Crickets chirp. Or at least they would if my cat wasn’t inclined to devour them when they get into the house, leaving only the legs behind as a warning to others. It’s been almost a week since some pretty moving news was announced to some of the closest people in our lives. Most of the reactions have been as expected, but one has been almost a non-reaction of sorts.
I wasn’t there for the initial discussion, but the party had seemed very excited about said news and indicated that they would be in touch with me shortly. That was six days ago. Although my email and phone numbers have not changed, and the only request I had was not to discuss it on Facebook, there has been nothing.
A few years ago, the same person called me up out of the blue to “confront” me about “not talking to them.” The only things that had changed were that I was working a lot (I had two weekend commitments at the time which took up a lot of my time) and the person was starting to become inconsiderate and, at times, downright rude to me, so I was keeping myself at arm’s length. It meant that I wouldn’t be bothering to call them all the time, but by all means did not mean that they couldn’t pick up the phone to call me.
The way the confrontation was handled left a bad taste in my mouth. I was caught off guard, and the way they spoke to me, felt very condescending from one adult to another. It made me realize that there were expectations that I uphold 90% of the relationship, and that their simple willingness to take my calls or be home when I came to see them was enough. It began to feel like I was being taken for granted, the emotional bank of the relationship only served for their withdrawals, and they felt no obligation to put in any “deposits” of their own.
Eventually, I just stopped trying. It took a very long time for the person to even notice, and when if happened, it was never acknowledged. The awkwardness of that lingered, as though the refusal to recognize my feelings will simply make them go away. Perhaps I became to hyper-sensitive to it.
Still, from that point on, the only topics of conversation the person wished to discuss became those that they knew were sore subjects with me. And those were pursued with unrelenting fervor in spite of all my verbal and non-verbal cues against it. It became difficult to tell if buttons were being pushed as punishment or if they simply had nothing else to discuss with me. The lack of effort on my part was palpable, as though the person could sense that the bulk of the weight of the relationship was no longer being carried by anyone. Their inability to pick up the slack or even consider that as a possibility allowed the chasm to grow ever deeper.
Things in my life are about to shift in a big way. Those who are on board, those who make the effort and are there for me, will notice very little change. However, those who have not, well, life shouldn’t change very much for them either. Except they may wake up one morning and realize they haven’t seen or spoken to me in a few years, and wonder what the heck happened. By then, though, it will be far too late.