birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

The One That Got Away

Andy is a long time friend from college years. We were a part of a close knit group of about 6 guys. We lived together. Played sports together. Traveled. Married. Produced children. Worked. We were very close. But. I never really liked Andy. The others? I loved them all. But not Andy.
He talked too much. He never listened. He didn't read or travel. He told lengthy, boring stories about his childhood in Nebraska and thought they were interesting and unique. They were neither.

But we remained friends throughout our lives. Kept in contact as our working lives progress. We saw each other fairly often even when we moved apart. We knew what our children did as they were growing up and where they lived and worked as adults. Our friendship spanned 50 years. But I still didn't really like to be with him that much.

Then. Donald Trump was elected. Andy was quite conservative politically. He was even more conservative when it came to theology. We had generally engaged in civil and fairly intellectual conversations regarding theological issues. And though we disagreed, we were at least able to converse. But after, Trumps election and Andy's vocal support of him while taking the Christian Right's view of him, I simply could not stand to be with him any more. I ignored his phone calls. I didn't answer his emails. I deleted all communication.

But I felt bad about such a cowardly way of ending a friendship and so I wrote a letter. In blunt and insensitive language I detailed why I did not want to be around him, why I was happier not speaking with him and how I had arrived at those feelings. Then, I sent the a close friend who knew us both, not one of the group, but a close friend. Ron wrote back immediately with this advice.

"Don't send the letter! Don't. I have been on the sending and receiving ends of letters like that and neither situation was comfortable or solved. In fact, both were very die-neatening. You wrote the letter. Pretend like you sent it and forget about it"

I took his advice. I did not sent the letter. Very recently, Andy and I have been back in communication. I am not yet comfortable with the idea of being with him very much. But I also realize that a 50 year acquaintance if not friendship is not something to discard lightly. If he feels the need and desire to be friends, then I must honor that even if I do not necessarily feel the same desire.

The letter was the one that got away somewhere into the archives of the internet and I am happy for that.


The Uniform of the Future