Separate friends

Odes to the soul promise that if someone seriously wants to be a part of your life, they will make the effort to be in it. This is true, yes. It also however flies dangerously close to issues of unrequited love on one hand, and Stalker Ville behaviour on the other. These two are dubiously linked and you should never aspire to be a part of either one.

I have willingly been a part of both.

It must be said that it is with genuine surprise that I face unrequited love. What’s not to love? I then face that gauntlet with such ferocity and determination to turn the drought’s tide that it is only by the time that I am too exhausted to do anything else, do I actually look at the object of my affection very closely and realise he’s so pedestrian anyway. All I have left in me is the ‘what was I thinking?’ sigh before I pass out into my hot chocolate (read Vodka blackout).

Loved ones and people you’ve never met before will come up to you, rub your back and tell you to cheer up and move on because you’re better than him or her anyway. This is as special as being told to stop doing something by somebody who does more of it than you do. Now if I was lighting up a crystal meth filled crack-pipe and Charlie Sheen came along to tell me drugs were bad, I’d want to see some credentials. It’s the same in real life. When people who don’t have relationships give you advice on how to look for, live in or recover from your own, I want to slap them across the face with a catfish. Opinions are only occasionally respected and these occasions are directly proportionate to how useful the opinion is.

I do love free speech though. Mine, mostly. And if you disagree and deny that yours is best for you then you’re just another lying heathen. This is the precise reason we have ‘ignore’ and ‘block’ buttons on social media. Everyone has a point and if you don’t like it, don’t look at it. But wait! There’s a catch. Boundaries may be blurred and lines may be crossed. I don’t mean the kind of boundaries where your maid was poached by the neighbour and Sibongile hasn’t clicked ‘like’ on a single one of your status updates since – I’m talking about bigger boundaries. Ones drawn and demarcated by the growth of… I don’t know… say… a five-year relationship.

They say it’s extremely childish to insist that you adopt an I-keep-my-friends, you-keep-your-friends situation after a breakup. I’m only moderately childish so I would like to have assumed that my nearest and dearest realtives just be a little less gushy with an ex. I said just a ‘little less gushy’ … not violently obliterating. But the hurt and affronting that this request returned was akin to that look your school librarian gave you when you returned a book back late. So it is no wonder then that I find the reactions I received by my ilk to be so obtuse that I thought perhaps I had sent my request to the wrong crowd altogether.

People get all hefty for the wrong reasons at completely the wrong times. You didn’t create a home with the person and then have to face unravelling that intertwined heart-infused-and-lifestyle-DNA. You saw him at every second Christmas and a handful of gatherings throughout the year. Think. If you really liked him that much, you could send a text message or actually make a phone call. You don’t have to keep the candle burning on a forum so mainstream that even Julius Malema knows how to use it. But thinking is evidently not available to take my call at this time, please leave a message after the beep and no one will get back to you, blah blah and so on. To plead that it’s just too hard to imagine not having contact with him is as honest as Woolworths’ promise on its Ripe & Ready Avos. Unless you live in a culture or community that encourages the early loss of teeth, eating a Woolworths Avo on the same day you bought it is just looking for trouble. Pick your battles petals. I pick mine. And I would never eat those Avos until at least two sleeps after purchase.

Odes to the soul promise that if someone seriously wants to be a part of your life, they will make the effort to be in it. But… because I am the most impatient person on earth, I will yield that perhaps the ‘effort’ I deem appropriate may look different from someone else’s perspective and that benefits-of-doubt should be given. I am also the most generous person I know, so, with those benefits I’ll throw in a bonus factoid. Here it is: I don’t care what you think of me. I care how you treat me. So before you poach my maid, buy me Woolworths’ Avos or sign up to work in a library, think carefully.


© Dylan Balkind

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