The first friend who reached out was returning my call, returning his call…from August, (hey, it was August 2012, at least). I came to find out my friend got a huge promotion at work. Also, he and his husband just bought a new house. Oh, and one more little thing…his husband is in the hospital recovering from emergency surgery. He’s going to be okay, thank God, but geez, where was I all this whole time? Not helping, or offering support, or calling to say, “I’m thinking about you.” I did think about them, all the time, but for some reason or other I couldn’t find five minutes to shoot off an email.
The next friend called to say he and his spouse were dining out recently, (a rare date night away from their two young sons), discussing friends they hadn’t seen in too long, and guess whose name came up? I immediately realized the dinner out would have been on account of his BIRTHDAY, (which I missed, because I suck). Facebook keeps offering to handle birthdays for me, but it wants access to my address book in order to do the honors, and I’m worried this ends up with everyone I know getting spammed or hacked and un-friending me forever. Anyway, my friend graciously assured me he has no clue of my birth date either, and no plan to get me flowers, a card or anything else unless there is a party involved, so that’s our new rule. He went on to explain that he’d been in the grocery store a few weeks ago and run into another friend who basically said, “You never call, you never visit…I’ve written you off as a friend!” The encounter inspired a guilt-induced resolution to make more effort maintaining his important relationships.
I told him to consider me the cactus in his friendship garden. No, not because I’m prickly, or hard to get close to. I’m neither, I promise. I just don’t need a lot of water or fertilizer. And, frankly, isn’t that the beauty of deep, abiding friendships? You can go weeks, (okay, months), without exchanging a word, but then, as soon as you do connect, pick up exactly where you left off. Or is that just the lazy, slightly reclusive part of me talking?