This is what I get for not paying attention…

This month the From Left to Write Book Club is reading and writing about The Stuff  That Never Happened by Maddie Dawson.  I eagerly awaited the arrival of the book because the story sounded so JUICY!  Then I realized I had to write a post inspired by this very juicy story…  I decided that I wasn’t going to write a post about some long lost love that I think about on a daily basis.  I decided that I didn’t need the embarrassment, for me, my husband or that guy (and you’ll never know if there really is one or not…  wink wink…)  In some ways, Ms. Dawson’s story reminds me of another relationship that I wonder about, so here goes…

Have you ever wondered if you could go back in time and change one little thing if it would make any difference in the life you live today?  I have.  Over the course of the last few years, I’ve come to realize that in high school I was so wrapped up in the things going on in my life that I failed to notice or participate the things going on in my friends’ lives.  In other words, I was self-centered, very self-centered.  If it didn’t involve me and a boy, I wasn’t paying attention.  It was my self-centeredness that I believe led me to lose what I once thought was a pretty important friendship in my life.

I can’t remember if it was the fourth grade or the sixth grade that she moved here, but towards the end of my grammar school years, a new girl came to my school.  We’ll call her Ramesh.  She was shy, tall and skinny with glasses and braces and long glossy jet black hair that was almost ALWAYS pulled back in a braid down her back.  We became fast friends and she was quickly incorporated into our little group of friends.

By junior high we were the best of friends.  She was so cool.  She had the greatest taste in music, and was an outstanding artist and writer.  We spent almost every day together during the summers, when she wasn’t off visiting family in London or India.  We joined clubs after school together, we’d go to each others houses and just hang out and listen to music and talk about boys, school and well…  that was really it. One of my fondest memories was of the time her family took me and two other friends to a special Indian dance where we got to wear saris and learn traditional Indian dances.  I still have the pictures, but I won’t embarrass anyone by posting them here.

Suddenly I found myself old enough to date.  In came the boyfriends, out went the real friends.  Ramesh was so pissed with me because whenever there was a man in my life, she took a back seat.  And when those relationships were over, I’d come back and try to pick up where I left off.

High school was a blur…  Boys, music, writing, more boys, plays, dance…  it all blended together and somewhere in there,  Ramesh made new friends.  Friends that had more in common with her than I did.  Friends that wouldn’t drop her like a hot potato the minute a boy showed them some attention.  Friends that wore black clothes and black eyeliner and I don’t know whatever she liked better about them than me.  We did the plays together, she worked behind the scenes while I was on the stage.  (Sound familiar?)  We drove to school together every morning, carpooling when I refused to take the bus junior and senior year.

She was with me during a most horrific fight with an abusive ex.  Where this jerk and I screamed at each other on the street and she just kept walking, not wanting to get involved.

I met my husband when I was in high school.  He was my senior year man.  Ramesh and I had dreams of college and careers.  She got into her first choice, Fordham.  I didn’t.  I got into my second choice, Emerson in Boston, and my third choice Hofstra.  I decided upon Hofstra where I could commute to and from school and I didn’t have to live on campus.  I wasn’t ready to leave home yet or my boyfriend.

We communicated mostly through that new fangled thing called email during our college years.  Her parents moved to a different town.  She found herself in college.  I lost her.

It wasn’t all bad.  I lost quite a few people during my college years.  I found some new ones, and some old ones made their way back.  My very best friend being one of those that I lost and found again, we’re still friends to this day.

So, to make a long story even longer, I found Ramesh on Facebook about a year ago.  We reconnected.  I was so happy!  I found out she was married to the guy she brought to my wedding. (She was supposed to be IN my wedding party, but I asked her to step down because we had drifted so far apart.)  I found out she was a graphic artist with Lehman Brothers (she later got laid off during THAT whole fiasco).  I found out her dad passed away, though I didn’t hear it from her.  And I felt old looking at pictures of her little brother who wasn’t so little anymore.

Then, one day, I notice that the number of friends we had in common was dwindling.  Finally, a few weeks later, she’s not on my friend list anymore.

I was devastated.

Angry, hurt and upset.

My Facebook status said something about removing the “un-necessaries” and if you can still read this you’re lucky.

I went through my friend list and removed people I barely knew, people I friend-ed just to up my numbers in Mafia Wars or Vampire Wars or something.

I cried to Eileen and my mom about it.  (She did the same thing to Eileen too and quite a few other friends.) I was genuinely hurt and dismayed.  Why would she just drop me like that??

Then I realized…  it was because I had done it to her all those years ago, over and over again.  I wasn’t a part of her life anymore and she didn’t want me around, not even on Facebook.

So here I find myself, wondering What if?  What if I had paid more attention in high school to my friends?  Would I have noticed that Ramesh and another friend had a huge fight over a particular very artistic boy?  Would I have known that she was in NYC on September 11th and had run for her life?  Would I have been able to attend whatever funeral services her religion allotted for her father?  Would she have met my kids?  Would I meet hers someday?

I think about her often.  I wonder how she is and what she’s doing.  I sometimes search for her on Facebook although I think she’s either blocked me or changed something that I can’t find her.  Last time I thought I saw a sonogram as her profile pic.  But who knows cause I don’t pay very much attention.

I think I’ve decided that maybe she wasn’t meant to be in life anymore.  I’ve read all the self help books, I know that things happen for a reason, and people come into and out of your life for a reason.  Maybe all my What If’s are unnecessary.  Maybe I should be thankful for the lesson she’s taught me.  I need to slow down and pay attention to the things going on around me.  I need to appreciate my friends and family more.  And I need to be thankful for those in my life, past, present and future.

So what do I get for not paying attention??  A happy marriage, two beautiful kids, and meaningful friendships with people who really matter.  How does that poem go?  “People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Thank you for being a part of my life, whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime.”

This is an original ROSCMM post and was written for the From Left to Write Book Club. This post was inspired by The Stuff That Never Happened by Maddie Dawson, a copy of which I received free from the publisher for the purposes of this book club, and no, you can not steal my content unless you specifically ask me for it first. It’s called copyright, yo.

Copyright 2010 MastermindMommy

Categories: Book Reviews, FAIL, From Left to Write Book Club | 15 Comments

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15 thoughts on “This is what I get for not paying attention…

  1. I think we all do have friends that drift in and out of our lives. I remember friends from high school, etc. that for whatever reason I didn’t keep up with (yes, boys were likely the reason….weren’t we all like that?). Thanks, though, this post has made me recall some good memories from the past about friends that I wonder about sometimes too.

  2. Pingback: The Stuff That Never Happened by Maddie Dawson – A From Left to Write Book Club |

  3. Interesting that she de-friended you on Facebook. Her version of the story is probably very different. I have had similar girl relationships in my life and they are hard to sustain, and usually it is related to men. Great post!

  4. I often feel like maybe I’m not a good enough friend these days because we’re pulled in so many different directions. I know as a “grown-up” we should be able to accept others coming in and out of our lives but I think it’s still hard. A FB de-friend hurts, as silly as that may be. Sorry for you and thanks for sharing.

  5. This is a different twist on the book. I like your post. It reminds me of all the people who defriended me because I became a younger at a young age. This weekend, I’m meeting up with a childhood friend for dinner who I haven’t seen in about 14 years, she’s not one of them though. This gives me that extra nudge to stay in contact after we part ways again. Thank you for that!

  6. This is a great post. I think we’ve all had this kind of thing happen. I still think about my best high school friend, Claire, and try to find her every now and then, and can’t. Once I did manage to track her down a few years ago, and we had a good conversation–but even then I could tell it wasn’t going to lead to anything permanent and lasting between us. Too bad, too because these people have shared such a part of our pasts, and then through whatever reason, they drop away. I’m sorry, Mastermind Mommy, that you’ve had this loss, but I don’t think you should be hard on yourself. It happens.
    I’m glad my book inspired you to think about this, even though as you say, it’s not about a guy. It’s a girlfriend. But those relationships are every bit as important–maybe more so.

  7. I think it was petty that she would friend you on FB and then unfriend you. It seems like some of her was still back in high school!

    However, I can relate somewhat to Ramesh. I had a best friend from age nine to about 30 and I realized that our friendship always took a back seat to her “man of the month” club. Then she would call me crying and wanting to get together. People change and that is good, but I realized she had never changed, she was still the same person she was when she was nine years old. I broke off our twenty year friendship and don’t regret it for a second.

    Don’t be so hard on yourself, my friend, because there were many people like you in high school, but YOU have changed.

  8. Linda

    Maybe she friended and then un-friended you on FB to feel like she got some sort of revenge for you having “unfriended” her back in high school? Goes to show you how people can be intelligent but still immature.

  9. Jimmy

    Hey you! I remember you in High School and you were definitely NOT self-centered. We all have things going on in our lives and what is going on at those ages always seems to be the worst. In High school we never listened to our parents when they told us that we will get over it and you think you never will. And sometimes friends grow apart, but not seeing each other constantly is not a friend maker or breaker. Look at me and your brother-in-law! We have been friends for over 30 years. We used to ALWAYS hang out together and now we hardly see each other… but he was still the best man at my wedding and if he or anyone in the “clan” needed me I would be there in a heart beat and he knows it.

    Sometimes the past is not quite exactly how we remember it and as we age we change. I am sorry you were bummed about losing contact with your friend but sounds like you know the positive side with your family (although I don’t know if great is how I would describe your hubby initially! LOL just kidding) so seeing that positive side shows that you have grown up past all the petty silly stuff that you did/dealt with when you were younger. There will me other Ramesh’s in your life, but I am sure now things would be different.

    Thanks for sharing!

  10. Is it possible that she dropped off of Facebook entirely and didn’t just drop you? I had a friend who did that–similiarly he just disappeared one day, but since we had other forms of contact I learned that he just found Facebook too superficial a means of contact. Just wanted to offer an alternate explanation, since I know you must be hurting. This post made me reflect on friendships of mine that have fallen away. I think that it is never just one person’s “fault.” With so much to pay attention to in life, I believe its important to invest time in relationships in which both parties feel respected, appreciated and enjoy each other.

  11. I’ve had an opposite FB experiences, having friended or been friended by people in college who I didn’t spend enough time really getting to know. (I went to very small university so everyone “knew” everyone else on some level.) The outcome is the same. Yes, there was a boy and I thought we’d get married so I focused on that to the exclusion of everything- and everyone- else.

    Now, as we casually comment on each other’s status updates and see photos of husbands, kids, etc… I really wish I had been more outgoing and less infatuated. I hurts worse when they post photos from parties or trips in college where I was there, but no one remembers 😦

  12. I think about stuff like this a lot. Great reminder to try and really hold onto what’s important.

  13. Pingback: I’d rather not do that again, thank you… « Ramblings of a Semi-Conscious Mastermind Mommy

  14. I can definitely relate to this story and I really appreciate your openness about the situation.

  15. Pingback: Chasing my muse. | Ramblings of a Semi-Conscious Mastermind Mommy

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