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Friday, January 21, 2011

The one that got away

I once had a very good friend that I shared everything with. Unfortunately the friendship ended badly. I have wondered these past few years exactly why it ended as it did and I have one main theory but I am never sure if my theory stands up to scrutiny or if it is just a construct to relieve myself of the doubts caused by her explanation of the breakup.

Here we were two North American foreigners living in Bangkok, working in the same school and of a similar age. We understood each other, could see similar cultural patterns and felt like kindred spirits with our mutual love of red wine and cheese.

More than anything else though, we were brought together by our need for friendship. A close female friendship that I think we both had had in the past back home but had not found yet in Bangkok.

We both were in relationships; neither of them perfect. And we often consulted each other about our personal problems. We had another mutual female friend but she was never quiet sympathetic enough to our small personal dramas. I think she had been through too many major ones to let little things bother her much. So my friend and I spent a lot of time together. Coffee, lunch, and eventually labour.

And it was with the labour, I think, that things started to come apart. She wanted a child. Her new husband, who was turning 40, did not. She was conflicted by this. She loved him but to give up the chance at a family for another person was a constant source of internal turbulence. To say nothing of the fact that he had not been keeping up his end of the relationship in terms of working to support their life together and had become so addicted to fantasy football that the game itself told him, “If you have a girlfriend, stop playing now or you won't!”

I had my first child and my friends, both the low drama and high drama ladies were in attendance. When the big time labour hit, they were forced out so that it was just me and my partner battling through the long painful hours. My friend, sat outside the labour room doors listening to my screams. When my daughter was born my friend was one of the first people to meet her. I thought my friend would be witness to Hannah's childhood, not just her birth.

As time went on things got worse between my partner and I. I had need of a friend and my friend was always there for me. When my hair was cut too short and I balled while holding Hannah aged 3 weeks, she came right over. When I kicked my partner out of the house, once again, she was there for me. When I decided to leave Thailand, she drove me to the airport.

I had a lot of drama in my life, I'll be the first to admit it and it was surely due to the fact that I had someone to talk to about it that I made it through. But it was not a one way street.

It seemed however that as time went on my friend became resigned to the fact that her husband would never work again and that she would not get the baby she wanted. But when she looked at me, a part of her saw what she wanted and saw that she didn't need a perfect situation to get it. In fact there never is a perfect situation for having children. Some people just have a few more advantages than others but having children is always a drama.

Not long after I had left Thailand, I talked to my friend a few times on the phone. Then one day, I found out I was pregnant. I was in shock and feeling a little crazy. I had left everything behind and I did not even know my ex-partners phone number to call him to tell him that once again he would be a father. The one number that I did know by heart was my best friends'. I called her. She and her husband were friends with my ex and most likely knew his number.

I didn't think about the time when I called-it seemed like an emergency. I unfortunately called in the middle of the night when they were on a camping trip in Khoa Yai National Park but they did answer the phone. And no I didn't ask them anything about themselves- I was just desperate to find my ex and tell him about the new baby.

I can't remember much about that conversation but afterward there was another conversation where my friend told me she had had enough of my drama and that was that.

I have never fully accepted this as the complete reason why we went from being inseparable friends to being long distance enemies. I have always felt that she resented me, in my ever so imperfect situation, once again being blessed with another child.

I know that what she said was not a total falsehood. I am sure she was fed up with my drama. It was a high drama point in my life. Luckily things have evened out.

I miss having that close friendship but I doubt I will ever get that close to another woman again. So when I left Thailand I ended two significant relationships. I wish I still had a female confident but no one has taken her place. Occasionally I see her comments on Facebook when yet another of our mutual friends has a baby but it does not look as if things have changed for her. I think she could have had more.

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