Yah, I know what you're thinking.
"Oh no Kipp! You're hurt? What happened? Did you fall down while snowboarding again? Did you try to hurdle a bush like you were 16 again like Eddy? Did you pull a muscle moving furniture?"
No. No. No. I am not physically hurt. I am emotionally hurt. It's taken me about 3 weeks to come all of the way through my stages of grief, and I'm hurting. I feel like a friend of mine has died, but really she's very much alive. She's just dead to me.
I should preface this story with this: Two times over the course of the past 3 years, my co-worker has stopped talking to me. I never know why or how this happens, but she does it. She up and ignores me one day and after a lot of begging and pleading and cards, she starts talking to me again. But she never tells me why she stopped talking to me, never.
So here it is, March 2010, and one day she stops talking to me. This time she has informed my boss and other co-workers that she isn't speaking to me. She doesn't say why, she doesn't say when, but she says I've offended her in some way and she's not speaking to me.
This is some one that I consider a friend, possibly a long term one. She's been to my home. We've shared meals. We went on a road trip to Napa together. I attended her son's first birthday party.
It's not like we just worked together.
So here we are, almost 4 weeks since she decided we are no longer friends. My birthday came. She didn't even wish me a happy birthday. I sneeze, and even if she's 4 feet away from me she won't say "God bless you." I come in every morning and say "Good morning!" and all I get is a weak "hello" or a sorry excuse for a greeting.
When other people pass by our desks, her face lights up with joy and she says their names with such enthusiasm that it makes me nauseated. She talks on the phone loudly to all of her other apparent friends and family throughout the day, and even though I don't always understand the conversation I am jealous. They could be talking about bananas or throwing away garbage, but they are talking.
I am a person that values my friendships tremendously. I have that horrible fault that says "once a friend, always a friend." Friends can hurt me, break me, make me cry and some how I always forgive them. I would rather you punch me in the face instead of seeing my friend suffer.
But with this said, I think I have to let this one go. No more apologizing when I don't know what I did wrong. No more defending her when people at work are angry with her. No more asking her how she's feeling or telling her to have a good weekend as she leaves the lab on Friday afternoons. I wave the white flag. I surrender. We are now strangers.
And thank you to all of the truly great friends that I have left. The ones that have heard me tell this story over the past few weeks and ask "WHY DO YOU CARE?" or say sarcastic things like Shannon did, "Wait, Kipp, you have friends besides me? How dare you! I don't think I can handle that! I'm not speaking to you anymore! "
But most of all, to Mike for telling me not to care the first time she stopped talking to me. And the second time. And for listening to me every couple of days when a wave of sadness rolls over me and I tell him, "I miss my friend." He politely reminds me that she was never a friend, and to get over it.