The weekly meeting of everyone who doesn’t talk to you anymore takes place each Tuesday at 9pm in a church basement. The College Friend Who Got Tired of Your Whole Thing makes the coffee and The Kid Who Stopped Hanging Out With You in Junior High Because He Wanted to Be Cool brings the donuts.
The meetings are led by The Guy Who Wanted to Collaborate With You on Something But Stopped Answering Your Emails. He brings the proceedings to order by asking if it’s anyone’s first time here. A man stands up and introduces himself as Grad School Classmate. A chorus of Hi, Grad School Classmate echoes back to him.
The meeting leader says that all first timers must share their stories as best they can. Grad School Classmate gulps and looks out over the room while he thinks of something to say. The rows of chairs seem to stretch on forever in all directions. It’s the biggest church basement he’s ever seen.
Behind him a man whispers encouragement. He introduces himself as The Roommate Who Used to Be in That Band and says this is a place with no judgment and unconditional support. Then he shares a fist bump with his seat neighbor, The Roommate Who Ghosted After Her Last Rent Check Bounced.
Grad School Classmate says he doesn’t recall how he got here. He means that quite literally. He doesn’t remember coming to this church basement. He just found himself here. The meeting leader assures him everyone at the meeting feels the same way. Grad School Classmate sees all the heads around him nod in agreement.
Grad School Classmate is not sure when he stopped talking to you. Sometimes he’d joke with you before class and grab a beer afterwards. He went to a few shows with you because you liked the same bands. He sent you links to dumb things on the internet and you’d send some back. Then school ended and you drifted apart. It’s only natural that he’d fall out of touch with you.
The Former Coworker Who Ran The Football Pool stands up and says of course it’s natural. People change and move on and he should never ever beat himself up over this. There is scattered applause as he sits back down.
Grad School Classmate says he’s confused. If what’s happened is natural then why is he here?
The meeting leader says these why? questions are unhelpful. He is here and he should concentrate on that.
A man stands up and speaks on behalf of a corner that he identifies as People Who Used to Like You Online But Don’t Anymore. Some of them conversed with you in chat rooms. Others simply liked a bunch of your tweets. Then they stopped. Most of them don’t even know what you look like. Yet here they are.
Grad School Classmate asks why it’s on him to stay in touch with you when you can just as easily get in touch with him.
A wave of laughter ripples from the back of the room all the way to the front. The Manager Who Seemed Kinda Cool Until He Fired You tells him this is what all first timers say.
The Woman Who Pretended To Be Someone Else When You Called tells him he can’t get into questions of what’s fair and unfair. She went on three boring dates with you and now she’s gotta come here every week. She can see why Woman Who Broke Up With You Via Email From Prague should have to be here but why should she? A few cries of tell it are heard.
Grad School Classmate asks if he should just go home and email you. Would that make you feel better? Would that make things cool between you?
The Editor Who Said He’d Get Back to You About Your Novel But Never Did tells him that they’ve all thought of this before and it won’t work. Once he leaves here he won’t think about you again. None of them do. They only think about you when they are here.
Grad School Classmate doesn’t understand because they are talking about you right now. The meeting leader says trying to understand it all is a dead end. However, he has a theory, though he emphasizes that it’s just a theory. He believes that none of them remember you but you remember all of them and that’s why they are here.
Grad School Classmate is on the verge of tears. He wants to know why he has to be here when you don’t have to go any stupid meetings about the people you don’t talk to anymore. Surely there are people you don’t remember who remember you, people who think about you every day and wonder why you stopped talking to them.
The Mom Whose Kid Stopped Being Friends With Your Kid offers him a tissue and says he can’t think that way because it will drive him crazy. Maybe you do have to go to meetings of your own. None of them know because none of them talk to you anymore.
The meeting ends with a nondenominational moment of silence. Grad School Classmate grabs a cup of coffee from an urn set up under an enormous poster that says ONE DAY AT A TIME. He shakes a few hands. Everyone says he was brave to share tonight. Everyone seems nice. He still doesn’t know how he got here.