Frantically, maniacally, I tapped the ‘Call’ button on my phone for the 26th time in five hours. I was so wrought with fear, I didn’t even stop to consider the fact that my behavior could only be described as bat-shit crazy.
I continued texting, calling, and e-mailing to no avail. No response. It’d been over 48 hours since our last communication, and my anxiety-riddled brain was beginning to conjure images of fatal car accidents and unidentified, comatose, ‘John Doe’s’. In the entirety of our friendship, we’d never gone more than a few hours without speaking. Something must be terribly, horribly wrong.
After nearly four days of radio silence (and continued crazy-bitch behavior), I sent a ‘hail Mary’ text message – threatening a 2 1/2 hour drive to his side of the state to figure out if he was alive or dead and what the hell could have possibly gone wrong in the space of a few hours (super chill).
He responded with some variation of the following: ‘Ok, pump the breaks. I’m not mad at you and I’m ok. Having you here this weekend made me think about a lot of stuff and I need to distance myself for awhile and disconnect from the world.’
Immediate relief. He’s not laying in a ditch somewhere and he’s not angry with me. He wants some space…he wants to disconnect for a few days. I, of all people, empathize with such a sentiment. No biggie. My anxiety diminished and I felt thoroughly embarrassed for my behavior.
But here’s the thing…we haven’t spoken since.
I wish I could say I learned my lesson following my initial display of psychotic and incessant calls and messages. But true to fairly-typical-Brittany form, I did not. I’m the kind of person who has to hit a bump in the road three or four times before learning to swerve. It’s one of my not-so-adorable characteristics…hanging out in my collective self-improvement workshop.
After another week of silence, I was frantic again…only now, I was also really, really pissed. I wanted answers and had none. I called and sent messages in vain. In hindsight, I should just feel thankful having not been served a restraining order (haha…no, but really).
After experiencing many more days of what I perceived to be betrayal and rejection, my anger turned inward. I spent the following weeks spiraling into depression and angst. ‘What could I have possibly done wrong?’ ‘I must be a truly awful person.’ ‘I can’t even get my closest friend to explain his sudden disappearance.’
The details of our complicated, unconventional, and whirlwind friendship are too cumbersome to outline here. I’ll just say, he came into my life at my absolute lowest…almost immediately following my breakup. We clicked instantly and spent the next year talking around the clock. His situation was complicated; mine was devastating…we were both residing in deeply dark, difficult days and found solace in honesty with one another.
Having nothing to lose, we both put everything on the table. We shared our murkiest, most horrendous secrets…things we’d previously sworn to take to our graves. This person came to know me at my undeniable worst, but chose to see the best, and I rested easy in his presence. He made me laugh when I thought I’d never laugh again. He kept my mind off the unpleasant and focused on future possibilities. He allowed me to freak the f*ck out and cry and vent and I allowed him to do the same when need be. As I emerged from the fog of heartbreak, our friendship became far more light and joyous…spending time doing light and joyous friendship-y type things.
Now that he’s gone…for what I can only assume is an indefinite and potentially permanent way, I have, once again, been given the gift of syrupy introspection.
Here are my top three takeaways from my short but sweet best-friendship:
1. “Whatever comes, let it come. Whatever goes, let it go.” Terribly cliche, but entirely true. I obsessed for weeks over the answers I never received. But the truth is, we don’t always receive closure or answers. In fact, we rarely receive closure. Coming to terms with a lack of explanation is difficult and painful, but so often necessary. Worrying about the ‘why’ doesn’t change the ‘what.’ The truth remains: things change and people leave and sometimes it’s completely out of your control. Just as I’ve had to learn to ‘let it go,’ I learned that I need to work on the ‘let it come’ as well. To be honest, I allowed my all-consuming best-friendship to hinder additional potential relationships. All of my ‘friendship’ needs were met…I saw very little need to cultivate any more.
Which brings me to my next in-hindsight takeaway:
2. Women. When I hear a woman say something like, “I’ve never really gotten along with girls…” then post a chick-filled Instagram photo captioned, ‘Brunching with the besties!’ I cringe. Because they’re liars. And because again, it’s SUCH a terribly cliche and attention-seeking proclamation. Unfortunately, in my case, it’s 100% true. I don’t know if it’s because I grew up with three sisters or if it’s because I started becoming a serial-girlfriend at the age of 14, but I never developed strong relationships with women. I regret it deeply.
I refuse to accept this as my fate…and the dissolution of my latest companionship brought the issue to the forefront of my attention. After all, wasn’t a ‘best friendship’ between a heterosexual male and a heterosexual female doomed from the start? I’m not an idiot. I harbor no disillusion about the oddity of our connection…I think I sat in blissful denial for as long as humanly possible, but undoubtedly, it played into these severed ties in some way, shape, or form. Truthfully, women intimidate the shit out of me. Nevertheless, a year of memoir-reading, podcast-listening, and blog consumption has assured me of the following fact: like-minded women DO exist. And it is now my quest to find these like-minded women, befriend them, and hold them dear.
3. The universe will always provide exactly what you need for exactly as long as you need it. At the very beginning of our friendship, he asked me, ‘Do you believe in saving grace?’ and I was totally confused and confounded at such a random question. I replied with something generically poetic and moved the conversation along. Turns out, he was referring to my role in his life. He thought perhaps I was a saving grace, pertaining to his current difficult situation. It was a strange discussion two weeks into a brand-new relationship…but this was no ordinary friendship. Nevertheless, the saving grace thing always stuck with me.
As fate would have it, I was not his saving grace. He was mine. He saved me with hours and hours of FaceTime. He saved me with completely inappropriate but mutually-shared dark humor. He saved me with purpose at a time when I was earnestly questioning the importance of my very existence on this planet. He saved me with thousands and thousands of text messages. He saved me with smiles. He saved me with tears. He saved me with comfortable silence. He saved me with hugs so tight I could barely breathe. He saved me with conversations about morality, sex, relationships, religion, politics, career, pain, joy, embarrassment, regret, and the future. He saved me every single day for 16 months. And he was no accident.
I firmly believe the universe brought this human being into my life for a very purposeful reason…during an absolutely devastating season. The universe provided during my time of need, and if I’ve learned anything over the last year and a half, it is: this will always, always be the case. The universe will provide exactly what you need for exactly as long as you need it.
Perhaps our season is over. Perhaps we’ve completed our universal task for one another. Perhaps I’m strong enough now. Perhaps he’s strong enough now.
Whatever the case, I continue to be awed and humbled by this journey and the beauty of it all.
To you, should you ever stumble upon this post – thank you for being the sunshine after the storm.