How I Lost a Friend (And Can't Find Him)


I have a friend. Or had a friend. Or have had a friend. It's hard to say. He stopped talking to me over two years ago. I have no idea why. I'd love if he could at least type a quick e-mail with a short explanation, or just to say: "Listen, I am never speaking to you again, end of story.", but I can't get even that much out of him.

We met in college. He taught a class I took. I studied molecular biology and worked on a research project in the same lab as he did. We shared an office. I used to steal candy from his drawer and his solutions from the fridge. That's because I could not mix my own solutions with proper concentrations. There was math involved. Nobody knew about this shortcoming, other than myself. That was probably one reason why I decided never to do anything research related after school. The other reason being that research was utterly dull and boring. He only learned about me stealing from him once I was in the United States and had a good laugh at it. So I don't think that was the reason he stopped talking to me.

After I left to the United States, we kept in touch through e-mails and instant messaging. I remember sitting in front of a computer in the house where I worked as an au-pair, getting a dose of laughs and encouragement from him before the kids woke up. I think he thought it was a dumb idea to go work as a nanny with a degree in science, and I think now that he was right. We would often write the exact same thing at the same moment. For almost eight years. I visited him once or twice on my trips back home. We grabbed a beer and laughed in real life instead of in emoticons.

He listened to my rants when my marriage fell apart and analyzed Peter with me after I met him. He teased me about shaving our cats ("If they weren't too ashamed to be seen in public, they'd leave you."). He congratulated me when Kai was born. And that was the last I heard from him. I don't know what happened. I don't know if I said or did something that I was not supposed to, or didn't say or didn't do something that I was supposed to. I was in disagreement with him about his relationship and criticized his girlfriend, but he could just tell me to shut up. I can take a hint.

After he stopped responding to me, I would e-mail him about once a month asking what was up. I sent him a text message when I was in Slovakia last summer, but he ignored it. I thought of calling him, but he clearly doesn't want to talk to me and I don't want to be told to fuck off in person. Maybe I can't take a hint. I am just thinking that we are adults and should be able to figure this out. Every now and then I swear I will never attempt to contact him again and just delete him from my life, but that feels too much like a reaction of a rejected lover and we were never romantic. At least not romantic together. I mean, he reads Freud, for Christ's sake.

I know he still works where I met him. I know he is still with the girl I recommended he'd stop dating. When my blog posts were featured at BlogHer.com, I was really hoping he would respond to my e-mail to tell me how proud he was. Or make fun of me. But he didn't. I looked at the last couple of chats we exchanged, more than two years ago, and I just don't get it. I don't understand what lies between that last lighthearted conversation and the complete silence. What the hell happened?

I wonder if he'll ever see this post. The world is a small place after all and there is only six degrees of separation between us. If you see him, let him know. Or just pass it forward.

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