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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I'm Not Gonna Get Too Sentimental

Just got off the phone with my friend Dawn, whose birthday is today, and she imparted a bit of, well, surprising news.

She's getting married in September.

Now, for those of you who don't know the history (all six out of ten of you): Dawn and I have been good friends for nearly 20 years. We dated for about five of those, lived together for four, I even proposed to her at one point.

So yeah, it's a bit of a shock.

I'm happy for her, truly I am. We wouldn't have remained friends this long, through all the changes in our relationship, if there wasn't the foundation of a genuine friendship and affection holding it together. All I've ever wanted for her was to be happy, and considering the rough turns her life has taken the past couple of years: losing one job, getting another she hated; her mother passing away - a year ago on Mothers Day of all days - after a long illness, if there's anyone who deserves some happiness in her life, it's Dawn.

I'm feeling a bit - I'm not sure exactly what. It's certainly not jealousy, not envy; even that feels like too strong of a word to describe it. (some I suppose would reverse the two, and consider envy the more destructive.) But, what's the next step down from that? Sadness? There's a little, yes, after all, at one time in my life I was hoping to be that "lucky guy" myself. But that too seems insufficiently vague. The French probably have a word for it - or the Germans. The Germans have words for all sorts of subtle, in-between-emotions emotions (we'd probably use more of them, except they're all 27 syllables long and require coughing up half a lung to pronounce correctly.)

The only thing that comes close I suppose is "ambivalence". I certainly feel a bit conflicted: happy-yet-sad, although definitely more the former than the latter.

It'll be a transition to be sure, no matter what you call it. For the longest time we've been the ones each of us would be the first to call or talk to when something good - or bad - occurred. Now, that's going to change, it has to change - and I guess that's where the "sad" part of the conflict comes in. It feels like a loss, a loss of some degree of intimacy with another person, one who's been an important part of my life for a long time.

Which is not to say we won't still be friends, of course. But I can't help but feel a sense of diminishment on the horizon. From here on out, I have to live with the knowledge that I won't be the first one to hear the news from her; and in the future, I'm afraid I'll be hesitant to be the one to share news WITH her, because, well, she has another life.

It's a hard transition to be downgraded from "best friend" to "friend". I'll get through it; I'm a pretty resilient guy.

But, it's still going to take some getting used to.

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Posted byCOMTE on 6:58 PM

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