Goodbye Neurotypical Friend
We first became friends about six years ago. She was in a bad situation and I helped her when she needed to leave. I imagined how she must be feeling and I couldn’t stand back and watch.
Our friendship developed into cinema, shopping, drinks and ‘girly chats’ – the kind of relationship that women are ‘supposed’ to have. The kind of ‘female friendship’ that I’ve read about. I often felt relaxed in her company and successfully hid it when I didn’t
I have been happy to interact with her on this level. It was all that she was offering and I was surprised to get that much. It’s a rare thing for me. Although, sometimes I’ve felt like I was playing at ‘friends’ like a child plays at ‘shops’.
I’ve always thought of myself as an iceberg, but she has only ever been aware of the part above the water. I knew from experience that she wouldn’t be interested in any of the stuff below the waterline, so why reveal it. I briefly told her about my diagnosis, she asked one question and never mentioned it again.
I do feel a certain amount of guilt about this, but I never really felt like I had a choice. Everything above the water is just as real, so I tell myself that it wasn’t deceit
Now she’s moving on. She has a new flat, new job, new boyfriend and new friends. I feel like a parent whose child is leaving home. I’m sad and I will miss her, but I care about her too much to ever let her know.