Reason, Season, or Lifetime. I'm sure you've heard that before as it pertains to how folks can make brief appearances in our lives or make a lasting impact. I've mostly focused on long lasting relationships with friends and family but I too have had brief "season"al friends.
When I took my first "real" job out of college I made a lot of acquaintances but very few lasting friendships at first. Among my new hire crew at Worldspan was a charismatic guy named Daryl. He had worked in a travel agency before and had a lot of background knowledge so we gravitated towards him when we needed "insider" information. At the time I was still living in Warrensburg but when I eventually moved to the KC area (Riverside) Daryl and I started to hang out more. He met a woman named Anita, got married and got a place near Excelsior Springs. Our families would hang out playing games, going to moves and spending time at the park.
After a couple of years Daryl and Anita's relationship hit some snags. He apparently had a gambling problem and started to use the family's money and losing... big. To try and break even he made fake auctions on eBay pretending to have a Michael Jordan rookie card and the likes to make some quick money. The stress of all of this lead to him drinking and eventually they split. When I learned about all of this Anita asked me to check on him so I drove over to the apartment he moved into and knocked on the door. I couldn't get him to answer the door or the phone. Eventually he called me back and made up this outlandish story about organized crime framing him. He had always been a good friend so I tried to give him a pass but he kept doubling down embellishing each time.
At some point in here he got in trouble with the law, not sure which part exactly caught up with him but he ended up arrested. It was at this time we lost touch and to my shame I stopped talking to Anita as well. The years of friendship we had built up all seemed to crumble in the poor decisions he made. While this wasn't her fault I felt at the time that I needed to distance myself from the whole mess. Remember I was in my early 20s and by the time I realized she probably could have used my support it was too late and I was unable to contact her.
A few years later and a divorce of my own underway I made a new friend in Erin. She was a single mom with similar interests and we would get our kids together to play on the regular. Erin was creative soul with a big heart who worked hard for her autistic son and busted her butt to get a good paying job. After a few years she met Kevin and they began to date. Kevin was a mostly nice guy and a top rated mechanic with some pretty conservative views. We all got along so long as we stayed away from polarizing topics.
When they decided to get married Erin asked me to be the officiant (thank you Universal Life Church). Choosing Halloween for the big event meant that I was bald as I used to shave for a prosthetic mask I adhered to my head (I really like Halloween). We were invited to all of the family events and got to know both of their parents rather well. We attended Thanksgiving and Christmas events together. Steve and I even performed for her sons Star Wars themed birthday with lightsabers.
Things were going well until Erin converted from Wiccan and became a born again Christian. She (oddly) kept it a secret at first but when we heard everyone showed support and Ana and I even offered to go to her baptism. She declined and became more and more reclusive. Finally one day she invited me to breakfast at a Dunkin Donuts and explained to me that her new lifestyle and family were not compatible with ours. I didn't really understand and never did get a satisfactory answer but she made it clear we wouldn't be hanging out anymore. It hit pretty hard and the kids didn't understand why they couldn't see their friend (her son) anymore. She removed me from Facebook (I am still friends with both her parents believe it or not) but I learned from a friend of a "friend" that they got divorced. I don't really have the full story and wish them all the best but it just goes to show that you may think you know a person only to discover you were very wrong.