Okay I know your folks didn’t name you Fred but calling you Fred just makes it feel like you and I really know one another, that we are friends.
Speaking of which, according to you I have twenty-six friends. There are days I don’t feel like I have any but when I go take a look there they are, the names and faces of twenty-six people, several are even family and you tell me they are all my friends.
Out of that list of twenty-six, and excluding the relatives, there is maybe one guy I could call on at three in the morning when my car has died in middle of lard-knows-where-ville to give me a hand or a lift yet he’s never even given me his cell number. But we’re friends.
You know a lot of people Fred, you know practically everybody. You know people I used to know, people I have lost touch with because back in the day, before you were around and gmail was a twinkle in Larry’s eye, when friends moved away from one another loosing touch was what happened.
You know people I went to high school with, people I went to college with, people I once worked with. You even know the people I divorced (like with the help of a judge and an advocate who reeked of booze and snoozed between cases). You know all these people I don’t necessarily want in my present or in my future but people I sometimes wonder about anyway as I sit about contemplating My Life TM.
So often I am tempted to ask you about them Fred because I am curious or nosey or nostalgic. And I know you, Fred, you’d tease me with a photo but tell me that they value their privacy and that if I really want to know more then I should just ask them to acknowledge the friendship and you’d be happy to reveal all.
Only I don’t want to pretend to be their friend, assuming of course that they are prepared to pretend they they are mine. No, that boat has sailed and of all my faults, the one I pride myself on the most is never going back.
The worst though, Fred, and I really don’t blame you for this, are those individuals on my list of twenty-six who are still friends with people I have ‘unfriended’ so to speak. I look at the friends of my friends, at those photos and I wonder… not the healthy kind of wondering that led to people discovering gravity and flight but the kind of wondering that leads me to a dark and lonely place.
And yet Fred you are oblivious to all of this. You are what you are. I can give or take only as much as I want or can afford yet the temptation for more is there.
I guess what I am trying to get at Fred is that this relationship between us isn’t quite working for me. I sense I should end it. I fear ending it.
For now this letter, though written, remains unsent. Perhaps one day I will have the courage to be straight with you, to quit you.
But not tonight Fred, not tonight.