess I'm in the mood to tell a story. For the last few months I've been thinking about writing an email to a person who used to be my best friend. Perhaps I was deluding myself about the "best" title but we were no doubt, very good friends. Jack has not contacted me in over a year and my call to him six or so months ago was met with great surprise by him. I asked him to call me when he was back in town (close to us) and we'd go to lunch. He never called.
Jack is my first boyfriend. I was with him during the ages of 17 to 21. For most of our relationship, it was long distance. For almost every other weekend during school time, we'd fly to see the other person. We lived together in SF during the summer and holiday breaks. Right before my senior year of college, Jack decided he wanted to finish college and made plans to attend school in NYC. Although rationally I should have been able to figure out this was going to mean the end of our relationship, I was young and bound to the idea that perhaps an even longer distance relationship could work.
Long story short, three days after arriving in New York, he said he met someone and I was "no longer [his] girlfriend." At the time, I was living with my employers and so consequently, I spent many nights crying in one of the guest rooms in a mansion in Hillsborough. Jack kept insisting that we just had to be friends but I ceased all communication until about two years later when we called me crying that the girl he left me for left him.
I was at a Ban.ana Republic in Centur.y City and I had to go out into the courtyard while Jack told me he was in the hospital for something but he had to wheel himself outside attached to an IV to talk to me. A year or so after that, he moved to LA (where I was living) and we hung out quite a bit. We were buddies.
When I moved to DC, he came to visit me. When he (accidentally) got his girlfriend pregnant, I was the first person he called. When I moved back to LA, I would meet up with him and his girlfriend and subsequent ones, ended up at many parties together, attended parties at his house. We were friends.
When he met the woman now his wife, apparently it was a big deal that she and I meet. She said how happy she was to meet a woman so important to Jack. I was touched. It was sweet. All four of us would meet for brunch every few months.
I even invited them to my wedding when I had established a rule of only married and engaged couples at the wedding. [It's a very complicated reason.] At that point, Jack and his lady were only dating. My mother gave me flack for that. They did not bring a present to our wedding, they just etched their names for eternity in my wedding signature platter.
When it came time for their wedding in 2009, Jack said they had a rule of not inviting exes to their wedding. I told him that we'd long not been a couple, and strictly platonic friends for ten years. And I was married. We got some wires crossed and he called and said he was not inviting us to their wedding. I was pissed however I let it go.
I sent a congratulatory wedding card. Jack did acknowledge the card. I sent him a birthday card this year. No response. For the last ten years, Jack always called on my birthday to sing me the Beatles birthday song. No call. So, I made that call about six months ago and he said they were in the South working and I suggested he give us a call when they returned and we could all go out. No call.
For the last month or so, I've been telling my husband that I think I got dropped. Maybe his wife had a change of heart and really didn't want her husband talking to an "ex-girlfriend" not matter how ex. I was toying with sending an email to Jack to "clear things up". So, given the mood I was in today, I thought today was a good day for that. Right after I sent the email, Jack called. He said that not communicating was not intentional, just an oversight. I wasn't in an oversight mood. In fact, I'm never in an oversight mood.
While doing the catching up thing, Jack said they've been working a lot but also using their downtime for working out at the gym everyday, hanging out, playing video games, seeing movies, reading books, and throwing parties [that my husband and I weren't invited to.] Jack promised to get back in touch when he's back in LA. I said sure, that sounds great.
In retrospect, it's not great and I'm not interested. I was a loyal friend and I was a friend for a long time. While I do feel like I deserve reciprocity, my late dear friend Renuka told me twelve years ago, "You give because you should and you want to, not to getting anything back. He doesn't owe you anything." That may be very true. However, I know what true friendship is and it's not "I'm sorry I didn't call you for a year; it was an oversight."
What a day.