People Who Go Poof

I don’t think I’ll respond well to my first serious earthquake. Of course I won’t. But it will hit me on a variety of levels because I take great comfort in thinking that things are unyielding. I like things that I can touch– things right before my eyes, and I like to be able to count on the fact that they are going to stay put.

The first time I feel the earth truly move and things begin to fall, it’s going to alter my sense of reality completely. Even though I can anticipate that in advance, it’s still going to happen. I can’t seem to help but rely on the solid.

I feel the same way about human beings. I like to believe that they’re not going to simply disappear on me. I suppose that’s because I can’t imagine disappearing on someone else. At least not without fair warning.

But people have definitely gone poof in my life, like that last flash of light you used to see when you’d turn off an old-style television set. My last boyfriend died so unexpectedly that I really don’t think I’ve properly processed it. One minute he was there, and the next he was gone. My life changed forever, in the space of that minute. That does not do good things to one’s sense of security and stability. Life is as fragile as a soap bubble. Pop.

And one of the things I hate most about changing jobs is saying good-bye to old work friends, friends who have been in the career foxhole with me, people that I think I’ve bonded with. Many of them say they’ll keep in touch, but it’s been my experience that the vast majority of them do not.

But by far the worst (yes, even worse than death, because death is inevitable and usually not intentional), is when people disappear for no known reason. My best friend in junior high school was in foster care, and one day, after many years, right in the middle of the school year, she was no longer there, and nobody could or would tell me what had happened. And I’ve had many friends in the virtual world of Second Life who have abruptly disappeared without saying good-bye. It feels like a death, and for all I know it could be, so it’s extremely upsetting.

My best friend for 14 years broke all ties with me based on a misunderstood sentence fragment as far as I can tell. It still causes me a great deal of pain. More horrible than the fact that I miss his presence in my life is that I’m now having to reconcile my sense of reality with the actual truth that our friendship must have been much more frail than I realized. That makes me wonder what that says about me and how I perceive the world.

Things fall apart. The center does not hold. I don’t like that. Not even a little bit.

fly away


10 thoughts on “People Who Go Poof

  1. Angiportus

    You and me both. I’ve had some friends fade on me…alcohol and clinical depression did for two of them, but a 3rd seemed well-adjusted enough until she misinterpreted a message of mine–kind of like your situation–and just lost it. And so few who do seem still interested know how to carry on a conversation via email.
    Seismic events…been thru a few dozen. Read up on what to do, beforehand. You’ll probably be okay up in your tower…might be a good idea to bring in some emergency supplies and maybe even one of those ladders you can hang out the window. You decide.

    1. Yeah, we’ve got a bunch of emergency supplies, including MREs. They’re thinking the drawbridges themselves might survive, but the approaches to them will probably collapse. So no man is an island… until he works a bridge during an earthquake…

  2. kramer

    I guess I’m relatively new to your blog, but I really do enjoy reading them. This one I could really feel in my soul, so I must comment. If I had writing skills like you, I could have wrote that exactly about myself. Everything you said in this post is exactly what has happened to me, and exactly how I feel about it. Just wanted to drop in and say there are others who feel the same way about “poof” and life as you do. Your last sentence summed it up perfectly. Thanks for letting me know that I’m NOT the only one in the world who feels this way. I guess some psychobabble person would say you made me feel validated today, and I thank you for that. 🙂

  3. lyn sutton

    I never simply disappear unless to linger risks my life. I make sure I have all the facts, discuss my feelings with the other person and give them a chance to respond. If I still feel the need to break it off, I cite the reasons why so there is no misunderstandings and we both get closure. I’ve done this even with those who were dangerously abusive. This may give them an opportunity to abuse me one last time but when they never hear from me again… they know why. Of course these are very serious situations that warrant extreme measures but to disappear over a misunderstood sentence fragment? I’ve a feeling there is so much more going on with your friend than you realize and I hope you have the opportunity to reconnect and come to an understanding you can both accept. 14 years of friendship deserves that much.

    1. Kramer

      I agree. For my experience with the loss of a 15 year friendship, my husband of 16 years died suddenly, and she lost her job two weeks later and wanted my help finding her a new job. I told her I was unable to help right then, and she “explained” to me I was not the friend she thought I was. That told me exactly what our friendship was all about. All I needed to know. People’s perceptions are different. Life goes on. Doesn’t mean I have to like it. : )

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