The last time I spoke to my best friend, I had just gotten out of surgery for my fourth and final C-section. The texts from her were those of excitement and broken promises of being on the way to the hospital soon to meet her new nephew. We were close. Probably as close as two best friends could possibly be. All of my kids called her aunt, and she was at every major event and dance recital they had when they were younger.
The day I gave birth to my last child, I expected nothing different. I expected she would pop up at the hospital before the anesthesia fully wore off, and I would give her a painful but welcomed hug. I imagined she would peek into the bassinet before washing her hands and picking up my fresh newborn . . . but it didn’t happen that way.
Instead of being greeted by the bright smile and giddy squeals of my best friend, I was left with a text that said, “I’ll see you soon sweetie,” after asking for my room number and if all was well.
She never showed.
I texted her the day I got out of the hospital to let her know we were leaving, but she never responded. I called a few times during the loneliness of those first few weeks at home when I really could’ve used a hug and someone to talk to other than the tiny human depending on me for nourishment, but she never answered. In fact, after my son safely entered the world, I never heard from her again.
In the first weeks and months, I thought maybe she was going through something and was not in a place to be a good friend. I’ve been there, we have all been there. I continued to reach out offering whatever support I could give in whatever circumstance she was fighting. I wanted to be there for her.
I hoped and prayed she was OK and not slipping into a depression as she has done in the past.
For nearly a year, I held the door open and occasionally reached out to let her know I was still there for her, but I have yet to hear back. My son just turned two years old and has never gotten to know her. My older children stopped asking me to call her to see why she was no longer showing up. We all just stopped wondering what happened. It was something I struggled with mostly because my children were hurting, but once their pain and curiosity diminished, so did mine.
Then something happened to my thought process on the matter.
I realized my best friend of two decades was toxic. I started thinking back over our friendship when I recognized my life had been free of unnecessary drama since she exited stage right without so much as a wave.
There are no longer any late-night phone calls crying for me to pick her up from whatever situation she had gotten herself into. There were no more requests to borrow money, catch a ride, or lie to her boyfriend or husband should they suspect she was up to anything they wouldn’t approve of. There is no longer this secondary heartbreak for the people she charmed into believing whatever story she concocted, and no rousing for me to go along with it.
When the dust settled on this ghosting, I realized, rather late I must add, that she did me a favor.
She released me from a friendship I felt obligated to contort myself to fit into after I had long outgrown it.
We began to be mismatched by the end of year 10, but we and when I say we I mean I was loyal. She had ghosted me on several different occasions but always blamed it on her current relationship, and she always came back within a few months. I guess this time it just stuck.
I received the message and moved on. My world seems a little less chaotic, while at the same time feels a little more lonely. Having someone be your go-to person your entire adult life, suddenly no longer be there is a big adjustment.
I have wonderful friends. Friends who show up when I call. Friends whose friendship feels reciprocal. They don’t ask me to lie and they love my quirks as I love theirs, but it’s not the same as having your person. I’m sure at some point she’ll reach back out, but now I understand some things are meant for a season and not a lifetime.