even though I was never abandoned as a child.
N called last night. Yes, that would be N of N&A AKA: They Who Have Chosen to Abandon Us. Though A abandoned us at the beginning of January, we had thought that N would stay by us through May. No. Through a wonderful stroke of fate their house sold (for full price and with no effort on her part) and she will be moving to Portland to be with A on the 18th of February. 2 weeks from tomorrow, y'all.
I am happy for her. I AM. It's been very hard on her to stay here by herself and take care of loose-ends. She's missed A a great deal. And A is SO HAPPY in Portland; the move was obviously the best thing for her to do. And yet... I'm selfish. As I was congratulating N on the phone and talking about how wonderful it was, I just wanted to cry. This is too soon. I'm not prepared for it. I haven't hardened my heart against them (or thrown away all things that remind me of them, or scratched their faces out of all our photographs, or photo-shopped them out of all our pictures) or adjusted to thinking of them as beyond reach. Just the other day I picked up the phone to see if they wanted to go to dinner, only to put it back down when I realized that, no, they wouldn't be able to go to dinner. A doesn't live here anymore and N is crazy-busy packing. At that point it was sad, but mostly just "Oh, we'll catch up with N later, she'll be around for a while." But now we won't. Like I said before, when I meet a good friend I pull them into my circle of family. I feel like I'm losing a pair of sisters. And yet I also know that they are NOT sisters, and are thus not obligated to return our phonecalls. They can move to Portland and just disappear.
I know that won't really happen, I know our friendship isn't over. We've tentatively planned 3 trips together to take place during the next year and a half: a visit to them in August (with a side trip to Seattle for a little S&M), a week in Hawaii in the Fall or early Winter, and a meeting at Kristin's sister's cabin in North Carolina sometime next spring or summer. But anything could happen between now and then. And I guess I'm mourning the loss of two such good in-town friends. Friends you can call up and go to dinner or just hang out with. We're throwing them a goodby breakfast tomorrow morning (A's flying in to help pack the house) and then they're off, back to packing everything up. We may see N one more time before she moves.
Can I feel sorry for myself without really wanting them to stay here all miserable and stressed out? Yes, yes I can.
When they first announced that they were moving Kristin and I joked about auditioning replacements. We talked about making Merrilee and Summer (they of Clawing for Companionship fame) our new best friends and it's true that once N&A are all-the-way gone we will have more time to hang out with Merrilee and Summer. But really, Summer and Merrilee have already created a special place in our lives; we adore them independently of our feelings for N&A. If Summer and Merrilee were moving we'd feel just as bad. They can't fill the gaping maw of pain that N&A's absence creates. And it hurts so much that the only part I can really encompass right now is that now we'll have no one to watch Battlestar Galactica with. I've been joking (when N isn't around) that the worst thing about their leaving is that we'll have to go get cable and we can't really afford it,** but that's not really true (please tell me you all don't think I'm so selfish and shallow that you're all sitting there thinking "Whatever, that is so totally true. That is EXACTLY what she is most upset about, all this other stuff is just a big lie so we don't think she's as bad a person as she so obviously is."). I'm going to mis so much more. Thus, we need to have auditions in order to plug up that hole quckly and seamlessly:
WANTED: One lesbian couple to be our New Best Friends.
Qualifications: Must love our child. Must like "sophisticated" things without being a pretentious snob (being a little snobby in a self-conscious way is a plus, but not necessary) that way we can feel "sophisticated" sometimes, too without being made to feel bad because we so obviously aren't. Must be flexible enough to accommodate our ever-changing schedule. Must not mind that we run a bit late. Must be capable of engaging in deep and deeply passionate conversations without ever taking oneself too, too seriously. Must not get upset when Julia pukes on your new couch. Must love our dogs. Must be easy-going and intelligent. Must love to take hikes up above the city in order to enjoy picnics of wine and cheese and olives and bread as the sun sets over the valley. Must be the kind of people who would remember to bring a flashlight so we can all find our way down the mountain after dark. Must be kind, generous, and considerate. Must be capable of letting loose and being silly. Must not try to suck us into co-dependent behavior. Must be able to say what they need from us in return. Must have cable and be huge fans of Battlestar Gallactica and want nothing more than to have us come watch it with you. Must think that everything I say is funny, or deeply moving, or completely "right on".
Ok, I was going a bit far with those last two sentences. Still, any takers? Or are we asking too much? All I can say is that it's a good thing Lauri's coming to visit next weekend. And that we have plans with Summer and Merrilee every day of the weekend that N&A are officially moving out of town. Friends, if you know me through some way other than this blog, I am sorry, but I may be a bit needier for the next couple of weeks. Consider yourselves warned.
*by the way, Kristin and I refer to EVERYONE we like a lot as some sort of best friend (i.e., Best Internet Friend with a baby in Florida, Best Single Friend, Best Indian Food Friend, Best Go Off and Do Crazy Things Friend, Best Stalker Friend, Best Saturday Breakfast Friend, etc) so the word "best" doesn't really place our friends into a hierarchical order per se, though we would have to say that N&A are our best BEST friends as well as being our best daily friends, and so losing their proximity is just that much sadder.
** and then I wonder that if we can't afford cable, how can we affort to pay for plane tickets to Hawaii???