You get the idea, right? I mean, it certainly looked like friendship. They willingly spent time in my company, just with me, and did so repeatedly.
Yet I must have been missing something. Because each of these people just vanished out of my life one day.
The co-worker took medical leave from work and never came back. Never contacted me. Didn't make a single attempt to maintain what I thought was a pretty good friendship. I didn't have her email or phone number, and it was over a year before she got officially let go, and I'd just kept hoping she'd be back soon.
The college friend vanished even more abruptly. Her email address went dead ("undeliverable"); her car, a very distinct bright yellow 1950s type convertible, was no longer around (and I used to see it a lot, just on the road, randomly, as we went to the same places to shop, albeit at different times). Her phone number just rang and rang.
I think perhaps something serious happened to them. Maybe something dreadful. Kidnapped, or mental breakdown so severe she couldn't remember her friends from before.
And then I think they just didn't like me. That they took the opportunities they were given (leaving work; maybe moving somewhere else) to cut all ties with me, instead of telling me straight up that they didn't want me hanging around them any more.
I can be a very clingy friend. I try not to be, but then I'm afraid I come off as distant and uncaring. I don't seem to be able to find balance in many things in my life, and friendship is definitely one of those unbalanced sort of things.
And sometimes, when I haven't had enough sleep and I'm truly getting paranoid, I wonder if the college friend even ever existed. (I know the coworker did. I've mentioned her name since she left and had people know who I was talking about. And yes, I did it to make sure she, at least, was real.) But I don't know anybody else who knew my college friend.
I don't even remember her name now.
Isn't that a creepy thought? That I could have made up a person and believed so truly in what I made up that I don't even know if she's real or not? I probably should not have watched that movie, A Beautiful Mind, or I wouldn't know that sort of thing was possible for the human brain to do to itself.
I wish I knew if other people had friends just vanish. No note, no good bye, no "I got a job in California we'll keep in touch" and then don't (the keep in touch part).