My life as a Malaysian doctor in the United States.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Friends gained, friends lost.
One of my sources of bitterness here.
I'm not sure why this came to mind this week. But it's something that's bothered me for the last 2 and half years. And to this day, I wonder what really happened.
When J and K, a couple from home, joined our motley crew here 4 years ago, we were happy. After all, more friends, right? Adapting to a new place was initially tough for K though. I remember hearing about how she spent the first few days crying in their apartment. We brought them some satay from one of our barbeques to welcome them and to cheer her up.
We got along well, well enough for me to consider them good, reliable friends. When my folks came to visit that year and I was at work, K was nice enough to take them shopping. Truly, I felt blessed to have them as friends.
Then suddenly, something changed. Out of the blue, they stopped hanging out with us. Just fell off the radar. When we ran into them in the mall, or at restaurants, J was friendly though K seemed short, even unfriendly. We thought it was the pregnancy, and her being unwell. Being the bigmouth of the group, I felt guilty, thinking that perhaps one of my jokes or teases must have offended them. And sent her a card. Never did hear back from her.
Years later, J confided in a mutual friend, who relayed it back to me. And what I heard was beyond belief.
Somehow, somewhere along the way, K thought we were looking up her medical records, especially details of her pregnancy. And decided to terminate all contact with us.
Needless to say, we were shocked. After all, we knew of the pregnancy only because her tummy was obviously swollen.
Here, looking up medical records of non-patients would be considered a major offence, enough to get someone sacked. And even if I wanted to, I couldn't as we never knew her maiden name. And to be brutally honest, I had better things to do than to look up friends' medical records. And my career wasn't certainly worth that cheap thrill.
When I confronted J to ask him about it, and to hear why this came up, he had nothing to say. After thinking about it, I realized that I was giving him no choice; I was essentially telling him to explain to me why his wife was delusional.
And so, I wrote him a note: "You don't owe me any explanations; just know I harbor no resentment". To which he replied warmly as well.
To this day, we talk like friends when I meet him on the floor. But in the company of his wife, he's less talkative, while she's cold, as cold as rivals could ever be.
What exactly happened I suspect we'll never know. Peripartum delusional disorder? After all, that's a well-known condition. Something we said during one of our childish jokes? Someone told some malicious lie?
But truth be told, my feelings are mixed. I miss my friends, J and K, that's for certain. Yet, I'm saddened, perhaps even bitter, feeling like we've been treated in a most unfair manner, without even having been given the chance to discuss this directly with K.
Thus is life I suppose; you make friends. You lose a few. Life goes on.