First, an unexpected apology for something not really deserving of an apology – not to me anyway – that forced a 180 of my position regarding the apologizer. I would feel better if the friend I was defending had received the apology, but I understand it’s not possible for him to think in those terms yet and at least he has tempered his public remarks. That’s all I really wanted. We can’t always aim for perfection.
Then, contact from the past and the return of the dreaded stress-related eye twitch as I struggled with decade old emotions bubbling to the surface while trying to pull off a national event at work. And yes, it seems obvious, but I now fully understand that people are reading whatever I write here. Initially I felt relieved that I hadn’t written any stories about the dissolution of that friendship which I might have been embarrassed by, but now I simply feel that maybe the going forward part would be easier if I had written those stories. All my cards would already be on the table and I would not feel so conflicted.
The old friend asked, "Why would our friendship ever be completely unrecoverable?" A question I had been wondering myself since stating in an email that had always felt it was – unrecoverable. What is more important, holding on to hurt from the past or knowing a person again, who had once been so special?
I’ve been around this way with another old friend in the not-so-distant past and this whole situation has the oppressive feeling of déjà vu about it. In that case, as my friend drove me home one night from Madison, I ridiculously blurted out the issue that I had never gotten over. He knew instantaneously what I was talking about, and I could tell he hadn’t known the weight his words had carried then. It was sorry enough for me, and all that I had kept locked in all those years evaporated immediately. I remember being surprised at how easy it was to let go of it all after the slightest acknowledgement from us.
I don’t know if that is the case here. I don’t know that I want to get over it. Or, if in fact I do want to get over it, if I am ready. I’ve suffered much greater injustices than the one I perceive here. I’ve been cheated on! I’ve been passed over for a promotion I had been trained for – then asked to train my replacement! "Learned a lot from that," I have said about those situations without much bitterness yet somehow retain all the melancholy frustration of the last few days of highschool and a blurred line in a car outside my apartment. Stupid to even fuss about now, when I have a husband, a home and a dogchild called Chloe.
Yesterday brought a funny chance meeting with an old boyfriend’s brother in the PATH near my office tower. He looked so familiar as he approached but I couldn’t place him (he was at least a foot taller than the last time I saw him). When I heard his voice I knew. I wanted to give him my undivided attention but my brain was flooded with a litany of event-related tasks also clamouring for attention like bratty little kids.
And after that, Eric, standing near the staircase with a beautiful smile for me though his hair is growing in funny from radiation. I’ve rarely felt so happy to see another human being.
I used to have this closet when I was little. The clothes hung from two bars, one behind the other. The bar at the back was higher and for special occasion clothes that didn’t get much wear. Underneath was a secret, dark place for small people. Good for thinking. If I felt like retreating last week, today overwrought, I wish for my closet. But my house doesn’t have any closets and there are events to get through, Hamilton to visit, friends with new jobs who should be celebrated, old boyfriend’s brothers to have lunch with and maybe wives and pitbulls and babies to meet, and not much time to hide in dark places anyway.