January 18, 2006

Mending Fences

So, a few weeks ago I was reading one of my new favorite blogs where the writer shared five confessions -- this is probably what spurred me onto my guilty pleasures post. Anyway, I couldn't help it..... I was dying to know what the hell Beth did to this Hillary woman that it was still gnawing at her 14 years later..... oh, and for the record, I recognize that it's none of my business, but I still want to know.

Anyway, it got me to thinking about my own life.... my own friendships..... and any fences that I should have mended down through the years, but.... for one reason or another never did.

One came to mind..... it's been bothering me for years and years..... but what should I do about it?

It was about 10 years ago, I was fresh out of college. I had a very close girlfriend... ladies, you all know this friend. She's the one you used to cut class to go to the mall with.... the one that was shaped nothing like you but somehow managed to wear the exact same size in just about everything. She was the one you shared all your clothes with.... your wing-woman, your partner in crime.... she picked up the pieces when you had a fight with your boyfriend.... and kept her mouth shut about what a jerk he was when you went back to him anyway.

She and I were inseparable my junior year in college -- she was a senior and our boyfriends were roommates..... even after the boyfriends were no more..... we still had each other. We did everything together and when she graduated, I couldn't imagine having to go back to school without her. Of course I did, and she came to visit often.

After graduation, she got really serious about a guy.... and forgot rule #1.... never blow off your friends for a guy. She called one day to break plans with us to go out with him, yet again. I snapped and was terrible to her..... I totally let her have it and we never spoke again.

Over the years I've thought about tracking her down many, many times..... I've even told our other friends (who'd also lost track of her) that I was going to do it..... but I didn't.

I was sorry we fought, sorry we lost touch, sorry we never fixed it. I heard through the grapevine that she married the guy.... but still, I couldn't get up the courage to look her up.

Well, after reading Beth's post and her regret over this Hillary person (c'mon Beth, what did ya do, huh? I won't tell anyone -- promise!) I decided that it was time to bite the bullet. So, I looked up my friend..... it took some creative internet research (what did people do before the internet???), but I found her work email address and then I deliberated.... hemmed and hawed for days and days..... then I decided to pull the trigger..... On Tuesday morning I sent her an email. Email is safe..... a phone call would be awkward..... email is perfect for a giant chicken like me. I basically told her that I was sorry for that argument, sorry we lost touch and that although I don't expect us to go back to being friends -- I wished her well.

The second I hit "send" I felt like my karma had been through some sort of deep cleansing ritual.... It was like, now at least I can say that I tried.... now, the ball is in her court.

At the same time there was a weird sense of anticipation...... would she receive my note well? would she respond at all? would she appreciate the effort? would she think I had become one of those pathetic people we used to make fun of? or worse, would she think that I was some sort of nut-job stalker?

I waited..... it was like when I was single.... wondering if "that guy" would call..... hoping he would, but not knowing what to say if he did

The wait was tough..... but it was short...... I got a response within a couple of hours..... and it was positive. Turns out, she felt bad too.... missed me..... had thought of getting in touch many times..... but also, never did. She didn't think I was nuts.... it almost seemed like she appreciated the gesture.

Over the past few days we've been catching up via email..... and I feel so good about it. Again, I don't expect us to go back to being inseparable.... we're grown ups now (well, sort of) and grown ups generally don't share each other's clothes and take turns putting dinner on an already-over-extended credit card. But it's a wonderful feeling that this unfinished business is no longer dangling out there.

I do have to say, it is extremely odd when someone asks you what you've been up to and you have to attempt to summarize the past 10 years of your life in a few sentences for an email.... Hmmmm, changed jobs a couple times, got married, went to and graduated from Grad School, bought a house, moved out of state, had a baby...... I don't know what's going to happen, but I'm glad we are getting to know each other again -- and that we can resolve any hurt feelings that have lingered for all these years.

So, thanks Beth..... and honestly, if any of my 5 readers have a fence to mend.... I strongly recommend doing it.... it's hard..... it requires more courage than I usually have (email helps with this) but, it really feels great -- and I'm guessing that the person on the receiving end will probably feel pretty good to.


Kara said...

wow. that's such an inspiring story! you have me thinking...

Mrs Big W said...

do it.... you'll feel so much better.

I want to do it again -- I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with someone else I'm on the outs with..... but, I seem to be on good terms w/ everyone.... Dammit!

Corinne said...

:) I went through the same thing last year w/ an old High School friend. We aren't the best of the best anymore, but at least running into her at my home church isn't so awkward anymore. Props to you for being the bigger person and contacting her. :)

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