Have you ever come across someone who could break your heart, no matter how far away from them you could get?
I had a best friend like that; no matter how often we did or didn’t speak, she could somehow open a wound just by existing. I know that sounds odd, but all those years ago, when we once were so close, the bitterness of her wounds began to run too deep and widely.
It’s been years since I was last within her grasp, but even now I never know who I will run across or when something will let me know that her reach may be interminable; infinite maybe. Probably.
Her ways back then were so needy. She needed to be the biggest, the best, the most regarded, and the only. She jealously guarded her needs. She would place herself squarely in front of whoever was to be her latest trophy for career advancement, for recognition, for friends, for love.
I know where those wounds began, I know what they’re from, but what I don’t know is why they became stuck within her, why they screeched a halt to her ability to see with light. I’m not even certain when that started, but one thing for sure, the child within flat-lined any more emotional development.
She needed special, which was measured according to what was special to someone else. Coveting, I think that’s what that’s called, except she needed to covet up close and personal. It really didn’t matter what the source of the glitter that caught her eye: someone else’s community recognition, someone else’s parental praise, someone else’s loves. Nothing was off limits, as even I would eventually learn.
There were signs when things started heading south for her. Accusations began to overtake any conversations, then retributions were meted out generously. Punishment of choice -malicious slander and brutal betrayal. Soon anyone near was indicted and we would all get turns at being the source of her poisoned well. Hell hath no fury like un-eased fears.
After a while, despair was not about living off the guilt of who did her wrong; within a few years of committing 6 of the 7 deadly sins, it was completely about how her own guilt was smothering her. The only way to keep ahead of that is to hit, numb, and run.
There was one moment when she realized the source of her pain was really found in a mirror, but it was only a brief dawning. Besides, time is stopped for the inner child. They believe they have forever to tilt at windmills and they never really see how much the world has kept turning without them.
Someone told me recently how much he had loved her so many years ago. I know how that felt, when we knew her. I live with the loss of that long ago love too. I don’t hate her – anymore, but I did learn that it’s not necessary for the both of us to drink the poison.
I also now know the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. When we weren’t serving the purpose of total agreement with her, we got to experience her ‘or else’, and we were cast out without second thought. Some of us kept walking. I’d learn that a certain level of indifference was life-saving. Leaving the well to save oneself is not casting a stone upon another.
I don’t think of her every day anymore and I don’t feel that hurt either. Once in a while, I may fleetingly think about that someone I used to know. I don’t try to understand any of it either. The most I will do now, is simply wish love and good health for her, and to continue in my own journey to move on in the same.
Thank you to some people who inspired me to finally work out years of rumination. Although I’m pretty sure they don’t know exactly what they said, I hope they’ll see some reflection of the thoughts they shared: Roberta Boulette, Christy, Melanie, and Rachel – Sisters to me, one and all – thanks.