At first, I was nonplussed by last week's phone call -- by how we somehow managed to behave like old, dear friends. Like grownups. But that was before the reality of it all sunk in.
And before he sent me the Thanksgiving text message, opening the floodgates.
Of course, it's exactly how he wanted to play it. At some point he made the decision to call me out of the blue, to have a superficially pleasant conversation, to talk about work and then to segue into telling me that he's possibly coming into town in the next few weeks and would like to see me -- and then, when I politely inquire about some happy news he passed on several months before, it opens the door for him to tell me how everything has fallen apart. Which makes me feel sorry for him -- sorry for how the events in his life have not gone according to plan. Which then makes me start feeling a tinge of guilt for the way we left things all those years ago. The same way he made me -- and eventually everyone else -- feel like I was the bad guy all those years ago.
Now I'm confused and bewildered and feeling badly, on so many levels. And it's snowballed to the point that I can't get it out of my head.
And I'm left asking questions, trying to figure out why he felt the need to talk to me. Or why he waited to spring the news on me the way he did? Why can't he just say what he wants to say -- to tell me what's going on, without the whole setup, the whole bait-and-switch conversation.
And why now, when this time of year is filled with so many lingering ghosts of our past?