I want to become friends with Noel Fielding. Anyone have the hookup?
It’s funny how memory works. Or rather, it’s funny how my memory works. I often tell the story of my friend Jim, who has a remarkable ability to remember dates and connect them to events. He’ll say something along the lines of “remember when I was in Amsterdam in June of 2005 when we did that thing”, and I’ll respond by saying; “I remember us doing that thing, I couldn’t for the life of me tell you when we did that, exactly, but it was probably pre-2010, because that’s when I quit Facebook.” He’ll then ramble off facts surrounding “the thing” to support his assertion that it was in 2005. “Remember? It was the Tuesday before I went to go run with the bulls in Spain!” I wish my mind worked that way, but unfortunately, it doesn’t, and I am not entirely certain why.
Recently, I was thinking about my friend Sam. (I have two friends named Sam, in this case I’m talking about Samantha, not Samuel. Both Sam for short.) I thought about how I haven’t talked to her in five years, ever since she stopped talking to me in the middle of planning a trip to come and see her in Dubai. Right in the middle of that conversation, she simply stopped responding and never contacted me again. She didn’t just stopped talking to me, over the years I’ve heard from several mutual friends and acquaintances that she stopped talking to them around the same time. There are three exceptions; Eva, Morven and Jim.
I believe that around the time of Eva’s daughter being born they reconnected and briefly made plans for Sam to come and see them. As far as I know that communication was short-lived.
Morven kept in touch for a while longer and even went to see her in Dubai, which hilariously-though-perhaps-tellingly started with Sam forgetting to pick her up from the airport, and forgetting she was coming by altogether. Sam’s ex, who has since moved to London, is now in occasional contact with Morven, but apparently Sam no longer is.
Jim went to Dubai…in recent years. (He could probably tell you the exact date.) He saw Sam, hung out with her, and seemed to have a really good time with her. I am not sure if they even communicated before or after, but at least he got to see her!
Last year, at gay pride, I bumped into Jayson, an ex-colleague of Sam’s who she was very close with. Years ago he worked with Sam after just moving to Amsterdam, I got to know him a bit and he ended up moving to London for a few years before coming back to Amsterdam. I hadn’t seen him in a long while, and even though we were never close I always liked him. He asked me if I had spoken to Sam at all. I told him that I hadn’t seen or spoken to her in years. He said the same was true for him. He asked me how I felt about it…
Now, by that point, I had given it quite a bit of thought. I told him that I was sad about it, that in retrospect wasn’t all that surprising, considering how she hardly stayed in touch with her friends in London after moving to Amsterdam, and that I had put it behind me. I said that I understand that life happens, that you make decisions, you leave some people behind, and that sometimes you don’t always feel like you have the option of getting back in touch, especially after all those years. I also told him that if tomorrow, Sam would give me a ring, tell me that she’s in Amsterdam, that I would happily hang out with her and that she wouldn’t need to explain anything. He responded somewhat more gravely, saying that he wouldn’t be able to do that. That he felt betrayed and disappointed, and that he couldn’t just forgive and forget. “You grow close, and you think you know a person…” he lamented, before we let the topic rest and continued to celebrate pride.
So as the fifth year of radio silence came to a close, I decided to write this post. To end the chapter on our friendship. She was an important part of my life, and will always continue to be. I’m sad to have lost contact, but I am open to rekindling it should she ever feel the desire to, no questions asked. In my recollection, the last time we were in touch was the end of November of 2012. Because I am digital hoarder, I still have archives of our chats, so I went back to check. The last message she sent, the last time we were in touch, was 06-09-2012 19:24:08.
If I had been Jim, I would have realised that it was not the end of November, but the beginning of September. I would have written this post three months ago, and probably would have still been in touch with Sam!
Some things are hard not to take personally. A friend cutting off all contact mid-WhatsApp conversation and not bothering to resume contact for over a year (one year, five months, one week, six days, nineteen hours, fourty minutes and thirty-four seconds to be obsessively precise), I find very hard not to take personally. At this point, I should really stop calling her a friend, but without know why it is that she broke off all communication, it seems impossible for me to call her “a person that I used to know.”
To be fair, I shouldn’t be too surprised. I met her a little after she moved to the Netherlands, over a decade ago, and I was a bit surprised at how easily she broke off contact with her friends from back home. She’s moved again, and I guess now I’m the friend she no longer contacts now that she’s abroad.
I’ve resisted the urge to contact her since she stopped talking to me (made easier by no longer being on Facebook) because it’s clear she has no interest in keeping in touch. I’ve gone through all the stages of grief and loss; denial, anger, blah blah, acceptance. Strangely enough, these stages seem oddly cyclical, where I inevitably end up at stage one again. Admittedly, I’m getting very efficient and nowadays I get to acceptance in a matter of minutes. I linger at acceptance for a couple of weeks and start the cycle all over again.
The reason why I don’t just stick to acceptance is because I have no fucking clue why she stopped talking to me. While I can come up with two or three dozen things I have done to deserve it, and perhaps half a dozen other possible reasons, I don’t really know why. There’s no closure. I’ve never actually experienced that lack of closure before, so that’s something I’ve learnt from all of this.
See, every cloud has a silver lining; one of my closest and dearest friends has abandoned all desire of maintaining a relationship with me, but at least now I know what all those dramatic romance films keep harping on about.