I should’ve known when we were 12. After all, you are a master at canceling plans last minute. Sometimes, you won’t bother canceling them at all. When we were 13, you make plans with me to meet you at the movie theater to watch Ratatouille. So I show up, and wait for you — and pretty much wait for you to never show up.
I end up watching the movie alone. My mom picks me up when the movie ends and asks where you are. I lie and tell her you’d left already.
Nowadays, I won’t hear from you for months. I’ll text you to ask how you’re doing, to ask if you want to grab a bite, or see a movie; more often than not, I don’t get a response. I end up wondering if I did something wrong.
Then you’ll text me two weeks later, when it’s convenient for you, to let me know that you and your boyfriend have had another falling out. You say you want to go out and get drinks at a bar, to get totally shitfaced. And at the time, I’m too shortsighted and naïve to realize that this won’t last long. I am pathetically on the edge of desperation because I genuinely miss you and want to know how you’re doing, so I go along with your plans anyway.
But I don’t see you for more then five minutes before you end up hooking up with an old friend from high school. I don’t want to interrupt, or be a killjoy so I walk home by myself, and text you to let me know you’re okay.
You don’t text me, and the only reason why I know you’re alive is because the next morning, I see a picture of you and your boyfriend, back together, eating brunch on Instagram with a Jack Johnson lyric as the caption.
I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to realize, but our friendship is basically a shitty broken record of the same conversations and same last minute plans.
When we see each other, you first ask me how my mom and dad are doing because you know they’ve had troubles in the past. And I tell you for the sixth or seventh time that my parents are divorced, and have been divorced for almost two years. Then you’ll make a seamless transition into the topic of your dating life — particularly if there’s anyone I could set you up with.
The cycle repeats. You’ll call me up out of the blue after three months of ignoring my texts, ask to go to the bar, and get totally wasted because — again — you’ve had another falling out with your boyfriend. We’ll have the same conversation. Again. You’ll ask about my mom and dad. Again. And I’ll give you the same answer. Again.
At some point, I’ve finally had enough and I tell you how I feel — that I feel like you’re pushing me away, that you don’t value our friendship, and that sometimes you just use me as a placeholder whenever you have a falling out with your boyfriend. You get all defensive and tell me I have too many feelings — that it’s honestly really not a big deal — that I should stop overanalyzing everything so much — that I can be so stupid sometimes.
At first, I’m pretty pissed. But then I kind of half-laugh and tell you I understand. Because I do — I get it now. I just feel so dumb for taking so long to realize.
So I leave. And I feel good walking home alone for once. The truth is — and maybe I learned this the hard way — some people have everything, and have a tendency to take more. And when they take more, they tend to forget exactly what they had in the first place.