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Wednesday, August 02, 2006
A Matter Of Convenience

Dear Friend,

Do you remember walking into my living room some years ago? It was after Christmas, I am sure. You were upset. You said some words that changed everything and today, I will tell you why.

You know, how girls are. We all know one day we will grow up and be mothers and many of us accept that as a part of life. However I am sure that many of us are not receptive to the thought that something so huge will pop through our little uteruses, tearing our vaginas along the way. I remember phoning you sometime close to your son’s delivery date, asking how you felt about the prospect of delivering your first child. I was shocked when you told me that you had given birth two weeks beforehand and that you were already a mother.

I felt ashamed because I felt that I had let you down as a friend. Due to my personal problems, I did not spend time with you. I was so busy drowning in my own tears, that I did not help you into your new role. I promised myself to be a better friend, to give more of myself and to be there when you have your second child.

Remember me accompanying you for your monthly visits to the doctor’s when you were pregnant with your second baby? I was there watching your belly swell. I stood next to you, watching how your baby swam in your stomach. I was there to see your baby girl’s heart beat. I tried my best to be there for you because I loved you as my friend.

I was there on the morning when you felt your contractions. I was the one who pushed you into the labour room and called your husband to come hold your hands as you both usher the arrival of your second child. I remembered all these things because I was trying to make up to you. I was confident that you would have done the same for me too.

But back to the evening after Christmas. Do you remember telling me that I had no life? You said that I had no life, which was why I kept leeching on your fulfilled lifestyle. You remember telling me that the only reason why I kept you company for most of your visits to the doctors was because I had nothing else to do? You remember I stood there, just listening and hardly replying? You remember telling me that you hated me because I could be so calm and composed?

I was calm and peaceful because you freed me. You freed me from being your friend. How was it possible for you to say such things? How could you be so insensitive? I loved you as a friend and I wanted to support you during a very precious period of your life. That was the reason why I kept you company during your visits to the doctors during your pregnancies.

I could have done a million things each time I sat at the hospital benches but I chose to sit next to you. I could have had coffee and had fun with other single friends but I chose to walk with you as you enter the doctor’s room. I could have remained at work, earned more money but I deferred work just to walk you to the pharmacy for some calcium tablets. I could have gone out with other friends instead of sitting in the hospital room, waiting the whole afternoon till 4 p.m. when you were pushed into the labour room.

What you did not understand was that I had a choice and I chose to show what it meant to be a friend. I chose to be your friend because I was certain that you would be my friend too.

Maybe I should thank you for opening my eyes. You said those cutting words years ago and it is now only that I have given up. I am fiercely loyal to those I consider my friends. But some friendships are just not worth my time and effort. When you said I had no life, and that was the reason why I kept following you to the doctor’s, I realised that we were very different creatures.

You were selfish for yourself and so you expected me to be selfish for myself. Your logic told you that I was there because I did not have anything else to do. You thought so because that would have been your response. If it was me pregnant, maybe you would have accompanied me too. But the motive would have been different. I accompanied you because I felt that was what friends do. You would have accompanied me because you had nothing else to do. You would not have sacrificed your time and put in some effort to keep me company. You would have done if the arrangement was convenient for you.

You let the words drip out of you that day, didn’t you? You said that you had priorities in life. First was your husband, then your children. Now you are free, so you have replaced your husband with your boyfriend. Then it is back to your kids. This is something that I understand. Friends understand that you have priorities. Friends support one another through everything and know where their places are.

That is why you have dictated all our schedules from the time we were old enough to drive out and have fun. You decided when we would have that cup of coffee. You dictated when we would go out for the movies, the dinners, the step classes and everything else. I tried my best to accommodate you because I rationalized that you had more responsibilities being married and having kids whereas I was single and free. I gladly rearranged my schedules to fit your schedule, because that is what friends do for each other.

I remember returning to Malaysia early, the year when you separated from your husband. I wanted to be there to support you as a friend. I feel stupid now because I know you would not have done the same. If the tables were turned and you were the one in Sweden with your boyfriend, you would not have returned to see me. I cried when you said you were separating but I now know, the tears were one sided. You, on the other hand, would have check your calendar before you cried and if it clashed with your pretty little dinner date with your boyfriend and your ten other friends, you would not shed a tear for me.

Thank you for confronting me that evening after Christmas. Thank you for showing me who you really are. Thank you for freeing me from the shambles of a friendship. You had priorities then. You still have your priorities now. I was never your priority, not even on the top ten. I was only a priority when it suited your needs. I am your friend of convenience. I am only your friend when it is convenient for you. I am only your friend when it fitted into your schedule, which currently is every Tuesday around 11 a.m. at Starbucks because that’s the only day when your boyfriend is not around. Not an hour earlier because you would still be dolling up for the caffeine treat and not an hour later because you would want to watch a movie, window shop or head into office to work.

Oh yes, sometimes you would ask me out for dinner on Friday nights. You would tell me that we could relive the years when we were both free. How sweet everything sounded and your tales captured even me. You asked me to fetch you, a drive that takes more than 20 minutes when the restaurant is less than 10 minutes from my home. Your excuse was that you could hop into your boyfriend’s car when he arrives after dinner at 11 p.m.

Did you really want to relive our carefree years or was I just a convenient friend who could accompany you dinner, so you don’t have to feel alone on Friday evening while waiting for darling boyfriend? I don’t know. Why don’t you tell me?

I guess the last straw was when you asked me to join you in The Boulevard over a long weekend. You said we could have fun, doing all the girl things like we did, tripping into the hotel lobby at 6 a.m. the way we used to do years ago. You said that we could share the room and through the whole weekend, we could drink ourselves piss silly with your bunch of rugby boys.

It has taken you two years to invite me to join your bunch of rugby friends. It makes me wonder why do you want me to join you at all. I understand that we all need our own spaces and private friends. At least that is the excuse I made up for you.

So why are you sharing your friends with me now? What made you change your mind after two years, my friend? Wait a minute. I can conveniently pay for half the board, right? Maybe I am extra useful. I can keep you company you while your boyfriend does some of his work. Maybe your other friends were away for the long weekend and you were stuck to your old convenient friend.

I wanted to reply, "I waited two years for an invitation to join your other friends. It's ironic because I no longer want to go." But I chose not to reply instead. Some things are better left unsaid.

Did my reply surprise you? I am sure it did not. My no response was in fact a response that is all too familiar. I was busy. You should know. You have always been busy. While it is true that you were busy but were you too busy to reply EVERYONE's calls? No, you were just too busy to reply MINE.

These days you asked what am I so busy with. How could I be too busy to accompany you to retrieve your new passport from the Immigration Department or have that special Tuesday’s coffee? Why can’t I queue 30 minutes for the movie tickets while you get dressed at home?

I think we are both a little too old to bitch about friendships, so I guess this is it. Whilst in the past, I might have made time for you but not today, not for you anyway. So you were right all along. You have your priorities and so do I. You are just no longer mine.

So yeah, I will look into my calendar. Perhaps we’ll meet up when I am free.

Conveniently yours,

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A wise man once said "There is no such thing as best friends, only friends you do more things with than others". I used to believe in 'true friendship'. I took the fall, I took the risks and when I started expecting the same, it all went sour. Since then, my best friend is myself.

2:43 pm  

i totally get what you mean.
you make the effort to meet up, be there for your friend and all... and all she does is call you to SLOT you into her busy timetable....

but sometimes i dont know why im such a fool to continue being there for her. friendship i guess. agh.

3:16 pm  

You are such an inspiration

2:10 pm  

Lost In Translation
I don't think I am expecting much. I can't go any lower than I have for this friend of mine. We are still friends. We still meet and have a good laugh over coffee. But I will no longer go out of my way for her, the way I used to do.

I'd like to believe that there are true friends and there are such people. They are just rare =)

Daph or Eve
I wonder if it is a girl thing... or just that girls are more sensitive to this? Or what?

If you are true friends, you are never too busy for the friend. If you are not friends, then everything becomes an excuse of being "busy".

Yeah, the things we do for friends.....

Little Black Book
Please contact me through my email as I have advertisement space to sell. Only if you are interested, of course. Till then, please do not spam my comment section or I will be forced to delete your comments that are not related to my posts.

I hope you understand my stand on this. If I allow you to start your advertising here, I'll soon be flooded with many other comments that totally unrelated to my posts.

2:41 pm  

You began your post with 'Dear Friend' and that tells us the type of a person you are.

Don't sit brooding over that 'friend' of yours. I'm sure you have many true friends in your circle of acquaintances who cherishes your friendship.

2:42 am  

yah its either just a girl's thing..... or perhaps we're being too sensitive in this area. everytime i get paranoid about this whole slotting into her timetable thingy, all my friend can say is to ask me to stop being over sensitive.

you dont really hear about guys complaining on such issues huh.... hmmmm....

10:51 am  

it is post like these that makes me come back here everytime. it doesn't mean i'm a sadist or anything. it's the thought of someone who has learned something valueble in their life and made the effort to express it out to the public. *bows to otto*

1:19 pm  

If i am not wrong, this is not the first time you wrote about this friend..... think you wrote about her before...

waste no more time on her.... not worth it....>.<

1:30 pm  

I wonder if this is all part of growing up. I never really realized that my friendship is at such a poor state. I always loved her like gold and I think realizing this makes me feel vulnerable. How stupid can I be? All the wasted years....

Daph or Eve
Me thinks is a girl issue. Men just burp and make up.

It makes all of us feel less lonely... that we all share similar experiences and emotions =)

They are not the same persons =) well that's the thing about friendships, I guess.... some good, some bad.... the bad only helps us to appreciate the good even more.

11:03 am  

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