I saw S, one of my oldest friends, for the first time since early September last night. We had the obviously necessary catch-up conversation about how school’s going, how surprisingly unweird relations with my ex are, and what kinds of jobs I’m applying to and where on my end, and how moving out of his mom’s house is going and whether he likes his new job on his end, and Thanksgiving plans and fabulously boring love lives on both of our ends. It was touching to listen to him protest to me applying to jobs in faraway places like Chicago and California, and when we hopped in the car for a late night Wawa run, I realized that there was one other thing that has developed in my life of late that he should know.
Sitting next to him in the semidarkness of the car, I mulled over how to bring it up. I opened my mouth and closed it again without saying anything. You shouldn’t deliver bad news while someone is driving. You also shouldn’t do it once they’re back in your dining room enjoying a turkey bowl and donuts. You shouldn’t do it while you’re exploring etsy together, and you shouldn’t do it after he yawns and says he should be getting home. Life is full of inopportune moments for this conversation. Is there a right time? How do you say, best friend from childhood, who once made my mother a macaroni necklace for Kwanzaa and whom she often refers to as her favorite son (my little brother’s existence notwithstanding), my mom has cancer?
Compounding all of this is the fact that I’m not entirely sure I need to tell him. Does he have to know? (Of course, when something happens with him, I tell my mom and she is genuinely concerned. I know that he would care.) I just…this isn’t a topic for casual conversation. I’m not at a point where I can discuss my parents’ illnesses in the context of catching up with someone. I wish he read this and just knew; that’s how everyone who knows but E, K, and my dad found out. I feel like a hypocrite having shared this with people all over the internet, but some things feel too close to home to be shared with people I distinctly feel as though I’m losing touch with. I don’t want this to become one of our regular topics of conversation. I want to stick to safe topics. I want our most complicated things to revolve around our love lives or how this process of trying to grow up is going.
I don’t think I’m going to tell him, unless we somehow start talking about my mom and some sort of seamless segue seems possible (which seems highly unlikely). And maybe that signifies all sorts of terrible things about how I’m letting my friends from childhood/adolescence go in favor of my Princeton friends, many of whom I’ll probably let go over time in favor of the friends I form in later places and times. Maybe there’s a level of emotion that I can’t bridge with them anymore; maybe we’re just not close enough for them to need to know everything about my life anymore.
And I don’t really think I need to feel bad about this. It seems…like a natural consequence of personal growth and relocation. This post may seem like a counterargument, again, but…I feel like it’s different talking about the details of my life with people who haven’t known me and my family since elementary school. And if that’s unfair…life’s tough. Get a helmet. (Boy Meets World ftw.)