Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Odd Man Out

Mel posted last week about the unexpected and upsetting end of a friendship, an end that came out of nowhere and for which no explanation was given. Her post resonated with me, bringing me back to a much earlier time in my own life, to an age at which friendships often exist in a state of flux and end abruptly. I was a sensitive kid, though, and the experience still sticks with me, twenty-five or so years later.

In the first grade, I had a few best friends, one of whom was a girl named Sarah. One afternoon in the summer between first and second grade, I was at her house, me and another girl, D. The three of us decided to play baseball in the yard, and we needed bases. We agreed each to contribute our left shoe to the cause. But there were only three, and we needed a home plate. Sarah looked at me and informed me that my other shoe would be home plate. In that moment, there was no request and no doubt, and Sarah was the alpha girl in our little group. So I took off my shoe. And when I got home I cried, recognizing the moment of that demand, or perhaps the moment of my acquiescence, as the end of my friendship with Sarah. And it was. She stopped returning my phone calls, started turning down my requests to play, and no longer spoke to me at school.

Twenty-five years later, it still hurts. I still wonder what happened -- was I too weak? too aloof? just not cool enough? I google her every now and again -- she went to Dartmouth and is married with a child. We have three Facebook friends in common, and I wonder who, since I moved away after the fifth grade and only have one Facebook friend dating back to that period (oddly, D -- we have remained in touch for the past twenty years, albeit somewhat superficially). I have resisted the urge to message her, or friend request her. I can't imagine that she has any recollection of that day, or even her friendship with me. Which is sad, since that one moment is one I've replayed over and over and over again, wondering whether there was something I could or should have done differently, never questioning whether I would even have wanted to.


Jen said...

I moved so often growing up that I don't know anyone from that time period anymore. In fact, I barely know anyone from high school anymore.

My vote is she was not cool enough and was threatened by your awesomeness.

mo*reezy said...

I agree with Jen.

And I hardly know ANYONE from high school because a) I've moved way far away, and b) they mostly sucked.