Signs It's Time to Break Up With Your Best Friend
Okay, okay, I do remember what we were arguing about, but now, eight years later, the specifics are so laughably stupid that revealing them makes us both sound like ridiculous children fighting over a bit of colored plastic at the nursery school. The argument was about driving, which I was afraid to do in San Francisco, where Molly lived and where I was visiting. We were fighting about the fact that I had not rented a car at the airport like a normal person, and now Molly would have to drive me somewhere we both wanted to go (which was not the problem), but then she would also have to take me somewhere only I needed to go, and where she did not wish to go (which was very much the problem). On and on it went, only it wasn't actually an argument, I realized, because I wasn't saying anything. I was standing still and listening as she harangued and criticized, as I had stood still and listened so many times before.
The pavement. The flower. The watching cat. The steep decline of that San Francisco street.
At some point, I must have realized that I was crying, but that wasn't the strangest thing. We'd argued so many times over the course of our difficult friendship, and probably I'd cried before, or walked away feeling sullen and resentful, or rushed to call another friend and complain about how critical and punishing Molly was. There had been so many times, after some cutting remark, that we had temporarily stopped speaking—just long enough for me to remember how much I loved her, and how much she loved me and that she did not intend the things she sometimes said to be unkind. A few weeks or a month or two would pass, and then Molly would be on the phone, letting me know that she was heading to the East Coast, or I would call her to tell her about some great thing I had found at the flea market, and we would proceed.
Then I realized that I was crying because I had figured out that Molly and I were never going to speak to each other again; this time, when she called or emailed me after a month, or six months or a year, I was not going to pick up the phone or email her back. Right now, right here on the street, I was giving up. Finally.