I once had a best friend who made me think that she was my worst friend. Up until today, I am not sure whether that was just her conducting a hot-water test for me; to determine whether I was worthy of her friendship.
She was almost anything you’d wish for in a friend. She was kind and cool. She stayed loyal and was never two-faced about things. She loved God and never hid it. She never judged but never refrained from scolding. She bought me food without me asking. She kind of always just knew when to let me be by myself and she never choked me. But she also knew when to NOT let me be by myself. She taught me new and interesting and useful things. She introduced me to new and interesting and useful people. She never even had to put me through any female drama which most females engage in during the course of their friendship business.
At first, when I met her, I valued her so much and I showed her how much I did. I would listen to her and be a genuine friend to her as well; endeavoring to reciprocate her kindness.
Then she started. She began to say things like ‘I’m not a good friend enough’, ‘I feel bad. I could have done better’, ‘I know you deserve more but…’ ‘I don’t know what you’re still doing with me’
Those things were quite weird and initially I told her to stop saying them. They were ridiculous to my ears; she was the best friend I ever had.
But she didn’t stop.
And so, gradually I began to believe her words. I believed them to the extent that she no longer had to say them for me to think them.
I would randomly tell myself that I truly deserved better. I would magnify her flaw and make rubbish her efforts. I would reduce the time I spent with her and subconsciously use it for more ‘productive’ things. I would half-listen to her; and contribute mumblings to our conversations.
And so it was, that I detached myself from her. Slowly but surely. A painful excision, it was.
And for a while I was free. I could breathe without anyone watching over me. But gradually, I began to realize that I was like a branch cut off from its parent tree; first free, next struggling to survive.
I tried to graft myself with other people; but they just were not my fit. Tired of searching, I have now learned to graft to another for a short while, derive as much nutrients as I can, and then detach myself. Repeat process.
And in all this, I keep thinking: How did I manage to pull out the stool from under a person on whom I leaned?