As I drove home from work today, I changed the radio station just as Trent Reznor's 'Hurt' started. By the time I heard, "Everyone I know goes away in the end" I was crying. It was the wrong song to be listening to at the wrong time.
There has been a steady flow of people leaving my life lately and it is killing me. I have walked away from friendships in the past, and it was never easy. Even when I did the walking, it hurt and I hated it. What kind of a person walks away from a friendship? What kind of a person builds and nurtures something and finally gives up when maintaining it becomes too exhausting?
And yet, people are walking away from me slowly and surely. People who have known me best and longest are leaving me, without a word or goodbye. It seems I don't even deserve that. I don't know what that says about me.
It started in February with Tall Lanky Guy. One day he was here celebrating my brother's birthday with us and introducing us to his boyfriend, asking me what I thought--insisting I tell him. Next day he was gone, not responding to my emails or phone calls. At first I thought he was busy catching up after his trip or getting ready for Persian New Year. But then my birthday/New Year rolled around and for the first time 16 years, he didn't call to wish me a happy birthday or a Happy New Year. At the time, it was icing on my unhappy birthday cake. I figured I must have said something--been too direct with my opinion when we last saw each other--so I called. And called and called. I left funny messages, sad messages and apologetic messages--I finally realized he really didn't want to talk to me. I couldn't tell one of my oldest friends that one of my newest friends had passed away. I couldn't joke about New Year parties and visits. I couldn't listen to his stories or make stupid jokes that he'd laugh at.
I didn't have my friend.
Since then at least two more have left me. People I loved have walked away; more are on their way out. I can't stop them. The hole in my chest is growing to the point it's making me numb. Sometimes at work I'll daydream of a different life that I tried to build for so long--a life shared with friends who had become my adoptive family; those in my life by choice and not by accident of birth. Then I'd be faced with the unpleasant reality that the only people left standing will be those who can't change me (fast) enough. Either way, the only thing I am left to believe is that I am unacceptable as I am.
And I couldn't censor myself for another day because of a song I was listening to during rush hour.