The Best Friend I Never Had
I don't know why I stay in the control room while he leaves. General Hammond, Sam, and Teal'c all had things said to them too, and I don't see any of them sulking in a corner while their friend (or not, as the case may be) leaves, never to return again.
I think the biggest reason was to test if what he'd said was true, if he'd be able to go off to another world without saying goodbye to his…not-friend. I wanted to see him show at least a little regret that I wasn't there. I mean, even if he was being serious, you don't work with someone in a job like ours for three years without forming some sort of connection, even if it wasn't friendship. Teammates, acquaintances, companions, call it what you like, but something has to be there, right?
But apparently I've been wrong about Jack all this time.
Staying up in the control room is just as much a test for me as it is for him. If our relationship—whatever it was—meant so little to him, then it shouldn't mean anything to me either.
Except that's not the way it works. Friendship isn't something that just one person can have, both people have to work to hold it together. I keep trying to tell myself that he's just angry and snapped on me simple because I was there, and it felt good to pass on the animosity. I keep reminding myself of all the missions we've been on together, all the times we've saved each other's lives. It all has to mean something.
But the gate activates, the wormhole opens. He steps through without a look back, and I can't even try to pretend I don't care.
I guess we both failed our tests.
After a minute, the others in the gateroom gradually begin to filter out, the techs in the control room go back to their computers. I appear to be the only one left contemplating the departure of one Colonel Jack O'Neill, so I make my way back up to my lab.
Being there doesn't help though. The artifacts and pictures I usually take comfort in are now just overabundant reminders of missions and what I thought were good times past. And as I moodily stick my hands in my pockets, I find the worst relic of all: the short straw. The stupid straw I drew that decreed I should be the one to check on him.
Maybe he was right about us. Maybe the foundation for our friendship wasn't as sturdy as I thought, if all it took was one conversation to send the whole thing crashing down. Ironic—the short straw that broke the camel's back.
With a flick of the thumb and index finger, I send the little piece flying through the air and into the wastebasket, wishing that forgetting and letting go of this so-called friendship was as easy as that.
So much for the best friend I never had.