Friday, 30 December 2011

There's been a rather pleasant result for working where I am.  Given that I'm sat on the tills I naturally see a lot of people go by but it's quite nice when the people are individuals you've not seen in years!

In the past fortnight alone, I've been surprised by and chatted to:

  1. Both my managers from my two previous office jobs; one happily retired, the other about to.
  2. A young student I used to teach at my sports club.
  3. A girl I knew in middle school who recognised me, although I couldn't place who she was (clearly she'd changed a lot ... apparently I haven't) I did recognise her name.
  4. The guy who ran my school's youth club.
  5. A friend who used to run a local shop where I'd hang out on my lunch breaks when I was still employed in a local office - we're now back in touch after nearly two years (his shop closed and I switched jobs).
  6. A girl from my last office job who transferred to another department.
  7. Another girl I worked with for six months in a coffee shop years ago.

Those have been the nice surprises.

Yet, there was one that left quite a bitter taste in my mouth.

An elderly woman came to my till and I immediately twigged that I knew her, she looked strangely familiar and I was wracking my memory trying to place her - she didn't appear to know who I was.  Then it suddenly clicked - this was the mother of a girl I went to school with.  My gaze snapped to the young woman standing with her - sure enough, it was Sarah*. 

But in spite of being my 'best friend' for three years, she didn't acknowledge me.  We looked at each other, no doubt that she recognised me, I could see it in her eyes (come on, if someone I hardly knew from middle school recognised me, then my 'best friend' surely must) ... but she moved on without a word as if I were a stranger.

Rewinding several years (oh god, more than a decade now ... I feel old!) Sarah and I met up in our second year of Secondary school - I was very quiet and shy, she was more confident and talkative.  I latched onto her friendship as I'd been bullied an awful lot thus I found it comforting that this girl was eager for my friendship.  Looking back I realise now that no one else could put up with her constant chat.  And chat she did.  Mostly about herself and what she was doing / planning / had seen on TV etc.  Sometimes when we spoke on the phone, I genuinely could have put it down, gone away for five minutes and come back without her even noticing that I'd not been listening - that may sound a bit mean, but I did not realise at the time just how little I actually got to speak.  

Anyway, we took our GCSE's and Sarah decided to stay at the school to do her A Levels, whilst I opted to go to the local collage (I wanted to get away from the kids that had continued to bully me).   It was from that summer onwards that I was left making all the effort in our friendship - I was the one who emailed, phoned and texted, trying to arrange for us to hang out or just to talk - yet Sarah was suddenly too busy or already had plans.   The one time I did manage to arrange for us to meet up, we met up by the cinema, only for Sarah to bring along another girl whom I'd never met and the two of them talked non-stop, hardly saying two words to me before simply getting up and leaving me behind.

I was quite crushed by this.  I do appreciate now that we didn't have much of a friendship in the first place but at the time I was so upset by Sarah doing this to 'us'.   As the years went by, occasionally we'd bump into each other in town - Sarah's opening question to me would be 'Do you have a boyfriend?' - if the answer was no, cue Sarah's non-stop talk about her wonderful boyfriend and her fantastic life.  If the answer was yes, Sarah's face would light up and she'd squeal about double-dating and that she simply must meet him!  Yeah, sure.  I'm of no interest whilst single but the moment I get a boyfriend she wants to hang out?

All these years since I've pondered whether or not to try and get back in touch.  I'd had a cursory look on Facebook, but couldn't find her.  I did wonder if she'd married and changed her name perhaps.  Would she have matured at all?  Perhaps we'd be able to resurrect our friendship and be actual friends rather than just a speaker and a listener.

This chance encounter, however, has just proved to me once and for all that Sarah is not interested and not worth my time.  She looked me in the eye, knew exactly who I was and didn't say a word - leaving me too surprised to say a word to her as she walked away.  Puts to rest any thoughts of rekindling a friendship I've had for years.  It's quite sad when friends lose touch or a friendship fizzles out, although I've had doubts as to how much of a friendship we really had.

Lesson learnt - real friends will treat you as such.  Hang onto the good ones and don't concern yourself with the ones that aren't.

* Not her real name, as always I don't like to use people's real names here.


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