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No Such Convention 2014 | 2014 | Art Sausage


We cannot part with our friends. We cannot let our angels go. We do not see that they only go out. That archangels may come in.  

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


Goodbye to You

I wish it were socially acceptable to break up with friends. It is not necessarily that the other party has done anything wrong, though they may have, but that the friendship has reached its unavoidable conclusion. In grows cancerous as it lingers. Spending time around the other person lacks the joy it once did, since the connection has gone dead and it is only a matter of momentum. If you met this person today, you would not be friends and you both know it.

Some try the passive-aggressive trick, making constant niggling pokes at the other party, talking behind their back, until their former bestie has had enough and tells them off. Then, they can act like an aggrieved victim, a much easier role. At the very least, the other party isn't going to want to spend time with someone who is entirely critical and needy.

For the most part, in lieu of directness and honesty, one is expected to let things fade away, which lacks the resoluteness one may need, the sense of finality and conclusion. "This is over. You can feel free to lose my number."

One almost wants to give a speech, but that comes off as entirely juvenile and melodramatic, saying, "This has been a long time coming. I don't think you have liked me - genuinely liked the me in front of you - for two, maybe three years. I don't know precisely when it started, though I can guess. You want people who see you in a reverential light. You want to be surrounded by people who are broken enough to mistake you for whole. I did that for a while, because I was insecure. I no longer can and all that sustains my part of the friendship is nostalgia for a handful of good memories. And maybe there will be a time when we meet as different people and we've forgotten what drove us apart or healed from the traumas ruling our interaction, but it is not now and it is not a guarantee. I have a lot of life ahead of me and I cannot have it filled with people who resent me openly. I genuinely wish you the very best in life and I hope you get when you are looking for, but I will not be on the other end of the phone when that does or doesn't happen."

But one cannot do that. One has to just limit contact and hope the other party doesn't push you into having to tell them bluntly that they can no longer come over for play dates.

I haven't had to overtly tell many good friends that their services are no longer required, possibly from cowardice. Zack moved away to Indiana without telling most people. Conor stopped talking to me and has never responded to me since. Hannah joined the military and quietly unfriended me on Facebook at some point after, for reasons I never discovered. In high school, my best friend stole my first serious girlfriend away, so I lost friendships with both in one adolescent swoop. My friendship with my exes since stepped down from lovers to friends, there sticking between acquaintanceship and best friends who never see one another.

One really does have only a limited amount of energy and having the boundaries constantly tested ("If I do this, will he retaliate? If I tell him off, what happens?") is exhausting. I have been in abusive and twisted relationships before. I do not have any interest in prolonging those now. High school was a long time ago.

Largely, it does not even behoove one to speculate as to the origin of the wedge driving the two apart, because that is giving them more of your time and energy, more lost sleep and anxiety spent on someone who no longer seems worth the effort.

I miss some who have left my company in the past. I feel a lack of closure, but life is not about granting the needy senses of closure. I certainly do not wish ill on the heads of any who decided my friendship was simply no longer worth it, or that I inhabited a space in their life they felt the need to flee. (No matter that it isn't wise of a good use of mental faculties, it is unavoidable that the slightly introverted or thoughtful person will have summoned up a good and proper list of potential reasons.)

Soon in Xenology: Wedding planning. The perils of poverty.

last watched: Made in America: Crips and Bloods
reading: The Night Gwen Stacy Died
listening: Lorde

No Such Convention 2014 | 2014 | Art Sausage

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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