A Decline of Friendship

by Dan Walsh

My friend and I broke up a few months ago. No, closer to a year, now. It’s taken me some time to get the words out.

We never came to blows, or even harsh words – that might have been easier, more repairable. Instead we dissolved our friendship with determined silence. First he. Then me.

We took turns in some ways, neither of us quite ready to let go, but also unable to step back. Step back across the lines we dragged through sand, carved in wood, etched in stone. Each line more permanent.

Our game of silent inches.

I realized that I could not go back, and with rare clarity I knew how I would move forward. I hurdled down the hill towards Market St with this new understanding that I was hurt now and taking most of the blame, but soon I would find ways to justify myself. I knew that justification would lead to indignation, then anger, and then finally indifference.

I found my justification as I unwound his. The rest occurred as I predicted.

It was odd to know so clearly how I would tic. To predict. It was a first for me.

It made no difference. Toc.

My hands marched in their arc despite my foresight, and now I am left to wonder what I learned. What element of friendship has been revealed? Egos were at play, of course. They always are. But I don’t believe machismo can ever be the mastermind. Nor do I believe the slights incurred on either side should have been powerful enough to affect this change. It wasn’t irreparable – until it was. I am left to ponder the silence that let these slights fester until egos could not be spared.

I am left to discover the wisdom which I know resides in this void like a hermit in a cave.