When You’re Unwelcome
I think about Mollie almost every day. She seems to pop into my mind when I sit down to put on my face. I think about the fact that our deep and spiritual friendship of over thirty years melted away some time last year.
I don’t even know what happened. I know that she stopped following me on Facebook, although she didn’t unfriend me. She seemed to take a mutual friend’s side when that friend unfriended me, but I can’t be sure in this virtual social-media existence. And that is totally unlike Mollie. “Steadfast and true” were invented for her. She has always been loyal to all of her loved ones; if two of her friends fought or didn’t like each other, she refused to take sides, she loved them both and wouldn’t put either down — or even tolerate one talking bad about the other.
We’re both writers. I follow her on Medium, but she doesn’t follow me. I am the more talented, but she, the Episcopal Capricorn, works harder at it. I always say that God is fair and hands out abilities pretty evenly. It’s not a contest, anyway.
The fall-apart happened subtly and I realized too late that it had been falling apart for some time. There’s this reunion that we participated in, a group of people we knew in high school, who get together at the beach once a year. Mollie and Friend A always made sure that Friend B went to the reunion because she had social anxiety and wouldn’t go on her own. Friend A would drive right past my house on her way to Friend B’s, where she would meet Mollie and they would all go to the beach together.
I was beyond broke during a number of the years of the reunion, struggling to pay the rent and bills, getting served with eviction papers many months, although never getting evicted. There was never any effort to help me get to the reunion. Friend A could easily have picked me up, but never did. The one time I screwed up the nerve to ask if they could each chip in a few bucks just so I could afford the gas to get there, I was given a flat “no” by Mollie.
I remembered this last year, when it finally started to dawn on me that I was not welcome at the reunion. The rest of the group, besides Mollie and Friends A and B, I didn’t care that much about. I would have liked to be liked, to be in with the in-crowd, but eh. We’re old. High school was a long time ago. If they didn’t want me there very much… Well, they didn’t. That stung a little.
One of the women in the group was a childhood friend. She actually did help me when I was broke, but last year, she lambasted me live on Facebook for not paying her back what she had told me was a gift. She also yelled at me for other things that I didn’t know I had done. I apologized to her profusely for adding to her pain, and did not try to explain to her that I was in tremendous pain myself at that time.
At the same time, another reunioner blocked me on Facebook and I still have no idea why. Although a part of me just says, “Fuck her.”
Mollie did not come to my rescue. I’m not sure if she was still following me on Facebook by then. The reunion was coming up, and I heard not a word from her or Friends A and B. There was no, “When are you arriving?” or “Can’t wait to see you!” And it started to sink in… Ohhhh, I am not wanted.
That’s when I looked back and saw the times they didn’t help me get there, heard the resounding silences regarding my participation. I never heard, “Oh, we missed you! Why didn’t you come?” Not in several years.
Mollie was my bestie since Freshman year of college. She was still in high school and asked people to write to her. I was the only one who did. We were pen pals for about five years, taking a hiatus when we lived in the same town for a while and stopping after I had a baby and no longer had time. We loved playing guitar and writing songs together in college. We felt extremely cool for the first time in our nerdy lives.
Mollie was the first one on the scene when my husband died. She got to me before even my mother. She told Friend B that, if she didn’t come to the funeral, she’d never speak to her again. Friend B was there, such was Mollie’s influence. Mollie was the first one I called when I threw out my alcoholic second husband. I sat on the floor in the kitchen and talked to her on the phone for two hours, crying and laughing and pouring out my heart and soul to her kindness and wisdom and listening.
Eventually, we lived in the same town again. But she didn’t like to come to my house. It was too far. So we met at a restaurant near her work or I went to her house. Then we both moved out of town. Any time she visited her sister in my town, I didn’t get a call. Oh! There was that one time that Mollie invited me to join her and Friend B with some other old friends for dinner and drinks. That must qualify as the last time we were really friends.
I dropped out of the reunion group page on Facebook some time last year. I figured, why should I want to keep up with these people who really don’t want me around? It was striking to me to lose such long-lived friendships and to realize that I wasn’t really ever welcome. But it was the loss of Mollie’s friendship that really mattered. Still matters.
When my step-mom died in January, there was not one word of sympathy or condolence from her. Nothing from Friends A or B or the rest of the group, not surprisingly. But Mollie has never been cruel. It was a painful surprise.
I still think about her. Now that I understand the true impermanence — evanescence, even — of everything in life, I allow myself to imagine her coming back to me.
Susan K. Morrow is a writer and psychic medium, who always has a lot of projects going on. She’s short, fat, old, and very beautiful. She has one tattoo. If you like what you just read, please consider a click on that there green heart thing. And if you really like what you just read, maybe you’ll become a patron (contribute as little as $1/month!) so she can finish her first sci-fi novel and spend even more time writing, psychicking, and Shopping Cheap, Looking Cute.