When Friendships Expire

(Put away your harps and violins, lads; it’s not that kind of post today)

Make new friends x2

But keep the old

One is silver and other gold

That was the refrain from this ghastly melody we were forced to sing as “obligatory” Girl Guides. We were “obligatory” because it was mandatory for every girl from 4th grade and up to join the Guides in my primary school during the 1989 school year. Amongst  all the crafty things we were expected to master ( like putting out forest fires with a red rag that doubled as a neckerchief), it’s the words from this song that’s stuck with me over the years.

It’s not easy being my friend, and I recognize that. I have a cruel and twisted sense of humor; I’m unnecessarily loud and somewhat boorish; my morals have been hijacked by the Republican party (which indirectly makes me a Republican leaning ‘Uncle Tom’…how dreadful!) and I am unwavering on anything I am passionate about. My public persona is far more affable though. Public Malaka is cordial, humorous and generic. It’s because of this dichotomy that  I have hundreds of acquaintances, but very (very) few people who consider me their friend, and vice-versa. I believe I can say that I have no more that 5 real friends at any given point in my life. I am fiercely loyal when it comes to my friendships. I would go to the gates of Hell and spear the heart of Satan and all his minions if a friend needed me to. I love my friends – and so when I loose a friend, I mourn their loss as one mourns the death of a loved one.

Everything comes to an end, but I’ve just come to realize in my 30s that that includes friendships as well. Camaraderie carries an expiry date! *Sniff!*

My first clue into this bit of insight came when my gal pal from high school came to Atlanta a couple of years ago. She grew up insanely rich – like her dad ate dollars for lunch and crapped pound sterling after dinner. Despite our economic divide, we were part of an insanely close knit clique that had no rhyme or reason. We hadn’t seen each other in 4 years at the time, as she’d gone to England for college and I’d come to America. When she announced she was coming to town and asked me to pick her up so we could go out, my elation quickly turned to panic. I called and warned her that I wasn’t driving a BMW and a Mercedes. I had a Dodge Neon with no air and a cracked window. I actually apologized for my car. She assured me that it was ok and commanded me to pick her up anyway. I ferried her around Buckhead and all the poshest sites in town, as she made it clear that she didn’t just shop or eat anywhere. And then after that, I didn’t hear from her for 6 more years. I assumed it was because of our class differences, and her failure to answer any of my emails just to say ‘hey’ just left me wondering.

My next clue came when a woman that I have known since we were both 8 and had hitherto referred to as my ‘cousin’ defriended me on Facebook. Now, I reject friend requests and do a Facebook cull myself every 6 months or so, but there are a core group of people who I will never scrub from my friends list, unless they have committed some unspeakable and unforgivable act. So of course, I asked her what I’d done to be banished from her friends list. She offered me a candid explanation, but said that we were still cool in real life…we just couldn’t be FB friends anymore. After I mulled over it a couple of days, I decided that wouldn’t do. If you don’t like virtual Malaka, actual Malaka must be an even more bitter tonic to swallow. I curse you for this Facebook!!!

And now – NOW, the worse is to come. I’ve made the decision to relocate with my family and again my delight has turned to distress. A year and a half ago, I was a bored and lonely housewife with too many children and too much solitary time on my hands. I was socially idle, miserable and ready to leave Atlanta. It had lost its shine anyway. Again, after much prayer,  God pulled out his wacky Rolex and provided me with what I consider two true friends – or at least hardcore allies in the daily Mommy Grind. The unfortunate part is that He did this AFTER I had made the commitment to move. It can’t be undone, and now my girls will grow up without their current best friends and all that is familiar to them. I can’t help but wonder if I’m acting as a spoiling agent and causing their friendships to expire before their time as well.

‘Mom of Five’ and ‘Angry Island Lady’: To say that I’ll miss you when we’re gone is an understatement, but there’s no other way to say it.

I guess you can pull out the violins now. This post took an unexpected sentimental turn.