They gave me a place to stay when I got kicked out, food to eat during school lunch when there was none to bring from my house. They were there when I graduated high school, sent me off when I moved away with tears and promises to come and visit. I watched them graduate from high school. And college. And graduate school. There have been countless phone calls and jobs and letters and boyfriends and apartments and roommates. I've visited. They've visited. I've watched one get married and another settle into a serious relationship. After Katrina, it was they who conspired to rescue me from my ever-worsening depression and bring me to New York, who put me up on couches and bought me pajamas and welcomed me to my new home.
They are the family that I slowly built for myself because my actual family really wasn't one, not in any way that I could depend on, not then. And now that I have something supposedly happy and exciting to share with them, they have vaporized. Enormous things are happening in my life; they're uninterested in talking to me about them. Enormous things are happening in their lives; I find out through friends of friends, through myspace. How did this happen?
Yes, friends grow apart. I know this. Of the people I've felt close to in the past 15 years, the lost can be counted tenfold, perhaps more, for each that remains. But these were my people, the ones who have stuck through thick and thin (and believe me, mostly thick) and somehow all at once they're gone.
Or maybe all at once I'm forced to admit it. I was at least in part only fooling myself in thinking that we were still close. With the exception of being taken care of during the flood, over the last few years I've been snubbed easily five times as often as I've been included. But I truly believed that when it came to something big, something important, it would snap back.
Like, say, for an engagement.
Or the death of a parent.
Or the purchase of a house.
All three of these things have happened in the past two months, but I seem to be the only one even remotely interested in sharing.
So I guess it's time. Time to give up my delusions about these relationships. To understand what my role is in these people's lives, regardless of what they mean to me. To stop trying to force a closeness that is no longer wanted.
* * * * * * * * * *
When I first started to think about having a wedding, I was struck with a panic. It mainly revolved around a feeling of being utterly alone. Perhaps I have friends, and I have my sister, but most people are at least a few states away - meaning that there's not a whole lot they'll be able to do as far as helping me put together an event. I would be taking on this huge task by myself. Of course every book I picked up gushed on how the bride couldn't possibly have done it without the help of her amazing network of friends and family - lucky her, I'd think, shortly followed by I'm completely screwed. Well, I was talked down. I was convinced that I'd have plenty of support.
But I'm not so sure any more. We've been engaged for two months, and it feels very much like every other project I've ever tried to involve other people in. There's an initial half-hearted statement of interest, followed by deafening and complete silence. Yes, I know how far away the wedding still is. But is it common to wait two months to tell a friend of 10+ years oh hey, congrats on the engagement, sure I'll be a bridesmaid? At least one of the people I wanted for this role is avoiding me like the plague. I'm beginning to think it was very foolish of me to have ever been taken in by the false sense of security that wishful thinking can bring. I'm pretty sure my initial feeling, that that kind of thing is for other people, was much more on target with reality.
I'm thinking now that if there is any kind of wedding at all, it will be a much smaller affair than even the modest 50 guests we'd been thinking about. Like, 10 maybe. I don't want to spend that kind of money when all it's going to do is guilt people into coming to an event that they don't really care about. The families will come; at this point I really don't know who else. I truly feel like everyone else I know just doesn't want to be bothered. So you know what? I'm not going to bother them. I'm tired of bothering people. I'd rather just be quiet.