Certain Friendships Don’t Last Forever (2)

Sometimes when you’re sleep deprived, you start imagining things and seeing stars before your eyes. That’s what I thought the first time I saw them.

On the way back to Indonesia I stopped over in Singapore to see my best friend from high school, who’s heavily pregnant and ready to explode any day now. I landed in Singapore at 6 AM and headed for shower room on the second floor in attempt of keeping myself awake. I couldn’t sleep on the plane: the first 4 hours a passenger seating next to me was talking nonstop of being a Jewish and Jewish tradition (my fault, I asked. I should’ve known better about old people, they’re chatty!), and the next 8 hours were spent on watching movies. I was thinking about sleeping for a few hours until the shops open at 11 AM but the transit hotel at Changi was fully booked, and another place offers non-private napping rooms, and the thought of sharing a room with other 7 strangers immediately put me off, so after early check-in for Jakarta and left my hand luggage, I went for Starbucks instead. By 4 PM when heading back to airport after sushi overdose and another cup of coffee, I realized that I had been up for 31 hours and couldn’t wait to go home. I went to boarding room the minute the gate was open, so I could sit down and doze off. But just before I decided which song in my ipod I would use to help me sleep, a lady in red walked toward me and I realize it was Monika, my ex-colleague.

And she’s not alone. There were at least 5-6 of my ex colleagues and bosses who were on the same flight as me (I have a theory that half of Singapore is occupied by Indonesian, and this is the proof) and we exchanged some words before boarding. I was ready to sleep (it had been 33 hours by then), but I must wait for other passengers to seat next to me (a downside of choosing aisle seat), so I spent time by looking around, and there, right across the room, seating on the same row as me, I saw…. them.

I thought I was mistaken. I thought my sleep deprivation had taken its toll. But I know I am good at remembering face. And it’s not that I don’t know them. I know them too well I couldn’t be mistaken, even if they turn up with mustaches or red hair. So after a few blinks and seconds of stare, I knew it’s them.

My first posting back in April 2005 was about her. About them. Back then she and I were joined at the hips and best friends. That until she decided to date him, a married guy with a kid. It’s not like she was my first friend who did it, nor she was the first person who did it in the history of humankind, but the matter became complicated because it involved work, and rather than being smart and handled it with dignity and pride, they decided to run and hide – cut off all contacts with me and other friends – and pretend we never exist. The declared a major cold war with everybody else, rather than tried to gain some sympathy by trying to explain the situation from her point.

Their decision has made people never stop talking about them and decide to dislike them. It was tough situation in the office for her, and for me because I kept bumping into her on the corridor but must stop the urge to ask how she was because she always pretended she didn’t see me. The talk behind her back kept on and on, especially because they noticed she was suddenly loaded and the gossip had gone from bad to worse. Rather than facing the reality or trying to tell their side of story, she quit and changed job. She could vanished from the office, but bad memories and reputation linger. I had tried to keep the story balanced in the beginning but have long stopped doing it because she betrayed me as a friend and thought I was with others who condemned the affair (she’s right) hence I was the enemy (she’s wrong. I was still her friend even when she stopped talking to me).

Years later both of them sent me text. She said she’d missed me, and although she didn’t say sorry, the entire message was very apologetic. He sent the similar one 30 seconds afterwards. Apparently their affair has grown to be a real relationship, and it’s serious. He got divorced, and had introduced her to his family. When the texts went to my inbox, I was in Singapore with other colleagues from 9 Asian countries, having a very important meeting, and didn’t want to deal with it. But afterwards I decided not to reply the texts: I was too busy and had no energy for their extracurricular activity, plus I don’t know what they expected from me. I don’t think they need my approval or acknowledgment for their love, so I sensed they needed me because they were about to go public with their relationship, and might need my help to broadcast the new fact to my and her ex-colleagues in a positive mode – but hey, I might be wrong and thought myself to be more important than what they thought about me.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hold any grudge. I don’t have any regrets or resentment. I don’t hate her for what she has done to me, although throwing me away in the garbage bin then decided years later that I was actually worthy, wasn’t really my ideal friendship concept. I simply believe that life goes on and I have been miles away from the issue which I am no longer interested in, and from the people whom are not important to me anymore. So this lucky couple could do it as well. Move on. Face the public with chins up. And do it alone without my help. Until yesterday when I saw them sitting only a few meters away, I never bumped into them even once after they performed their vanishing act. We definitely hung out in two totally different crowds, even though Jakarta is a small village.

However I couldn’t stop myself from smiling yesterday. Of all flight schedules back to Jakarta, they chose this one, with me and other ex-colleagues – who, of course, remember her, him and the affair, very vividly – in it. Their pants must be on fire! Isn’t it ironic, too see everything they have concealed for years, and from everybody, just flashed right there before everybody’s eyes. If meeting me probably wasn’t an ideal situation, meeting these people must be their worst dream.

He sat on the aisle, and I could feel he glanced at me many times. I am sure they know I don’t live in Indonesia anymore, so they couldn’t be sure whether it was me or just someone who looked like me.

But their doubt was vanished when we’re queuing for custom check. My (her) ex-colleagues were standing right next to them and I was on the next line, so they called my name and waved. He, being very tall, could easily turn his head and found the tiny me in the middle of the crowd. He looked at me. I looked past him.

I didn’t see them on baggage collection area. I didn’t even bother to look them up. I was too tired as I hadn’t had sleep for more than 35 hours. I gave my luggage tag to a porter – something I had never done before – and waited for him to collect my luggage.

I went home. I drank from the tap before realizing I was in Indonesia. I took a shower. And slept like a baby.

I guess no matter what they have tried to mend this friendship, it wouldn’t work. I couldn’t care less, and she’s too proud (and maybe doesn’t give a damn either). But isn’t it weird, to stand only few meters away from someone we know inside out and pretend they don’t exist?

But, if you were in my shoes, what would you do?

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  1. Anita, life is too short to wallow on the why’s and how’s of these being existence, cherish the time that she actually was a good friend and try to forgive her for her lack of maturity.

  2. Kemauan says:

    Anita, a sin is a human character from the beginning that’s why sin is very nice to do, if not, people will not do that :). Our responsibilities is only to admonish them so that they know it is wrong (so don’t kill your friend because they do that :) )

  3. Andie Summerkiss says:

    That must be hard for you. I had once been shunned by a very best friend who suddenly decided that I offend her and cut ties all together years ago. I did write to her a couple of times, because she did help me a lot, but she wrote back very nasty emails. I have no idea how I am going to react when she comes back one day.

    So I do believe in the saying, that God give us our family, but He lets us choose our friends. Choose wisely. However, we can always change friends. That’s one of our most basic human rights

    Cheer up and enjoy your holiday home 😀

  4. I have a similar experience with a friend I’d known since high school. We went to the same university together and she introduced me to her friends and we often went out together.

    And then one day she decided to stop talking to me for no reason – she even moved seats just so that she didn’t have to sit next to me when she came late to class one day.

    I didn’t ask her what was wrong. I KNEW I did nothing wrong.

    Two years after, on our final year of university, I was busy burning some stuff on one of the Macs at the design campus when all of a sudden, she came up, sat next to me and asked how I was doing and that she bet my assignment would be really good (sucking up and shite).

    I ignored her and left straight away.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Wah..i can not handle things like this. i am a loving and loveable human being 😛 . i got depressed when knowing there are people who don’t like me. first and foremost i will be busy looking for what have i done wrong and even blame my self because i have displeased people.

    as i grew up, i learn a bit and a bit and a bit that to like and dislike is totally fine.

    i admire you guys who can walk away with no burden on these kind of matters. this is totally my minus. i must learn more.

  6. Rob Baiton says:

    Life goes on for all of us and sometimes it takes even the best of friends in different directions.

    There are more important things to worry about. Besides you’re on holiday, enjoy the holiday 😀

  7. tere616 says:

    Anita, I know its hard to be nice to someone who had thrown us. But have you ever try to ask the reason of her 1st text ?

    Pls don’t be like them, you have to be better. Gather all the fact before you make your judgement.

    As Elyani said, try to forgive her.

    Anyway … enjoy your holiday

  8. Finally Woken says:

    @Elyani: agree. As I said, I have no regret or resentment. I am more than forgiving her, I don’t feel anything at all now. I value our friendships. But I refuse to be dragged into her mess again.

    @Kemauan: Exactly. I’ve made my point loud and clear and she’s a big girl to make her own decision and lead her life.

    @Andie&Therry: That’s life. People will come and go in our life.

    @Anonymous: I am still learning too. It’s not easy. But I can accept the fact now that there are some who don’t like me in this world, and I’m fine with it.

    @Rob: yup, I’m definitely enjoying the holiday.

    @Tere616: No I didn’t. Should I?

  9. ‘if you were in my shoes, what would you do?’

    Because of a trillion reasons I don’t know what I would do in these circumstances. Though my wild guess is that
    – though the friendship is history but
    – we still can’t ignore the fact we know each other and
    – there has been their token of reconciliation ( these emails I mean) in the meantime
    – the only inhibition left to block a non committal, casual greeting are
    – feelings of mutual embarrassment (far more for them than for me probably) with this situation.

    So, what would I do after this intercontinental flight? Would I have the nerve to ask after their wellbeing and their child/children?
    I guess I should. I guess I wouldn’t.

  10. I am a reactive person, so if someone decided to avoid me, I will avoid them too. Actually, I was in her shoes, almost, and decided to shut my relationships with some of my friends just because of one incident. But then I remember the old saying, “Losing a friend is a big loss even though you gain 1000 new friends”. Therefore, I decided to keep them because you never know when you need them (sound selfish, hmh), or, when they need me (my soft button).

    In the mean time, I just think about more important things and have fun with my other group of friends!

    parvitas last blog post..Fasting: Did God tell us to do More Harm than Benefit to our Body?

  11. you know what, I’ve actually been through those kind of moments where you pretend to not know the person you know inside out when she’s right there sitting next to you.

    I’ve posted a similar post in my friendster blog about a year ago.. (yeah, I guess before owning your own blog domain, you must have a friendster blog first.. lol) well actually, the post wasn’t THAT similar… the big bad wolf did something bad DIRECTLY to me. and though it didn’t involved any married man, but still, it was something that could even make Amy Winehouse’s moral kick in. And it hurts.

    Anyway,, being the classy snob I am, I wrote it on the internet. I didn’t mention names, off course. It was sort of like an I’M WARNING YOU letter. For her to stop what’s she’s doing.

    Anyways, I was the one that was portrayed in a bad picture, thanks to that siluman rubah. And that made me furious because what she’s been telling people was total BS. but then I realized something. she was actually helping me separate my true friends from the ‘i hang out with you because every cool people hangs out with you’ friends. it’s indeed true that true friends don’t buy shit about you before checking it with you.

    It has been more than a year since all that sinetrony drama, and you know what, she performed a vanishing act as well. she went missing, I mean, gone. because later on people heard about what really happened (from her old housemates), so she decided to be in the public less. I guess you get what you give away, and she can’t be missing because, well, no body misses her. and the ones that do, urmm well lets say,, they deserve each other.

    and if ever she sends me a text saying sorry, I’d be too busy to reply too. because seriously, lagu lama. and I’m only typing about it now to avoid doing chores (my excuse was ‘working on thesis’) because our help is still on her mudik lebaran. hehe…

  12. Yoanitya: in my case it’s the other way around, She’s the one who cut all the contact off and pretends she doesn’t know me. It’s weird, since we have gone through a lot…

  13. Anita, I can relate to your post but on my case, I am the one who decided to cut loose all ties and move on. After a few months (6 months or so) she finally sent me a message on one of the social networking site asking why I am avoiding her and her entourage who used to be part of the ‘gang’. After a long and hard reeling in my brain, I decided not to give her more opportunity to use my words and twist it around even more in the future. Besides, she will never admit that one huge betrayal she did to me after over 5 years being her very very close friends and were trusted with her many secrets. Oh also, she too was having a complicated relationships with two guys one married, one single at the time and although I didn’t quite agree with the path she chosen (staying with the married man), I still kept my mouth shut, listened to her, being a supportive friend and didn’t bad mouthed her to others the way she did me and eventually reached my very own ears. Oh well…you are right certain friendships just wasn’t meant to last a lifetime.
    .-= Maureen´s last blog ..Friendship, Love & Truth =-.

  14. Maureen: Looks like very complicated and mega drama to me. Sometimes a friendship is not meant to be, it should work both ways, both parties have to put effort and maintain honesty, and once the balance is tipped, when one works harder than the other, when one starts lying and being insincere, then it’s not a friendship anymore. Still hurt though, right? :)

  15. I Don't Know What To Do says:

    Hi, I am also in a very complicated friendship. I need someone to talk to, but it isn’t easy to contact someone who can be trusted. Basically, what my friend does is to shun me when she’s moody and vent her anger on me. It’s very frustrating since I’ve been her friend for many years. We are very dependent on each other but sometimes she seems far away. Other friends also regard the two of us to be best friends, but the truth is, I don’t think I want to be best friends with her. I would have to adapt to her mood swings and all that nonsense. Plus, she also tries to be a wet blanket and fun and happy events. She tells jokes and expects others to laugh when it isn’t funny.
    Sort of sad.

    • Hi Lala, reading your comment makes me think that you do have a complicated relationship with your friend. Looks like you love her but can’t stand her. I wonder though, if it’s because you have too much expectation from her, or because you two have too similar characters they clash all the time? Sometimes when it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be. When you ‘adjust’ your expectation, I am sure you won’t be hurt as much.


  1. […] I remember it vividly. My blog started because of this post, because of this person. Maybe I should thank her after all, for being such an inspiration…. The post is about my (ex) best co-worker who had an affair with a married man who was also a vendor for my project. It’s a messy love affair, but strangely I ended up losing her as my friend, not the other way around. Three years later I bumped into her and her lover again, and the incident inspired the same post, part 2. Read Certain Friendships Don’t Last Forever Part 1 and Part 2. […]

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