This might be a long one, so I apologize in advance. I will try to keep it as short as possible.
A few weeks ago, I found out that a close family friend had passed away and, in the same night, a guy I knew from high school passed away. I held up pretty well, given that I did not spend a whole lot of time with these two individuals, but it really hit hard yesterday.
Yesterday, there was a memorial service for Josh – the guy I went to school with. I feel to fully understand where I am coming from I’d have to give you the background of our friendship.
He moved into town in 10th or 11th grade. I was one of the TV/AV kids. I did not eat lunch in the cafeteria, I ate lunch in the TV/AV room. I worked on helping the morning announcements, and while I did stage crew for the plays at my high school, I also helped set up whatever Mr. Pridy (the TV/AV teacher) needed help with.
I saw Josh at a pep rally of some sort when I was sitting with my friend Jamie. He was new and male so as any normal high school female would do, we started talking to him. He had a huge smile and an infectious laugh which everyone noticed right off the bat – after his curly hair that covered his eyes. He was hilarious and fun so we started to talk more and more and I found out he lived a street over from me.
Because I really didn’t have friends in my own town, Josh and I hung out all the time after school. We’d hang at his house or just walk around town until all hours of the night. I can honestly say, I never had feelings for him that went beyond friendship. He was just that dude I could talk to and laugh with – he even gave great hugs. We went to a Flogging Molly concert together and he helped me with stage crew for a play that a local community theatre company was putting on. I just remember sitting in the wings, playing chess on my laptop with Josh while waiting for scene changes (each scene was ridiculously long).
I don’t remember when he joined the TV/AV kids, but one of hardest working and smartest guys from there told me yesterday that he remembers meeting Josh for the first time while helping me with the play I mentioned in the paragraph above (he was helping me, too). So it must have been after then.
Josh and I had a falling out due to reasons I attribute to other friends I had at the time and other friends he had at the time. We barely talked and went our separate ways towards the end of high school.
Even though I knew he was not living in the same house in town a few years ago, when I would take walks I would pass his house. I would always think of him and the times we had. I told myself “I should reach out to him and see how he’s doing.” I never did. Even though I know what happened to our friendship was due to our age and immaturity, I regret losing his friendship. It is what it is at this point, but I am so glad I have the memories I have of him.
I was fine all day until it was time to leave work and go to the memorial service. I was a nervous wreck because I knew I’d see people I haven’t seen in 10 years. I got there and had a nice time connecting with the people I have on social media, but never make an effort to see.
Mr. Pridy said something to me that made me think – as he always did back in high school. He asked me not to become the person he only sees at funerals and weddings. I told him that unfortunately, that’s how I will most likely be. He was saddened but told me he respected that I knew myself enough to be honest. I also told him, I’m the type of person that is really close with people I see all the time, but once I don’t see them a lot I cut ties (like some of the friends I had in college, theatre productions, or past work places). It’s not intentional, it’s just “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. He said most people will be that type of person but can’t admit it. I made promises to him and others that I would keep in touch and reach out to them to meet up from time to time, especially since they live so close. I had a feeling they were going to be empty promises no matter how much I didn’t want them to be.
By the time I got home I was mentally exhausted. I had been thinking of each and every person that I talked to yesterday that I had known from the TV/AV room in high school. The people who helped me get through high school. The people I made so many memories with for 4 years. The people who meant so much in a time of stress, drama, and confusion. And I reflected on the promises I had made. I thought really long and hard, which made me even more exhausted and unbearable to be around (even though I was by myself).
I made a promise to myself while at home. I told myself that those who want me in their life, and those I want in my life as well, will be a priority. If I am invited out, I will do my best to accept and be there. No excuses unless it is an emergency of course. I will also return the invitations so that I am making an effort as well.
I had told Mr. Pridy, that if he starts up his poker games and invites me, I might not make it to every game, but I would be there from time to time. I intend on doing that.
Later, another teacher I was fond of and kept in contact with from high school posted about a convention she was attending. I had made a comment and she told me the details and invited me to go. I had to sadly decline, because it’s coming up soon, I work weekends, and money is tight. After I had made my excuse of not going, I thought “here we go, K. Already breaking promises to yourself.” However, I do fully intend on attending the convention next year. I am already planning it out. I had been telling this teacher that I might go since senior year (when I was 18). I intend to do my best to be there by saving up the money and using vacation time for the weekend of that convention.
I have to be a better person. I have to be a better friend.