If you are my friend, we have a serious relationship. In my life I haven’t had many friends. I’ve had a lot of acquaintances, and thousands of people who know me, Thanks to Face Book, many of these people are now called friends, I prefer the terminology of LinkedIn, “connections”. There have been far too many misunderstandings over friends. I’ve friended many people who I would not normally socialize with, and when they finally push the envelope too far with personal insults, I “defriend” them, with some minor degree of remorse. On one occasion, a “friend” was providing information about me to an actual enemy. The wanker would twist the information into attacks on someone who is actually a friend, so I had to block the friend, who was then pissed off at me. That she could not recognize that being a friend involves not selling out your friends friends was when I realized how perverted the word friend had become.
It is my idea that we should spend as much energy reaching out to people as we do shutting people out. I don’t think it’s an even trade, it seems so much easier to hurt people than to comfort people. Reduce it to language, how many times this week have you said “F*** you”, and how many times have you said “I’m sorry”?
Apologies require strength. Insults require anger.
It seems that relationships have become meaningless. Devotion and loyalty are words in films. I once dated a woman, she was much younger than I, and there were many things I found attractive about her. One day I told her I loved her, and she said “I love you too, in my own way”. Another woman I had known was much more clear, “This isn’t love, this is fun. I like you a lot, but I don’t love you”. I appreciated the second woman’s honesty, and in fact felt much closer to her. “I love you in my own way” was more like a slap in the face. “I’ll call it love, but it obviously isn’t” would have been more accurate.
Love is a powerful emotion. It engenders devotion, loyalty, even sacrifice. It involves sharing, a shedding of ego, the ability to be one. There is nothing bad about love, and if you think there is, you’re not in love.
I loved Emma, and she loved me. We had our differences (she voted for Obama) and different ways of dealing with things. We learned from each other, I altered myself, she altered herself, we grew together. She trusted me to be able to fix anything, and although I couldn’t fix her cancer, she didn’t lose faith in me. I comforted her and helped her through her final year, rarely leaving her side. We laughed together, even on her last night, and I held her when she said “I just can’t fight anymore”. She said it honestly, not crying or angry, she didn’t say “goodbye”, she just relaxed in my arms with our hands locked together. The nurses came in on their rounds, or maybe I screamed when she stopped breathing. They took her vitals and called her time, never asking me to let go of her. Later I couldn’t, rigor mortis had set in and I had to pry her fingers from mine.
I never want to do that again, but I would like to think that Lieve would hold me and comfort me when my time is up. A gentle, peaceful passing is all I care to receive from what is left of my life, the other things are less important. Not that I’m in a rush, I’d just like that to look forward to.
I try (and often fail) to extend friendship to everyone, My threshold for betrayal is admittedly low, but I do have the ability to forgive, often more than once. I don’t expect people to be perfect, but I do expect people to better themselves. Oddly, most attempts seem to bring out the worst rather than the best. In all honesty, I would have no trouble living as a hermit, perhaps that would be better for everyone.