I'm sure we all have a few friendships that have fallen by the wayside in our lives. Whether they were the sort that were short lived or the sort that you were sure would last a life time, but somehow petered out matters not because sometimes these things leave a 'what if' stamped on your heart. Like all 'What If's that you haven't completely let go, you can only brush them under the rug for a while before they inevitably resurface asking you how you could have salvaged things or how things would be if you just bumped into each other on the streets. Would you pretend not to know each other? Stop for a quick awkward conversation? Or would it feel as if things had never fallen apart in the first place.
In my just over a quarter century of life I've had quite a few friends and twice as many acquaintances, the majority of which were made during my school years and drifted away when those years ended. I still have a handful of these friends in my life now, two of them are people I've been friends with for 20+ years. I made a few friends at work and at college and some of the best times I've ever had were with a few of those friends. I have so many photos of us laughing it up, causing mischief and just hanging out that it's hard to believe that those people are no longer in my life as anything more than a friend of a friend. Other, older friends, have become even less than that... simply ghosts and shadows from the formative years of my life.
Do I think about these specters of friendships past often? Normally, no. I used to cringe when they were brought up in conversation, a verbal pebble thrown at me causing me to flinch, but not an longer. I no longer get sad or wistful over photographs or lose myself in the wondering of what life would be like if I still had these friends.
I wouldn't be thinking about them today either, but I had one of those gripping and vivid dreams that can be so real that you're unable to convince yourself it's a dream until you manage to manifest something outrageous, like a flying pink elephant. One dream, two of the biggest phantoms in my 'what if' catalogue and the wondering of it all continues in to the morning. I was sure I had let go and come to terms with the fact that both of these friendships, while important and seemingly vital to my livelihood at two points in my life, have been long gone. Perhaps the extreme difficulty I'm having meeting people and making friends here is dragging up the memories; I've been feeling lonely having only managed to go out with someone other than Joe or his friends twice in the past seven months. I love my husband and love spending time with him but I'm used to having friends over for game nights, going out for coffee or a pint to chat, or just getting together for no real reason at all at least once or twice a week. Going from having several very good friends and doing things regularly, to having not a one is lonely.
Perhaps the phantoms were dredged up by these feelings since they were part of some of the best periods of my life, perhaps they weren't. I know that this morning I am grateful for coffee, custom orders and my upcoming craft show to keep me busy and Gogol Bordello to raise my spirits and distract me, otherwise I might spend my day in the wonderings of the 'what if's.