Almost Strangers

May 14, 2010
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The wind was whipping through the semi-crowded parking lot, cooling the air temperature down by only about two or three degrees, but it was still enough to send a small chill down my spine. I was standing outside with a phone pressed to my ear, listening to the dead air on the other end. Again, I was standing here talking to him, trying to find a solution to our persistent problem. But we were coming up with nothing; we were still getting nowhere. This was coming up on a month of this fight, and for almost that entire time, he had been avoiding talking to me, and has even avoided looking at me. But now, I had trapped him and he could not run away. For weeks, I have been trying to make him talk to me, and he was finally willing to listen, even if all I had to say was goodbye.

This whole conversation was so hard; we have not even looked at each other in almost a month, and we were supposed to have an entire conversation about something we haven’t even been able to mention to each other or anyone else? It was hard to wrap my mind around, even harder to put into reality. Nevertheless, here we were, in this incredibly awkward position, trying to force a solution that just will not come. We have tried to talk solution before, but it never worked out. There were several solutions that were being batted about, but none of them seemed to work; there was no middle ground. At least, not that we could see.

But here we were, talking and letting the awkwardness settle around us, like a thick blanket that was smothering our words and making it impossible to breathe. Somehow we got through it and came out with a solution: that we would talk, not all the time, certainly not as much as we used to, but we would talk. The weird thing is, I am getting an abbreviated version of what I originally wanted, when these fights started those long months ago: that we would not be friends anymore. However, he has always resisted that plan, and I always caved and let him convince me not to walk away. But this time, I have gone too far, and I almost lost him. Which, is what I originally wanted, but not anymore. Now, I just want him to look at me again, talk to me again, be my friend again. Things were bad, very bad. And I was trying to fix them, but it really wasn’t working. He was stubborn, and I was stubborn. It was a terrific match-up here, but this wrestling match was about to end.

As I was talking to him, I struggled to keep the tears out of my voice. I wanted to cut him off, make him stop talking, and beg him to just try to forget everything that I said and make our friendship normal again. But that was impossible because he already said that neither of us could forget all that had happened. So I blindly went along with what he was saying, and said nothing that wasn’t in agreement with his plan. Everything seemed so wrong, yet so right at the same time. But I just stood there and let him drive a wedge between us and our friendship.

Throughout that entire phone call, he treated me like a stranger, like someone he just met, but someone he was not sure how to talk to. We were strangers, or rather, almost strangers, and it was the strangest feeling in the world. I could not believe that the person who I had been talking to for over two years was reduced to the position of an almost stranger in less than a month. But it had happened and there was no way to get over it.

This new arrangement had us treating each other almost like strangers, but then again, that’s who we were now. We were strangers to each other, barely knowing what the other one is thinking, what was going through the other’s mind. He said that this arrangement was only temporary, but I believed that it would be permanent. He was supposed to go to college in a few months, and then we would not speak ever again. So, we were destined to be strangers, forever.

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