After our last, and decidedly unpleasant, phone conversation, our friendship was finished. Neither of us made any attempt to contact the other. We even crossed paths once at a local event a year or so later, and pointedly ignored one another. This brings us up to:
Phase 4: The Reconnect
Time passed, and nearly two years after the "final phone call", I still thought of Sue from time to time. Wondering how such a committed friendship came to such an ugly end. It had become ugly though, and I never once regretted that it was over.
Sue didn't feel the same way. When Christmas came around, I received a box in the mail. It was forwarded from my parents' house. Inside was a Christmas gift...from Sue: the non-giftgiver. Not only had she taken the time and expense to send me a gift, but the box contained three beautiful angel ornaments--something I had been collecting for several years.
Wow. Not only a gift, but a thoughtful gift! I confess, it was pretty mind-blowing. I mean, the girl had only thought of herself at all times during those last years of friendship. Sure, in the accompanying letter Sue blamed the collapse of our friendship on her douche-bag co-worker, and took no responsibility herself for taking his side with no questions asked. But here's what it all came down to, I don't like holding a grudge. I'm quick to forgive, and quick to leave the past in its place, when the other person involved wants to move forward.
Sue did want to move forward. She was sorry it had all fallen apart. Couldn't we be friends again?
We could. Now that she was showing the more humble and considerate side of herself, I had no reason to shut her out. Still, it was a slow process. I didn't fully trust her right away. However, over the next year+, though we were no longer living in the same area, we began to keep in fairly regular contact through snail mail, and the occasional phone call. We even got together again whenever I happened to be back in her area.
Phase 5: The Attempted Fix
Many months into the mending of our friendship, I was ready to declare her my true friend again, via a grand gesture. I asked her to be a bridesmaid in my wedding, which was to be in July, still eleven months away. There would only be three attendants; one of my sisters, also the girl who was my new best friend (See more on her in my next Frenemy Blog post, "Frenemy #2"), and Sue. I felt Sue and I had reached the point where our friendship had healed. By asking her to be in my wedding, the friendship would be solidified forever. It was a big deal for me to ask her. A huge deal. Sue said she was "honored" and of course she would accept the invitation to participate.
A few months later though, I knew something was wrong. I wasn't hearing from Sue as much. When we did communicate, she never let on that anything was out of the ordinary, other than some complaints about her husband (formerly the 'ever-present' boyfriend).
By December I knew she wouldn't show to my wedding. She didn't say it, or imply it with anything she did say. But I'd known her a lot of years, and her behavior strongly reeked of the "I'm going to back out/blow you off" variety. I refused let her off so easily by saying it for her. If she was going to back out, she would have to have the courage, and decency, to say it herself.
She never did say it. It was like pulling teeth to get her to send her measurements for the bridesmaid dress I was having made, but she finally did send them, and still there was no comment about possibly not coming.
Two weeks before my wedding, Sue still hadn't sent money for her dress, or booked a flight. I got my new sister-in-law-to-be, as a last minute replacement. Sue, of course, didn't show. Stood me up at my wedding. That was the end.
Phase 6: Final Phase
Five years passed without a word between us. When we finally spoke again, it was because someone mistakenly put a call from her for someone else, through to me. It was awkward, but we politely congratulated each other on our first born children. Her's-a couple of years old, mine-only a few days.
We met up two times after that in the following fourteen years. The first time we aired some grievances; She wasn't there for me at my wedding, one of the most important days of my life. I wasn't there for her during that same time, as she was going through difficulties with her husband, whom she ended up divorcing.
Peace was made, FB "friend" status was managed, but we will never again be more than acquaintances. Even on Facebook, where it's so easy, we rarely communicate at all.
To sum up, she was: Friend-Frenemy-Friend-Frenemy-Acquaintance. When I think of the times that we laughed and dreamed together, I get a little nostalgic, but I like to think I've become wise enough not to go down that path again. The path that always leads to "Frenemy."
NEXT TIME ON "FRENEMIES, Part III":
"Frenemy # 2" (The one that was ALWAYS a frenemy, and I was just too blind to see it.)