The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Old Friend

The clinical medical trial I was in for a year and a half, 18 months, 540 nights (not to mention monthly and bi-monthly visits) – was finally over.

It was the holidays and I was not going back East to visit family because I can’t handle the cold. But I missed my roots.

Spontaneously, I thought of a friend who I heard had moved nearby. In the summer she had invited me through Evite to a party at her new house, but I had a friend visiting from out-of-state who didn’t want to go so we ended up not.

The next day I sent an e-mail of apology. She wrote that there were so many people there we probably wouldn’t have had much time to talk.

In junior high and high school we had similar friends, yet were not ones ourselves. We ended up going to the same college, driving cross country and becoming best friends. I had befriended a professor, purely platonic, and invited him to get to know my roommates and I got to know his. My dream was to take a boat ride down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.

One day the professor called, but instead of talking to me, he asked to speak to my friend. He invited her to take that trip down the Colorado River. I was shocked. Shocked that he could be so brazen, and hurt that she would say yes, since he obviously liked her and she said they could never be more than friends. She just wanted the trip.

One night I borrowed her car and at the top of my lungs was singing The Talking Heads, “Take Me to the River,” when I hit another car. Her car while still drivable, but for insurance purposes, was totaled.

I had given her money toward that car, it was in her name, and after the accident she demanded more. Unlike her, I had put myself through college. I sold the majority of my possessions and gave her the money.

When I left college to live with a boyfriend in California, I said goodbye to everyone, but her.

Our relationship was never the same.

In October, I wrote an article for “Marin Magazine” about my health situation and the insanity of trying to find a good doctor, let alone getting one to make a correct diagnosis.

The holidays were approaching and for some reason, I thought of this friend. I wondered if she had read the piece. If so, why hadn't she contacted me? One of the things cancer has given me is a total lack of fear. I have nothing to lose.

I called and said, “So it’s not a suburban legend. You actually do live in Marin.”

There was a long silence, then she said, “Dawn, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you. I read that article. Are you okay?”

I was stunned. She had read it but had neither e-mailed nor called me.

We talked some more, she was going away and we agreed to get together when she returned.

Last Saturday I went to her home. She lives exactly six minutes from me. The next day I e-mailed her and thanked her for a lovely time, but I said I had to ask her something.

I wrote: ”I know you said you read about me. That you were concerned. I need to know. Were you ever going to e-mail me or call me, or were you too overwhelmed? I’d just like to know.”

To her credit, she e-mailed back quickly and said that she tried to find my e-mail but could only find an old one. (It hadn’t changed from the summer’s Evite invitation.) Though she said she knew that wasn’t a good excuse since I was easy to find. She said, “believe it or not, my guilt caused my inaction.” She said she guessed it was “a flaw in my character.” She said of course she felt bad that I made the first call, but she was glad that I did.

I thought, I could leave this e-mail hanging or I can reply. I thanked her for her honesty and said it couldn’t have been an easy e-mail to write. I also said that we have had our ups and downs since college. I did thank her for a lovely card that she sent after my mother died. And I would always remember the gesture.

But I can’t forget that she read that article I wrote, that was so bare, honest and vulnerable, and did not contact me. If the situation were reversed, I would have been on the phone in a second.

Character flaw? More like lack of character. I don’t think I’ll be contacting her again. It’s not so much that I can’t forgive, but that I can’t forget. And this episode is so representative of her. She is someone who has led an extremely easy life. She has no idea what real hardship involves.

I feel sorry for her because when it hits –and it will -- it will come down hard. But I do know this: when it does, I will be there for her.

I just can’t deal with her now.

By Dawn Yun


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