On losing touch with friends

During my life I’ve been very lucky to have made a number of friends. Because I’ve moved around a lot, from Toronto, Ontario to Streetsville, Ontario, to Brampton, Ontario to Kelowna, BC to Boquete, Panama, to Toronto, Ontario to London, Ontario to Cotacachi, Ecuador and finally to Belleville, Ontario I don’t have any lifelong friends, much as I wish I did. I still remember many of the friends I had as a kid and I often wonder what they’re up to all these years later.

Good friends are hard to find. One of those was one I met who worked for me decades ago. Our friendship was way passed boss – worker and we treasured each other on so many levels. I got a job offer and moved on and we lost touch with each other. I searched for her many times but I was using the wrong last name, her married name at the time. Then decades later out of the blue I get a message from her on Facebook and I was thrilled. She was now living in Saskatchewan, married again. After a couple of posts back and forth she asked me to call her. We spent hours just catching up on all the years we had been apart and reliving some of the great memories we shared together. The way we talked on the phone was like not a day had passed.

Around this time I was considering moving to Ecuador. My previous experience with Panama had certainly not been good and I wasn’t sure I even wanted to try again. I had followed a girl to London from Toronto and that had gone badly but I was still in London, the last place I ever thought I would live, almost five years later. I thought there just had to be more to life than this. She agreed, poetically stating that I was basically molding in London, waiting for a miracle to happen and my kids would reconnect with me after twenty years. She made two excellent points. One, I could die waiting and had no reason to think that I wouldn’t and, two, if I didn’t go to Ecuador wouldn’t I live to regret that? I agreed that I would, so off I went, but not after hours and hours of talking to her about it. I don’t know to this day if I would have had the courage to move on my own without her sage advice.

Well, if you follow me at all you know that Ecuador turned into a disaster, mostly because of things I could not control, such as the falling Canadian dollar. At one point I was getting really desperate financially and pretty depressed about how bad things were going. Naturally I reconnected with her and at first she felt bad that she had encouraged me to move to Ecuador, but I reassured her that it had nothing to do with her. Neither of us could have foreseen the things that happened. Her advice to go was right in the first place and nothing had changed. Not only did she reassure me that I would survive but she also sent me two hundred dollars that saved my butt, money I did not ask for and I doubted she could afford.

When it looked like I had no choice but to return to Canada I had no clue where I was going to go or how I was going to live. I only had two of my pensions because one had been cutoff after I was out of the country more than six months. I figured I would be homeless and waiting for winter to arrive. She said her son had a place that he was renovating north of Belleville and suggested that I might be able to help him given my years of experience. She made no promises but she put me in touch with her son. Not only did he agree to let me live in the house rent free but he also booked me on the VIA train from Toronto to Belleville in the VIP car using his points. I was also pretty well dead broke when I came back so he sent me two hundred dollars, again not asked for. When I arrived at the house he had put in a fridge and stove, washer and dryer, small appliances and stocked the place with food. This was all done for the sole reason that his mother said we were good friends.

Fast forward a coupe of months and there were some problems at the house, like no heat and I froze. Her son had asked me to move out and I was lost with nowhere to go. My fiancee in Ecuador had also just ended our relationship so I wasn’t going back to Ecuador. It was a dark time so I sent her a lengthy email pleading for more time at her son’s place and hoping that we could chat again because I again needed her advice on what to do. She didn’t answer me. I saw her on Facebook and asked if she was angry with me for some reason. When she didn’t even respond I knew she was really angry with me.

After I sent her the last of the money I owed her a year ago she sent me back a short response thanking me for the money. That was it. I figured something was up but didn’t want to press. Then when I hadn’t heard a word from her for months I sent her a long email explaining what I was thinking about with moving to Mexico. I asked for her valued opinion, again hoping that we could talk. A month later I asked if there was something I should know because I found it strange that she had not responded. I got a very terse email saying that she had a busy life and couldn’t just “drop everything”  to answer my email. I cried when I read that. I knew that I had lost the very best friend I had ever had and it broke my heart. I never felt so alone in my life. I really miss her.

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The second loss was a new friend, certainly nothing comparable to her. When I moved into the group home here in Belleville one of the tenants was a jovial guy and we kind of hit it off. There was never a topic that we couldn’t have a lively discussion about, but we basically kept to ourselves at the time. I think it was asking him if I could pay him to take me food shopping that started more of a friendship. Before long we were going to movies together, most of which we agreed upon after seeing the movie. We began using our two for one coupons to eat out at places like Harvey’s. He also liked to wander around shopping at the discount stores like Dollarama so we did that a lot. We started going to some of the provincial parks on the weekends to enjoy the warm weather. At Christmas we went to several of the events at the local churches.

Back in October, I believe, he moved into another unit here at the house and took on the role of facilitator. For some unknown reason he suddenly began throwing his weight around, posting nasty notes about things he was unhappy about. Back when I met him he was working at a local call centre, strangely enough the same company I had worked for in London, so we swapped a lot of war stories. Then he suddenly stopped going to work late last year. After several months he told me that he was on leave. At Christmas he said that he was going back to work in January, but that didn’t happen.

Around this time we were both looking at other places for when our time here was up. I suggested to him that we get a place together, preferably a house and that I wanted to winter in Mexico so he could rent my room to a student while I was gone. After much discussion he said that he was “95%” on the idea. I started looking at places and found one that I setup an appointment with on the following Sunday after confirming it with him.

The turning point in our relationship was a night we went to Harvey’s intending to go to see La La Land. His car broke down at Harvey’s so we never got to see the movie. Then he basically disappeared. His place was in darkness. The car was gone. No one knew where he was. After what had happened with John, a new tenant who left for the weekend and didn’t come back because he was killed in a car accident, we started to worry about him. I started sending him text message asking if he was okay but he didn’t respond, which made me even more concerned. I asked if the appointment to view the house on Sunday was still on and got a snarky response about my “attitude”. When no one knew where he was Sunday morning I texted him again and he just said to cancel the appointment if I wanted to. Again, no car so I don’t know how we were supposed to get there anyway.

A few more days pass with no word from him so now we wonder what to do if something happens at the house. I had a number for the President but I was told it was only for text messages. We have had a number of issues with burst pipes so I didn’t think texting was any good. I sent an email to the President expressing concern that no one knew where this guy was and asking what we were to do if there was an emergency. The next thing I know he comes over to the house and gets him out of the shower. I didn’t expect that reaction.

That night all hell broke loose. I was cooking my dinner when he came in and started screaming at me about the number to call. He said it was none of our business where his car was or what was going on. It was the most ignorant I have ever been treated in my whole life.  One of the other tenants was close by and he said he couldn’t believe the reaction for only being concerned that he was okay. That was the end of any relationship we had or might have had.