Last night, I was at a friend’s birthday party. When I got there, I scanned the room to see who was there. I saw some people I knew, some people I recognized from previous birthday parties (I’ve been to all of her birthday parties since 2013), and some I didn’t seem to recognize at all.
The party was in an older house in an older neighborhood in Sacramento, and there is only one bathroom in the house. About an hour and a half into the party, I was waiting in line to use the bathroom. The bathroom door opened, and out walked one of the people I had spotted in my initial scan of the party and identified as one I didn’t know. I smiled and said hi, as I usually do when I come face-to-face with party guests I don’t know.
“Hi,” she said, with a strange look on her face as she walked off. By strange, I mean it wasn’t the friendly hello that usually comes when I’m about to introduce myself to a guest at a party whom I don’t know. There was something significant in her response.
It hit me about two seconds later, as I walked into the bathroom and closed the door. Oh, @#$%, I do know her, I thought.
I didn’t recognize her until I saw her face, because she has significantly shorter hair now, and I hadn’t seen her up close in my initial scan of the room. I met her at this same birthday party two years ago. Over the next few weeks, we started exchanging long Facebook messages, which then led to two dates. On the way home from the second date, I asked her something like “what are we,” and she said that we were casually dating and seeing if things could work out. Four days later (and this was right around Valentine’s Day, I should point out), she dumped me by text. (I told this story in more detail here, in Highway Pi #42.)
I think it hurt so much because I felt like I deserved at least a phone call or a face-to-face conversation, not just a text. In particular, I didn’t understand what had changed in those four days. I suppose I was fortunate to at least get a text, though, because apparently the trend these days is to dump people by not saying anything at all, just refusing to answer communications and disappearing out of the other person’s life. That’s just immature and cowardly to me.
I didn’t say anything to her the rest of the night last night, and she didn’t say anything to me. I hate being in that awkward position where I don’t want to talk to someone, or someone doesn’t want to talk to me. But I think that’s just part of life. There have been times when I was able to reconcile with someone who had hurt me (I wrote about one in Highway Pi #19, for example). But I can’t expect that to happen every time. Everyone is different, and every ending friendship and relationship is different, and I can’t change people. That’s okay. The best I can do is move on. Sometimes I’ve been in awkward situations with people, and I can’t always figure out if I want to stay friends with them or not. That’s okay too. Healing takes time, and usually it depends on the other person as well. I just hope all of these situations sort themselves out in time.
The rest of the birthday party went really well. To this day, I still don’t know if my friend who was having the birthday ever knew that her friend and I went out a couple times, or that she dumped me by text. I didn’t bring it up. There was no point. I was having too much fun with other people who are actually fun to be around.