What's the worst feeling in the world? My main character's answer (and mine):
"Losing someone. In any way."
I grew up in small town West Texas and had the same group of friends from the time I was three, with one major exception in my friend Robyn. When I decided to go out of state for college, I found myself in completely unfamiliar surroundings. I didn't know a soul.
Somewhat as a result, my freshman year roommate Larkin and I became instant best friends. And then we had a falling out. Which is its own story and not the one I'm telling.
After we graduated, we both moved to LA (she a few months after I did), and we became close again. That's another long(ish) story, but suffice it to say, after some time passed, I realized that while I called her a lot to hang out, she didn't call me so much.
So I put the friendship to a test. I stopped calling her to see how long it would take before she called me.
She didn't. So I walked away from the friendship. I crashed a party she had one night. I spent more time comparing chin scars with Matthew Perry than talking to her.
It was her going-away party before she moved to San Francisco.
Almost a year after that night at her apartment where I said to her, "I'm crashing your party," and she said, "I'm glad," she died suddenly from a congenital heart defect that had never been diagnosed. At 28. We hadn't spoken in at least a year.
I used to dream about Larkin all the time. She'd raise her hand in a wave. She'd smile the smile she always had on her face even when she was sad. She wore her clothes from freshman year. The black and white dress from Betsey Johnson. She'd be on swings. By escalators. She never spoke.
I saw her in real life too - for a really long time. Everywhere I went. Only it wasn't her. But it always took me a while to remember.
And I hated myself for never just asking her to coffee. A drink. Dinner. Whatever. Trying to figure out what had happened to us. Where the breakdown occurred. Understanding why she stopped calling instead of the choosing not to call myself.
Her 35th birthday would have been the end of this month. I would give anything to be able to pick up the phone and wish her a happy birthday.
Though I can never resolve what happened with Larkin, I have always tried to carry the lesson I learned into other relationships.
When a friendship breaks down, I do everything I can to repair it, even if it's my fault. Even if the fault is equal. Even if the fault lies heavily with the other person.
Because I miss people.
Because I hate losing someone, in any way.
Because I love people, maybe sometimes when I shouldn't. I don't know.
The problem is that you can't control other people. You can't make them tell you why they don't want to be friends with you anymore. With some, you know. You've screwed up too many times. And whether they've screwed up a thousand times more than you have, you still understand. They forgive their own moments (half the time they don't even recognize them); but they don't forgive yours. And while you can't help but care about them - as much as you might want to stop - they don't care about you anymore.
Perhaps the problem is I forgive their moments, too. I forgive almost anything.
Sometimes, even when the unforgivable point has hit, I still forgive. And I find myself having to remind myself of the bad parts of them, the bad things they've done or said, rather than forget, simply for self-preservation.
But sometimes, you aren't given the explanation. Someone walks away. And you just don't know why.
You can try.
You can try as you like. You can try as many times as you like. And it won't make any difference. You don't get an answer. You're just out.
I hate losing someone. In any way.
I miss people.
Sometimes I wish I didn't. But mostly, even when it hurts, I'd rather try. I'd rather forgive. I'd rather miss someone than walk away.
Sometimes, you don't have a choice.