bad habits of expectancy

January 8, 2006

My new year’s message has rung true. I am tempted to say: ‘I told you so.’ But who will it benefit if I am the prescient one, the one who always has the answers? What if the scientist discovers a new strain of cancer, but it is his own body in which the cancer is insidiously spreading?

I don’t think I’m being childish, neither do I think that I’m setting up situations to test you. Just as you don’t think that I am worth dropping all plans to come see, neither do I think I should do the same for you. Even though I would have gladly skipped meeting two people whom I don’t really care for and missed French lessons just to come see you. But I do think that in every relationship there has to be fairness and equality, at least to some extent. And I don’t think that they have been duly accorded to me this time around. I can’t be a forsaken cur waiting at your feet, eagerly anticipating the next scrap from your banquet. If you cannot do the same for me, then in all honesty I can’t do the same for you, even though some part of my heart yearned so much to do so.

Yes, I do think that the whole affair has been mismanaged, and you have mixed all your priorities up. Each time I see you you find you have to reiterate the fact that you are an independent person, and you wouldn’t be doing things forced upon you unless you wanted to do it yourself. But see: look at how things have progressed. There is no fairness or equality in that relationship either: he seems to be able to function perfectly by himself, thrown alone for some time and you start becoming neurotic. You haven’t weaned yourself off dependency, you’ve merely substituted dependencies.

But where do you go from here? I’m glad you no longer have to depend on me for survival, but does that mean that you have to slowly shut yourself away from me to prove it? That’s not independence, that’s impoliteness. What do you expect me to say: ‘Thank you come again’? And what will you do when finally things blow up in your face, because not a single relationship is happy days every day, what will you do? Will you throw all dignity and pride to the wind and go crawling back to him, like some bad Backstreet Boys song? Have you really got your priorities right?

I don’t want you to grovel for my forgiveness, I’m not Jesus Christ. I just want you to realise that you can’t expect me to be pliant and obedient and tractable. At first I tried, I really did: I didn’t ask you to come to my place unless absolutely necessary, I went out of my way to meet you, I went over to your place. But then time and again you started disappointing me, toeing the line, crossing the limit: leaving me two hours alone with our best friend, leaving me alone with my diseases, asking me out then cancelling on me for him, promising ‘tomorrow’ but it never comes. So I imagine that my unwillingness to make any more exceptions for you isn’t unfair or uncalled for. I don’t think you have a right to be angry with me unless you’ve observed how you are behaving.

You want me to be a regular give-and-take friend, but these friends don’t go out of the way for each other and plan entire timetables around each other. I didn’t, I won’t and I wouldn’t, since it is evident that you can’t do the same for me. So don’t hold it against me when I don’t make exceptions any more. Don’t blame me for getting frustrated when you renege on promises, when you are hours late, when you make me go out of my way to meet you, when you try to sandwich me between appointments with people. I can’t help it, I don’t like feeling like I’m backup or unimportant. It’s not that I have high expectations, my only expectation is to feel loved (or is that too high?), or at least feel that I have been graced with common courtesy. I don’t know why they were never met, and to be honest I’m really heartbroken. I thought, at least, I was worth more.

And I thought that when we were older we would still be best friends: I thought, somehow, that I might have a part to play in your life, that I’d be best man at your wedding, that I’d be (one of) the one(s) to give you away, that I could babysit your children (because I love them and can’t have any of my own) and give them madly expensive and lavish gifts at Christmas. Now I realise what a naive waif I was, thinking that friendship remains and never can end, when friends come and go, and they always go, and the measure of love is loss.

I used to think that I couldn’t make it by myself, couldn’t go back to the days in secondary school where I thought no one could understand me. Now after a few months of separation from friends who don’t seem to think much of me anymore, I start to realise that the more things change, the more they stay the same, and that I’ve probably been alone all this while too. Isn’t this the human condition? You could spend so much time with someone, and yet at the end you still feel like strangers. If not the eventual drifting, then the inevitable part of your heart which is so private that no one can understand it, no one but yourself. Now I can finally see why some trust no one but themselves, not even their mother, not even their closest friends.

New Year’s Resolutions. Number 1: Be more independent, rely mostly on myself. Number 2: Learn to survive heartbreak.


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