Are they destined to end?
Are some friendships just for a season?
Whenever I meet new people I wonder … what attracts them to me? Me to them?
Why does a friendship develop … why does a friendship end?
One such friend, we will call ‘Em’. I was a teenager when I first met Em. We were both young girls in a country far from home. We were living the dream in New York. We were bound to become each others’ support system.
Em and I were cousins a few times removed.
As a younger teen, I had spent one year on the Caribbean island of Antigua living with my aunt. My mother had insisted. She thought it would be a way to gain some experience. She said I needed a change of environment and a chance to ‘see something of the world’ before marriage.
My mother had gotten married when she was 19 years old. That marriage subsequently produced my sister and me and by the time it hit the five-year mark had died … painfully.
So here I was, engaged to be married at nineteen and my mother in a rare show of stubbornness decided I should “leave town” before the final decision. She wanted me to avoid the same pitfalls.
I was on the first plane out to Antigua, to the care of my aunts and uncles.
Back to Em and I.
Em’s mother lived in Antigua and was a friend of my aunt and through that relationship, I came to learn we were cousins.
So when I emigrated to the USA one cold February day, I was armed with a telephone number for Em. She was a few years older than me. I had been given strict instructions to get in contact with her and for us to be friends!
So dutifully a few months later I called Em. She, I would learn later had also been given similar instructions, so we planned a meeting.
We decided to meet on the train going to Manhattan. Since my stop was at the end of the service line I would get on the train first. Sometime later Em would get on the train.
I tried to imagine what she would look like since I had no photographs to go by. We had predetermined that I would wait at the first car, no cell phones back then, lol.
Can you imagine, no cell phones, however, did we live! Anyways we recognized each other and a friendship began.
Em, and I remained great friends and the years passed. We have supported and loved each other through all types of life changes. Em never got married or birthed any children, not because she did not want to, because she desperately did, more so than I, but somehow it never worked out for her. Very sad.
This friendship lasted throughout the decades, she became a ‘sister’ to me and an essential member of my close family. She is the godmother to my first child now twenty-three years old. She has babysat for me while I traveled abroad for my grandmother’s funeral. She had always been there.
We have laughed, cried, fought, made up, and through it all we were always there. Always friends.
So why did our friendship end? I’m sure dear Em is as perplexed as I.
I left New York for Texas in 2010 due to some life circumstances. Em was there with me the day before I left, sitting on my bed as I packed. Yet I moved here and I never called Em again and she never called me.
It was never a conscious thought, life just kept on going and I kept forgetting to call. Time passed, one year, then two…
There was no discernible unease, absolutely no bad feelings on my end and I don’t believe any on her end either.
But why did we part? I do not know. Intermittently I get asked by my family, “what happened with you and Em?”
I have no answers. I simply do not know…
Why do friendships start? Why do they end?
Is their purpose sometimes just a temporary respite for one, or both?
Is this respite just for a season?
Why not for a lifetime?