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Death of a Friendship

November 21, 2009

Hugh’s best friend is Dave.  He met Dave in college and they connected instantly. Dave wore a trench coat, laughed a lot, and was the perfect friend for my shy boyfriend.  Hugh and Dave talked all the time. About everything….girlfriends, video games, physics, CS Lewis.  Nothing was off-limits.

Dave was in our wedding.  One year later,  after college graduation, Hugh flew up to New England to stand next to Dave when he married Kim.  Though they didn’t talk often, Hugh and Dave always stayed up-to-date in each other’s lives.  Then, one day, Hugh got a late night call.

“Hey, Dave.”  Hugh sat back against the pillows of our sagging bed that night, phone pressed up to his ear. “What?  Seriously?  Oh, Dave.  I’m so, so sorry.”

“What???” I wrote on a piece of paper and flung it at Hugh as he talked.

He scribbled back: Kim left.

Over the next two years Hugh helped Dave rebuild his life after divorce.  He flew up to New England, figured out Dave’s finances, talked him through many late nights, and eventually helped Dave find a new job in Charlotte.

Dave’s been here for almost two years.  At first, it was really wonderful for Hugh to have his best friend living in our town, spending time with our family, and staying up late talking again.

But over the last six months, something has changed.  Dave has built a life here in Charlotte and that life no longer includes my husband.  Then, last month, Hugh showed up at Dave’s house for a prearranged “guys night” only to find Dave gone.  Hours later, Dave called and apologized.  “I’m sorry, man.  I was out with my small group.  We caught a movie and I totally forgot.”

Ever since that night, Hugh seems to have closed off this part of his heart.  He doesn’t want to call Dave anymore.  He doesn’t want to talk about the rejection.

I don’t understand.  I feel helpless when I sense the wall of pain and hurt in my husband.  I don’t know how to help him.  This is so different then when Amanda and I fight.

When Amanda and I fight, we talk.  When we feel irritated with one another, we talk.  If one of us has hurt each other’s feelings, we talk. We talk until we’re okay again.

I don’t want Hugh to give up.  I want him to remember every late night conversation, every memory, every stupid joke…

These friendships – the old, the deep friendships – matter. They are worth fighting for.

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