Eight years ago, I got divorced the first time. I always say the first time only to annoy my current husband. That 2010 was tough in every aspect. The following one was no better. For a long time, I wasn’t managing to get out of that whirlpool of emotions, frustrations, anger and my own head. I wrote about it many times and on this occasion, I will skip that part. There is a knot in my stomach, tears in my eyes and my heart starts pounding to the day when I remember that period of my life. Because nothing in that period of my life was easy. Getting up in the morning nor getting through the day, nor going to bed at night.
I can say that is the moment when one finds out who friends are. At that particular moment in time and space you realise who to take off speed dial, who responds to your message immediately and where your cry for help sits ‘seen’ for days. One realises who appears at your door now, simply because you need it now. One finds out who will hire you and who is the one to fire you. And who will take away the last crumb of your dignity and who will give you that dignity back and restore a bit of faith in humanity with no question asked. You also find out who you want to say hello in the street and who you never ever want to see in your life. When you get divorced in a town that is not your town, where you do not have parents or relatives and friends pick sides with the speed of light you find out things you never knew before.
I met her when I was teaching English in a Language school. Katya sat at the reception desk, doing the admin work, taking payments, entertaining people in her cute, clumsy Serbian with soft Russian accent. I felt like learning Russian. If someone told me back then that she will be one of my lifelong friends I am not sure what my thoughts would have been then. For we were so different. We shared love for food. Almost daily one of us would bring some nibbles. People get close over food too. Well, we started talking before lessons, then after lessons, then on days off. We started talking all the time. In boring little town in central Serbia where nobody minds their own business, Katya was a breath of fresh air, old soul in a very young package. That was the time I started believing that people reincarnate, and some of them start all over again and some accumulate the wisdom through previous lives. Depending on what they deserve. She deserved it.
That summer of 2010, Katya went to visit her parents. She came back to the news of my divorce. The role she played in my life from that moment on, she probably is not aware ever to the day. She could not always help, but she would always pick up the phone and answered my call. She would drag me out of the house and deepest holes of my head and soul. Even when she didn’t feel like it. She had her own battles and was killing her own demons. It is very possible that in the middle of all that chaos we shared our battles. Not sure how, but we did it. We used to talk and laugh about how one day all the shit we are dealing with now will be funny.
I love people who follow me though many lives. Probably because I love those people, I love to travel through lives with them. There are not many of them, but they appreciate my friendship same as I appreciate theirs.
Katya always used to say that sometimes we have to clean up the basement. Basement is the place we keep skeletons of the past and people who slowly sink in our lives whether we push them, or they do it all on their own. You know, when you invest yourselves in friendship with someone and then realise it is a one-way street. One-way calls, one-way messages, one-way feelings. Then we justify once, twice, three times. One morning we wake up realising that we have a basement and many friendships in that basement that are not that any more. That is the moment to clean up the basement. Spring clean, autumn clean, Christmas deep clean…call it whatever you want to, but it is high time. Make space and energy for new. Or perhaps invest more energy in those you travel through lives with. It doesn’t matter they are far away. I don’t care that much if we can’t go for lunch or shopping every week. When we continue every conversation where we left it, we realise that we have got something valuable in life. For this life and ones to come.
Photos taken in National Harbor Marina, Washington DC, USA, December 2013