The thing is, L is good and evil. She's caused me more pain than just about anyone in my life so far and she's also given me joy. She's sucked the life out of me in long, long, LONG conversations in which she complained about every aspect of her life (past and present) and criticized virtually everyone she knew for hours, literally. She has also made me laugh so hard I cried. Many times.
When I graduated from my masters program, she flew across the country to attend commencement. She called me on my (first) wedding day, a wedding that was 3,000 miles from home, to share the day and tell me she loved me. She and I shared secrets for many years. Most of the really big secrets I wouldn't tell her because she can't be trusted to keep them. The juicy ones especially.
She helped create a lot of conflict between my mother and me. I now see it was about jealousy and competition for Mom's limited love. At the time I thought she had my best interests at heart. I once cut ties with my mother for over a year, due in part to L's encouragement.
I'm really not sure what changed or if anything did. I know that we can't be friends now. I know that she's incredibly angry, and has severe emotional problems that may have nothing to do with me. I know she's talking about me behind my back because she has never met anyone she didn't do that to. Ever.
I don't miss her, really. I try to rouse feelings of missing but I can't. The memories of the good times are tainted by the sharp, painful memories of the bad times. Really bad times.
Because I know she can't be assertive or honest about her feelings, it's possible I'll never know what changed or why she's so unhappy. That's actually okay with me.
When we were young L and I fought. A lot. My dad used to tell us, "You girls shouldn't fight -- when you grow up all you'll remember is the figthing." Which has turned out to be a little bit true. The fights usually went like this: L (who's seven years older, remember) would egg me on and get me going. Or I'd annoy her in the way only a kid sister can do. No matter who started the fight, when L had enough she would burst into tears and run to her room, slam the door, and fling herself onto her bed where she would cry until an adult (usually my dad) came in to check on her. When my dad found her, and heard her side of the story ("It's ALL HER FAULT!"), he'd find me and make me go in and apologize, without hearing my side of the story. Her words were sufficient evidence for indictment and conviction. Sentence: Apology. Sometimes I simply said, "I'm sorry." When I felt I'd been seriously wronged I said, "Dad said to say I'm sorry." I don't remember L ever apologizing to me. Not once in all these years. For anything.
We haven't spoken since last summer. I blocked her e-mail address. There will be no Christmas card this year, at least not from me. I'm freeing myself of her hurtful, toxic influence, a little bit at a time. This time there will be no apology from me.