One of the things I do when life gets a bit too real is to visit old friends. Much of the time, these friends are books that I’ve read, and reread, many times. They bring me comfort, as I’ve stated before, and they always seem happy to see me.
Other old friends I sometimes turn to come in the guise of television characters. Recently, I’ve turned to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” for comfort and solace. Buffy, flawed and insecure as she is, still manages to save the world on a regular basis. She doesn’t worry about politics, other than the occasional wants-to-be-a-demon local mayor. The villians in her world are more the in-your-face kind. She lives in the here-and-now, not the what if.
Besides being an inspiration to me, Buffy the TV show also conjures up memories from the first time I watched it. “Buffy,” like “The X-Files,” was a water cooler show, something a co-worker and I discussed at work the day after. We talked about plot twists, surprise visits and who had the best lines (Xander most of the time). Neither of us wanted to be Buffy, but we sure admired her.
Buffy was not the basis of our friendship, as much as we enjoyed it. We worked together and pretty much had the same enemies and opinions of our bosses. We shared similar politics and a disdain for sports. We were close for a time.
I helped her paint her house and she helped my husband pick out my engagement ring. We were close.
The other night I watched an episode of “Buffy” and it reminded me of her and the first time around. This was at the beginning of Season 4, where Buffy and her friends are off to college. My friend was angry at the way Buffy was being treated. Her friends, according to my friend, were not treating her well. They weren’t helping her make that transition into college and were dismissing her.
That memory made me sad. My friend who was so concerned with Buffy and her friends, is gone. Oh, not in the sense that she died, but in the sense that we’re no longer friends. There was no big break up, no anger or fight.
We no longer work at the same company. I left there two decades ago and she stayed. We stayed in touch for a long while, still sharing similar tastes in TV and movies. I filled in for her when she had her kids.
We talked less and less over the years, both of us busy with our own lives, but still managed to get together every so often for a lunch or dinner. Sometimes with her kids, sometimes not.
I always enjoyed these catching up times. But she apparently, did not. Or maybe, the BFF says, she just got busy. Too busy to return phone calls. Too busy to respond to birthday wishes. Maybe she feels that we have nothing in common any more, that our lives are so different that there’s no longer any common ground.
I don’t know what happened, but it makes me sad.