One thing I’ve touched on only lightly is how much this life has altered my social landscape. Before I was sailing, I was lobstering, or data gathering, or pumping gas, if I go back far enough. Somewhere between age 8 (when I started lobstering) to 35, today, I started hot and cold as far as being social goes. If I’ve been drinking, I like to be the center of attention, and I try to get there by making people laugh. When I’m not drinking, I like to keep a small circle of friends. I always have.
Now, I’m not the easiest of people to be friends with. Before I was sailing commercially, I was getting up at unearthly hours of the AM every day to go lobstering. Before that, I was in college, grad school, or traveling, or working in remote areas of New England. I am always coming and going, and that is the epitome of a sailor’s lot. In that sense, my habits are often idyllic for my current lifestyle. But sometimes... it just gets old, even for me.
One of my best friends from the college and post-college days was recently home on leave from her own traveling circus of a job (she’s a crime scene investigator for the US Army). This marks the third or fourth time she has come home whilst I was floating somewhere away from New England, out using my thumb as a fart cork... It’s been three years, in fact, since I’ve seen her. In that time I’ve married, moved and matured, I suppose. But this is a shitty thing to realize: I really, really regret, of all my friends, that I’ve lost touch with her.
Here’s the ugly rub. This woman will always be ‘the one that got away’ for me. It’s been a long time since I was reconciled with the fact that our initially romantic(ish) relationship evolved into a friendship. That’s not the problem. The problem is, in this life, we’re only given so many people that get to know us at depth, and still like us despite that knowledge. This person is one of those people.
In many ways, this woman knows me better than my own wife at this point- more history and shared experiences in the bad old days will do that, I guess. Of course, that will change as Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife and I go on, and that’s a good thing. But even so, I miss my friend.
Now, I’ve lost touch with other good friends. I regret that, and I accept that in those cases, that was the price I paid to maintain a good relationship with my close friends and immediate family- in order to devote what time I have, I have only so many days to touch base with other people. I have other regrets in the same vein, but this one really bothers me.
So why not reconnect? I’ve asked myself that, and haven’t come up with a good answer. I’d really like my wife to meet my friend, get to know her. This last time she was home, her mom got married. I missed that. Her mom is an exceptional person who has fought through some serious bad times. I would have liked to have been there to share that particular experience. Nope. Missed it. Again. I surprised myself by not being hardened to this sort of thing.