Day 4 ~
I smiled as I dressed.
It had been so long since I had last made a friend ~ she had also been new to the dance club, and, though a bit younger, was enthusiastic about both jazz music and kpop. I’ve had marvelous friendships based on less.
Last week on club night she had met a new guy, and promptly found me to swoon over him. It made me smile, he was awkward, neat, polite, short. Not my type, but my first opportunity in forever to play matchmaker for a friend.
I asked her if she wanted him for her upcoming birthday, and her eager yes made me laugh. I maneuvered our seating between songs until we naturally included him in our circle, and proceeded to act as though I had only just thought to invite my friend out to celebrate a new job the next day.
“Of course,” I acted like it was spur of the moment thinking, “you are invited too!” He readily agreed, and I whispered to my friend that I would leave early to give them a chance alone.
The night of the set up had a warm blue sky that ever so slowly darkened. I was happy thinking I should dress to blend in to the background, and wore a beige cardigan with my knitting at the ready.
I arrived first, to give credence to the lie that I had to leave early, and my friend came shortly after. She looked at me with anxiety, even as she showed off her man catching “hot pants.”
“He won’t know what hit him,” I gave her a thumbs up.
“Yeah, he won’t even know which girl is after him.” That stopped me cold. “It’s fine if you like him too, he’ll just go with whoever he likes best.” I realized the supposed anxious eyes were accusatory. “You should have told me instead of dressing up too, have you two been texting without me?”
I gestured at my beige cardigan, and she shook her head with anger. “You never wear dresses, that’s such an obvious impress a guy move.”
I realized then how little she knew me. The dress I was wearing was one I wore at least once a week, usually more if you count the other colors I bought in the pattern. I wore it to the library, to babysitting, to church. In university it was considered more odd for me to wear trousers than otherwise, but adult me, after having my purse snatched more often than I cared for, now appreciated pockets that easily and securely held my keys, my phone, and my small wallet. Especially dancing, I never wore a skirt anymore, as I knew my spinning self only cared to keep track of my balance.
It took me several minutes to convince her I wasn’t trying to move in on the guy I was setting her up with. Once he arrived I barely spoke, only sitting with my knitting until lamps flared against the dark blue sky. My friend waved goodbye to me happily, her competition gone.
Their relationship lasted less than a month.
But our friendship didn’t survive it.
I guess the moral of the story is to trust your friends, not your crushes, but that’s the moral for her, not me. At the time I wondered if the moral was that I really couldn’t find any friends in that town, people who valued platonic relationships above romance.
But I want there to be a moral. Call me crazy, but I don’t want experiences of jealousy and disrespect to color my life. Maybe the lesson is to keep trying, to keep fighting for friendship, to not close myself off just yet. Some friendships might end in the beginning, or let me down and make me doubt others, but those people should really keep me moving on, and treasure all the more the ones who don’t.
All this is to say, I want to keep trying to be a friend.