The Bitch Ponders, Part 5


Before I left for the conference I was talking to L about the Friend Who Will Not Friend Me on Facebook because she's been mad at me since the Carter Administration, and L said calmly, Maybe she was a friend for a season.
A friend for a season.
Yes, she said, some people are just friends for a season. When the season's over, you have time and space for more friends.
It sounds like clearing out your closet of old clothes so that you'll have room for new ones. What is so precious about old friends anyway?
They remember the same things you do, even if they remember differently.
At lunch with my old friend A, we talked about how in 1984 we stayed in S's house in San Salvador, and I said, How did that happen? And she said, You were friends with him, you arranged it.
It must have been so, though I have no recollection about how I made arrangements with S for us to get into his house when he was gone. Gone where? On assignment somewhere in Latin America. I remember that he and another foreign correspondent, J, maybe his lover? we wondered, arrived just as we were leaving. I know that I knew who he was. Maybe we were friends. Or friendly acquaintances.
There's someone else from that long-ago newsroom who is now living here and I can' remember: How friendly were we? What I really mean is: Does he remember me? I must have spoken with him but I don't remember ever going out with him in a group or talking to him at a party, though I must have. We were all, as one editor liked to put it, insecure over-achievers, in our twenties and thirties and we worked hard and some of us suspected that the Glory Days had ended when an iconoclastic editor had left (just before I got there). In his place were corporate citizens. Now of course we look back and see that those days in the mid-80s were the glory days, when the Miami Herald was much much fatter, and the Sunday magazine still existed, on glossy newsprint, and the Miami News still existed as a spindly competitor, and Management gave us money to travel to do national stories when there was really no good reason to do them except some editor's whim. And I wrote some good things but I was wrapped and cloaked and covered and corseted by anxiety. If only there had been SSRIs in those days! I did take an anti-depressant for a spell, which gave me cotton mouth and buoyed me up some but ultimately didn't do the job. I remember telling M at the next desk that I was taking them. (My reunion with M after 26 years is covered in the previous post.)
***
Old friends give you back part of your life. They remember what you were like. They burrow deep into you. If you're lucky.

4 comments:

Robyn Levy said...

I agree. Old friends not only give you back part of your old life, they can help guide you along in your new life. Especially after cancer.

cancer bitch said...

And I've found that you don't know how some friends will react. Some will be especially attentive and some will fall away, and then someone you don't know well will make you lasagna.
C. Bitch

Anonymous said...

Can I quote your last paragraph and with kudos to you and post on FB? Or would that be too dramatic? Susan C.

Northwestern MA/MFA said...

sure.
c. bitch