I left for Melbourne, Australia on the night of the 20th to see my friend Nick for Christmas and New Years, and now it's the 28th and I've been home since Boxing Day (the 26th). My stay in Melbourne was cuit short from almost 12 days to being there for almost exactly 96 hours. To say it went very, very badly is beyond understatement. I went there to re-establish a friendship that had gotten distrant (and not geographically), and came back with that friendship so utterly destroyed that I have absolutely no interest in ever seeing or hearing from him again.
20,000+km is a long way to go to end a friendship. And the 13-14 hour flights each way are some of the longest single flights in the world. As I like to say, that's Star Trek distance!
In a nutshell, it started off bad and went worse, I could bore you with all the details, but unless you really want to know, I'll give you the Reader's Digest Condensed version. Basically, any time Nick and I weren't alone I got the impression that he was holding me at arm's length. And even the few times it was just the two of us, he didn't seem very engaged. The straw that broke the camel's back for me was when I asked him about his sewing (he's been learning to make clothes), and after chatting about it for maybe 15 minutes he decided he wanted to go watch TV and just ended the conversation. At that point I felt really unwelcome. After their Christmas get-together, his partner Graeme went off with one of his mates, and Nick told me he was going to go to bed. I stopped him and told him how I felt, and he said that he "couldn't connect" with me any more, and then he started with the "I can't seem to relate to you, if I ever could", and that's when I knew it was over, because he was revising history and nothing I could say was going to change that.
The next morning he asked me what I wanted to do, and I said that my instinct was to cut my losses and go, but that he needed to tell me what he wanted. He said, "Honestly, I'd prefer you weren't here," and I replied, "Done deal." He tried to be polite and offered to let me stay, and said it would be a shame if I didn't see Melbourne after coming all that way, but I told him that I'd come to see him (mind you, he's the one who wanted to reconnect), and that I wanted to see it with him like when we showed each other around in the past, and that I had no interest in spending a week of my vacation alone in a strange city, and I would leave as soon as I could get a flight. So, since he works in travel, he called the airlines and managed to get my seat changed and I left a few hours later.
Now, admittedly, I expected it to be a little awkward. It'd been 2.5 years since we'd seen each other. But what stuck in my craw was that he didn't seem to take into account the time and the fact that we were in the circumstance of seeing his friends and hanging around with Graeme, which is very different than when he visited me before and we got to spend a lot of time together and re-engage.. He seemed to decide very quickly that he wasn't feeling the connection, and didn't make any effort to find it.
I swapped a few messages with him the day after my return, but it was fruitless, so I pulled the plug. The guy I saw on the trip was the worst side of the man I knew, and I didn't like him very much. Mind you, I'd have been fine if we'd made an effort and the old connection wasn't there, but at least had a nice time sightseeing, then parted on friendly terms. But he made that impossible.
Naturally, I was plagued by "what ifs" after my return. Should I have done this, was I not as friendly as I should have been. But as I look back I'm sure I made the right decision, because I should have had to make a lot of effort, given the effort I made to see him, he should've made some effort. That he didn't told me everything I needed to know.
The only thing I'm furious about is that I spent all that time and money for nothing.
On the plus side, since I came back early, I got to see Christopher and Lee, as they were in town for the holidays and would have been gone before I was originally supposed to return.
Note: The flies in Australia in summer are awful...buzz buzz buzz in your face all the time
Note 2: I flew from the shortest day of the year to the longest, so you can image how that screwed up my sense of time of day!