We were inseparable. We were this group of people who were thrown together at a company where the bosses were non-existent. “It’s like daycare for those of us who couldn’t get real jobs,” Clifford would say. And a lot of the time, it really felt that way.
We were all in our late 20’s then; each one of us a transplant from another part of the world, and all of us in New York City to fulfill a dream we had had since we were kids. I was the one who was going to be the writer; I was the one who was going to write about us someday although no one would ever believe exactly how great it was that we had found each other, or how much we fit into each other’s lives during that time.
All day long we worked together, and the second it hit 559p, we’d head to the bar around the corner. We argued like both friends and co-workers, spent our birthdays together and were content in the club we had created. It was a club built on perfect happenstance. We were lucky.
But then the recession hit and one by one we were let go from the company. We found ourselves in different places among different people and everything changed. I became a writer, Clifford became a chef, Damien became, well, I don’t know exactly, but he’s a VIP of something great, and Swede, um, he’s still there, so we’re going to just have a giggle over that and move on. Basically, we all became the people we wanted to be and did the things we said we were going to do.
Then we stopped being friends.
It wasn’t a decision we made consciously; it just happened. And before we knew it, not just weeks, but months passed and there was nothing left. What we had in common was that time and place, but when the time and place ceased to be, we no longer made sense.
It’s difficult to realize that a friendship is over. It’s heartbreaking to admit that people, the ones whom you once thought you could never live without, no longer fit in your life as the prefect puzzle piece you once needed to make you whole. Sometimes relationships just come to an end, and not because of a dramatic falling out or any level of animosity; they just stop. It’s evolution at its worst and yet another unfairness about life, but it’s a fact and a fact that cannot be erased.
When I look back at the friendships I no longer have with people – both the aforementioned group and others – it truly pains me to have lost them. But at the same time, I think it would be even sadder to hang on to something that’s no longer there. You can only fight so much and give what you have, before you realize you’re up against a losing battle and you just can’t win. It doesn’t make you a bad person, nor does it make you weak. It just means you understand that everything in life has its time and place, then the lights go out and you can’t stand in the dark room hoping for things to go back to how they were.
I have, in my life, mourned the loss of many friendships. But I also know that in knowing those people and having lost them, it was what I needed, as much as it was what they needed. So, although I cried then and probably will at some point again, I’ll know that it’s totally cool. Sometimes you just can’t be friends forever, and letting go is the right thing for everyone involved. But in the words of David Foster Wallace, “Everything I’ve ever let go of has claw marks in it.” So there’s that, and some scars are for the best.