My friend K died this week. Details are sketchy. All I've heard is gossip but the last one is that he drowned in the ocean at South Padre Island. I hate that he died of course but if this is true it's worse. He was not a strong swimmer & scared of the water. He would have been terrified & I hate that. In my eyes a heart attack would have been quicker & less scary for him.
I've known him for 25 years or so. He used to work at a furniture store & he was my salesperson. And then a little later I met his partner R at work & K eventually came to work at my company. We all retired from there.
There was a time when we were really good friends. Lunches, dinners & traveling together several times. We suited each other...up at a reasonable hour, good breakfast, could go almost all day before stopping to eat. We liked site seeing.
Then in 2017 we went to Hawaii. We ran & ran & saw everything there was to see. And had a great time, mostly. I had a hard time adjusting to the 5 hour difference. It was bedtime at 7pm!! And I had trouble sleeping & eating & I developed a toothache. When we got to Honolulu I saw a regular doctor who didn't know exactly what was wrong but gave me a pain killer. While it helped with the pain it added to everything else...no sleep or ability to eat. So by the time the trip was over I was miserable.
There were a couple of other issues too. Remember, this is all my point of view. We would all be out just walking around....in a store, in a mall, just on the street...and we'd all be together & I'd look up & they were gone. Like I wasn't with them at all. And not a word to me. I'd have to go find them. If they'd have wanted alone time I would be fine with that. Just tell me! And then on the last day...I asked if they'd printed our boarding passes & K said "I printed ours!"....but not mine. It wasn't a huge deal of course. We had reserved seats but K & R both know if I'd printed first, I'd have done them all. And, childishly for me I know, that was the final straw. And I changed seat. I was scheduled to be between them for the 6 hour flight to Phoenix & I absolutely knew I couldn't stand it. I ended up between 2 strangers but it was easier. And they had a stranger between them. And when we got to Phoenix for our layover they went to eat & I still couldn't eat so I didn't go. And I changed seat on next flight too. When we got back to my apartment K was, "ah, come on...need a hug"...I hugged both & that was it. I'm sure the words about me at the end of the trip weren't kind.
I saw my dentist the next day. By the time I saw him my body was in distress & my mouth was full of blisters. One of my teeth had cracked in half. We had to do anti-biotics to heal my mouth so he could pull & dig the tooth out.
I needed to give K&R some cash for the car park & took it to their house. That was the last time I really saw them, save for a wave at a restaurant & a basketball game. My heart was broken. I can't say it's logical but it is what it is. Last year I wrote 2 letters to former friends asking for their forgiveness & telling them I held no animosity for them. And I told them I didn't need or expect a response & I didn't get one. We were done.
So now K has died. I called & left word on voice mail for R to say how sorry I was. He sent a text back saying thanks & "maybe we can do lunch when this is all over". I said "Sounds good. Love you both". And I do still love them but it'll never be the same. Visitation is tomorrow night & funeral is Tuesday. And I've decided not to go to either. Visitation would be R & K's parents & old co-workers & all of that part of my life is over & I don't want or need it back. I'm working on funeral day.
I've thought about all of this since I heard the news. The truth is I'm still hurt to my core. And if I've figured out anything as I've gotten older it's that I can't have people in my life who hurt me. It's completely selfish & all me,me,me but there it is.
RIP, K. I will always love you.