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Here Comes Treble: Ghosts

Isabel Bradley brings some cautionary words on the reliability of friendship.

Memories of old friendships haunt us all, the good times, the times of collaboration when we helped each other, the fun and laughter – and the times of betrayal.

When friendships end with bitterness and accusations, we find ourselves reassessing shared experiences, wondering how valid they were. Were the times we shared genuinely fun, or were those people laughing behind our backs? Did they say, “Just wait until they find out what we really think of them, they’ll feel such fools…”? The veracity of our past, the foundation on which we build our lives, shudders and threatens to send us spinning out of control. Emotionally, we flounder. After all, if a good friend suddenly turns to attack, who can be trusted? Anyone? No-one? Who, if any, are true friends?

Warily, we claw our way back to enjoyment of the company of those around us, to trusting and being trusted. But now and then, a photograph, a smell, a memory will rise like a ghost to mock us once again: ‘how ridiculous to trust so completely…’

Friendships Past

Ghosts of friendships past
Wisp through our minds:
Memories of fun and laughter,
kindnesses between us,
meals prepared,
wine and good food shared
in warmth and happy conversation.

Comfort, relaxation, trust –
It was all there.
The images flow and billow,
companionship, like mist,
Is shredded by wordy winds
Of accusation, judgement and betrayal;
And we wonder –
Was this ever truly friendship?
What happened to faith in each other,
Sincerity, Integrity, Support?
Were we so mistaken in our love for them,
Was our view of the world
So hopelessly naïve?

Was that ghostly memory of good times past a lie,
or did we freely give and receive friendship
In all honesty?

Is the eerie truth
that few are steadfast,
Few are trustworthy?
How do we continue,
knowing the recurring hurt
of Friendships Past?

People are strange. We need the companionship of others, to trust and be trusted, to love and be loved. Friendship, according to Wikipedia, consist of many parts: of wanting what is best for each other, of sympathy and empathy, honesty, truth, understanding and compassion, trust in one another, absence of judgement, and mutual support. Research has proved that friendship enhances our health and lengthens our life-span.

When friendship is betrayed, the hurt is immeasurable. It is as if ‘… the past is exposed like old bone. Afterward, nothing can ever be the same again, and we are forced to reassess the form of what we believed to be true…’ (John Connolly, in the Prologue to his book, ‘The Killing Kind’.)

Such an ending to a friendship changes our approach to future friendships, makes us more cautious, less likely to trust others.
Within each friendship we should take care to maintain our own integrity and that of our friends, for true friends are a precious and rare commodity.

Until next time…. ‘here comes Treble!’

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by Isabel Bradley


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