Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Good-bye Sweet William

My best friend from high school died a week ago, I hadn't talked to him since our tenth high school reunion, and I hadn't talked to him for the ten years before that.  So all in all, I went 26 years without talking to my best friend.  I tried to remember why.  I couldn't remember any big fights or falling out, try as hard as I could.

Then I remembered.  He called one day and I didn't return his call.  A week later, he called again and I didn't return his call.  No big reason, I was eighteen, suddenly pregnant, suddenly married, trying my damnedest to stick in my first year of nursing school.

Then a month went by and I thought, I should call William, but he's going to be so pissed off at me.

Then a year went by and I thought, I should call him, but what can I say?

Then ten years went by and he walked into our tenth year reunion and it was as if no time at all had passed, as if I'd returned all of those phone calls.  And we made the usual promises to stay in touch, and we did.  For that whole weekend.

In recent years I had this fantasy of walking into his liquor store in Wichita, Kansas, yes he owned a liquor store, ironic, huh?  Anyway, I had this thought that some day I would walk into his liquor store and it would take a minute but then he'd look up from the register and that look of recognition would flash in his eyes and he'd jump over the counter and he'd hug me and we'd hop in his old '58 Chevy that we used to drag main in and we'd head to the Taco Tico for his nightly bean burrito that he ate every night of our junior high and high school lives.

I'll never get to do that now, I should have done it when I dreamed it up.  I tried.  I was actually in Wichita a couple of years ago and I actually drove around looking for his liquor store (this was after I quit drinking so I wasn't looking for a bottle) but I didn't even know the name of his store or where it was located.  I guess I thought fate would somehow steer my car toward a storefront that had "William's Liquor Store" etched in the front window.  Of course, I never found it.

Yes, I could have called him, but what would I say?

I have a terrible history of walking away from or letting go of people when my focus changes.  I hate that about me, I view it as one of my biggest flaws.  One that I need to make more strides in overcoming, as my recent two month disappearance from this blog demonstrates.

I know now what I would say to William.  I would say,

"I'm sorry I haven't been there for you all of these years, I'm sorry I never got to know the man you became.  The fact that life keeps trying to convince me that I have more urgent, more pressing issues to take care of is no excuse.  There is no more pressing issue, no more urgent "thing" in need of my attentions more important than a friend who supported and loved me through the most trying of times. I will do better."

"I promise."

P.S.  I'm sorry for the "Sweet William" title, I know you hate that.


  1. Kary May,
    So very sorry for the loss of your friend and the reality of what that means to you. None of us are perfect and we all carry around a sack full of shoulda-coulda-wouldas. Remember him fondly as you have. Your post is a beautiful tribute to what an impact he had on your life even though your contact was so sparse.

    Been thinkin about ya, kid! And even more so now!

    Peace and love to you!
    Heather P

  2. Lovely Kary… don't beat yourself up too much. Life is what it is and he will know that too… great to hear from you xxx

  3. I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sure he thought of you often too. xoxo

  4. The night before my mother died. As I was walking out of her room I suddenly thought...I should go back and say I love you. Then I thought nah...I'll tell her tomorrow. She died before I could tell her.

    I carry that with me but my husband said something to me that helped me let it go. He said, "Let this be her gift to you...never let another day go by that you don't tell people what they mean to you."

    Let this be his gift to you.

    I'm so sorry for your loss.


  5. I love all of you, it's so good to hear your "voices"