File this under personal stuff – so feel free to tune out if this doesn’t interest you.
Several years ago, my once-upon-a-time best friend and I had a falling out. Without going into all the various and gnarled details, suffice it to say that she said some pretty hurtful things, and I chose to end the relationship.
My husband and I golf in the same league with her husband. She doesn’t typically come to the league night, but she will come to play in the tournaments. In other words, about three times a year, we run into each other. For the past two years, I’ve successfully avoided having to talk to her. It’s really pretty easy because there are usually anywhere between 24 and 36 people around – lots of people to talk to without looking like I’m avoiding anyone.
I know how it sounds. It sounds petty and immature. Yup. I realize that avoiding speaking to someone isn’t typically the best way to handle things, but I really wouldn’t have anything to say to this woman any way. And it certainly isn’t as if she goes out of her way to speak to me, either.
No – this isn’t us.
All of that changed today. Our league had a tournament at the Hobble Creek Golf Course (absolutely a lovely, and wretched course). Much to my surprise, this woman and her husband came to the tournament. Surprise, because I had been told they were in the Dominican Republic. Apparently they came home earlier than anyone suspected. I was standing about 30 feet away from her, getting tees and balls out of my golf bag, when she spotted me and made a bee line in my direction. Yes, the thought of running quickly away crossed my mind. I no more wanted a confrontation with the woman than I want a root canal without anesthesia. But before my brain could fully engage, there she was.
“I have to tell you something funny,” she said to me.
“What on earth for?” I said. I really was taken aback by this.
“While I was at this resort, they had a fruit and vegetable carving demonstration.”
I knew right where this was going. About eight years ago, my husband and I joined this couple at a resort in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. One afternoon, the entertainment featured a demonstration by the chef. He carved radish roses and zucchini chrysanthemums. One of the staff would stick the designs on bamboo picks and walk through the audience, showing them off. Ducks were carved from jicima, parsnips became fish, and carrots were shaved, bent, and pinned into Bird of Paradise flowers. The oddest thing about it – well, all of it was odd since she and I had tossed back a few margaritas – were the German couples who oohed and ahhhed and took video and digital pictures of the whole thing.
We laughed ourselves silly for weeks after that and the mere mention of radishes.
So there in the Dominican Republic, she stumbled into this Felini-esque situation again, only this time she took pictures.
“I had to,” she told me. “No matter what’s gone on between us, I had to share that with you. I’m going to email you the pictures.”
“Oh,” was all I managed to say.
It’s sort of a paradox to me: on the one hand, she wants to recall this hysterically funny moment from one of the best times of our friendship. On the other hand, she made absolutely no gesture toward repairing the relationship at all. I tried, diligently, for two years to repair that relationship. I apologized for anything and everything, for things I didn’t even think I needed to apologize for. I sent her a birthday gift, which she ignored, and when I asked if she’d received it, she accused me of accusing her of being ungrateful (I just seriously wanted to know if it had arrived). When her mother passed away, I sent flowers and a card. Eventually, I gave up and decided that the relationship was gone. I mourned it, I moved on. Hmm.
And now I’m stuck as to how to respond. I considered blocking her email, but I figured that was really immature. I thought about leaving the door open to talking to her, but ending that friendship was almost as bad as getting a divorce. I let go of the anger I had toward her a long time ago, but much like with my ex-husband, I’m not certain I completely trust the motives here. Afterall, once you’ve been burned by a hot stove, you’re not really inclined to want to stick your fingers there again.
The whole episode has created a little bit of weirdness in an already chaotic life. I’m sure I’ll be able to draw upon this in the future for something in a book, but right now, it’s just that uncomfortable oddness that tries to sit in the chair with you and follows you around for a few days. This, too, shall pass.