Monday, December 14, 2009

Sad on Chanukah

Although I'm not really aware of being sad, and during the day I'm very productive, I think I might be getting depressed because lately I've been sleeping for about 11 hours a night with no logical explanation.

I can think of a few things worrying me: Money issues, dating issues ... having those issues on Chanukah... but there's nothing in particular going on, and in fact I've been doing really well lately in other areas (exercising more, getting more work done, getting more errands done), so I don't know what's up.

Anyway there is one thing I want to get off my chest, and I hope this blog post will help me get some "closure" on it.

In college I had an incredibly close friend I'll call Yaffa, because that was NOT her name. We met in the middle of Freshman year and talked or spent time together almost every day after that. In Junior and Senior years we shared an apartment with some other friends. We had one of those intensely loyal relationships that women have; we were like close sisters.

In Junior year it transpired that she wished to date a mutual friend I'll call Jonah (because that is NOT his name), someone I'd gone to high school with and was, also, a very close friend. I was instrumental in getting them together, and when they got married I flew out to the West Coast to be a bridesmaid at their wedding.

Meanwhile we all graduated and pretty soon Yaffa and Jonah moved to the West Coast and started having children, while I stayed in New York. I spoke with Yaffa sometimes, but it turned out that she's terrible at keeping in touch. It wasn't just me, it was all her New York friends. Her reasons were always a combination of being busy and not remembering to call until night-time, when it was too late out East to call. Still, we did talk on the phone intermittently, and I saw them once or twice a year when we were all in Boston for Jewish holidays. I'd walk over to Jonah's parents' house to see them for a few hours. Also, a couple of times, when I visited my sister in California, I flew or rented a car and drove several hours (each way) to see my old college friends.

Then I made Aliyah, and basically never heard from them again, except for formal birth announcements they mailed out. I do remember that shortly after I moved to Israel, Yaffa was here to visit family, and I was disappointed that she didn't make time to see me. After that, I tried calling them, leaving messages on their machine every few weeks... and then every few months ... and then about once a year...and never got a response. Emails to Jonah's various addresses either bounced back or got no answer, and I'd never had an email for Yaffa because I'd never needed one; she'd used her husband's.

I had the feeling it wasn't anything to take personally -- if the time difference had been an issue before, it was worse now; and if they'd been busy before, they were much busier now with more kids and more job and graduate school obligations -- but it hurt and it was disappointing that people I'd been so close with had just disappeared completely from my life. I was especially hurt about Yaffa because, as close as Jonah and I had been in high school and college, the friendship between women is just different and more intense. Certainly I understand being in touch less, since I'm in touch less with MOST of my friends who are still in America. But to never hear from them at all? It's so sad, and I do wonder whether maybe I'd said something wrong.

About a year ago I was at some sort of social function -- a wedding? I don't remember -- and ran into Esther (NOT her name), who I know because she, too, had been a bridesmaid at Yaffa and Jonah's wedding. We caught up a little, and it turned out that Yaffa has effectively dropped out of Esther's life as well, something she feels sore and confused about, also.

Through Facebook, I sent an email to Jonah's sister a few weeks ago, who put me in touch with Jonah, who connected me to Yaffa. We exchanged a few polite emails and she caught me up on her life, but the exchange fizzled. The thread is lost and she's not picking it up again... and if she won't, or can't, then I won't either.

I worry about them sometimes. During the years after graduation, I know they were having a hard time financially for a while, and sometimes wondered, when I saw them together, how their marriage was going. (For the record I do *not* suspect that Jonah is isolating Yaffa in any way; if anything, she's the one with more power in their relationship). But based on their Facebook pictures and what they emailed me, it seems they are doing better now and have a good, stable life. Their kids are beautiful and they are active in their community. I would have liked to be in touch with them, as I'm in touch with several of my friends in the States, to one extent or another (rarely to the extent I'd like, but that's life as far-flung, busy grownups).

So now I'm just sad. Although I've known deep down for a long time that my friendship with Yaffa is over, I'm just now really confronting that idea and mourning. I realize now that for years after we graduated it was mostly me keeping things up. It was I who walked over to see them, I who travelled to see them, though to be fair every once in a long while she would call me out of the blue. Once I moved out of the country, it was totally over.

Intellectually I realize that maybe she just wanted to start a new life out west, or really is terrible at maintaining contact. But as someone who is intensely loyal to old friends, I have a hard time relating to that.

And that's just how it is. End of post. Closure . . . maybe.

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