A couple of days ago I was inspired to check in with folks who I don’t speak to often as a courtesy call or welfare check during this time of uncertainty and growing hysteria.
My good intentions were well-received by everyone on the list except the one person who ignored my gesture for the second time. The previous occasion was motivated by a natural disaster in her area that didn’t result in loss of lives or confirmed injuries, but there was still the urge to reach out.
It was a painful reminder of how lasting friendships are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Strong bonds that are formed from more than a decade of investment, and the roller coaster rides that used to fail to toss away built-in safety belts, are now easily broken apart by the interferences of daily engagements that have replaced real-life interactions.
Do we ever know what causes friendships to abruptly end?
Sometimes it can be something as trivial as a misinterpreted tweet or text message.
And then there’s the minor disagreement that unexpectedly reveals a fray in relations. If one of you harbors a grudge for too long, there’s the risk of an infection that may never be cured.
But believe it or not, it could really just be the end of the road way before you’re privy to the stealth motives of the person you trusted would always be there, based on track record and the transparency that you didn’t know was getting cloudy.
We’ve all managed stormy relationships, both romantic and platonic, and we know what it’s like to walk away with bitterness and regret.
After weathering the good, bad and ugly, and accumulating enough life experience to wisen up to the brutal lessons that breed everlasting peace, I can honestly say that I’m okay with the notion of not making amends with those who’ve made their exits in a huff.
You always hear about never knowing what tomorrow brings and how sudden death is the ultimate thrust into reality.
After a quick google search, I was forced to calmly alert my father to the verified passing of a longtime friend. I overheard him on the phone, as he tasked my cousin with the assignment of sleuthing around for the confirmation of what he hoped wouldn’t be the case.
My dad had been trying in vain to get back in touch with the one of the first solid contacts he made when he newly arrived to the States from a country ravaged by the infamy of the Nigerian-Biafran War.
My decision to go ahead and silently dig for information was borne out of the need to remove the mystery behind the deafening silence to emails and voice messages.
Once my dad was given the sad update, the settling sorrow in his eyes and voice was heartbreaking. But I could tell that he was relieved to finally have the dreaded answer to a long overdue inquiry.
I became reflective, as I contemplated the reactions that former friends and acquaintances would amass upon learning about my reported demise.
Do I care whether or not they would give a shit that I’m no longer alive and thriving, and would I be disrupted by news of their final exits?
This morbid dive into the dead and living prompted the eureka moment as I casually went though the logged contacts in my iPhone and discovered the sting of the past.
It was messy to navigate, but it revealed my damning habit of holding on too tightly to the faces that have evolved into ghosts from a period that no longer holds any relevance, other than memories that are best forgotten.
As I began the process of deletion, I could feel the swift return to power and control.
Some of the contacts that didn’t make the cut were removed from a logistical standpoint while others had no damn business being there in the first place.
I was surprised at the tinge of nostalgia that informed my initial reluctance to get ride of the random contact who provided the entrance to Brava, in San Juan, where my still-bestie and I danced our hearts out in the winter of 2009, back when shit made sense.
A handful of names rang a bell in endearing ways that highlighted episodes that could survive without needlessly taking up space in iCloud.
It definitely felt good to clean house by scrubbing away numbers that will never be used for anything other than daring me to do what drunken nights improvise at the worst possible time.
I couldn’t believe I waited this long to face the stark truth that defines phases in our existence, accordingly, with the organic ebbs and flows.
If you’re never going to call them, and they absolutely don’t want to hear from you, why delay the inevitable?
The final act was the erasure of the contact who was once more than that.
After reasonably holding out hope for a reunion since our lack of communication wasn’t indicative of a major disagreement, but rather a choice that was made without me — I was ready to unapologetically restore my settings.
We are encouraged to limit exposure and stay confined to our various quarters, and naturally that challenges the mind to take excursions that could lead to progress, enlightenment or mental paralysis.
In my case, I lost much-needed weight from the calories that tend to make you sluggish and stuffed up.
I appreciate the view of the few that survived my unapologetic sweep.
It consists of family members and the handful of contacts who are more than that and matter in ways that are undeniable.
The clutter has dispersed into the manageable list that dictates the diagram of relationships to date.
I love to see it!