Friday, March 23, 2012

The Scintilla Project - Day 6

Prompts today -- er -- Tuesday. (I'm behind.) I'm going with #1, more or less.

1. Write the letter to the bully, to the cheater, to the aggressor that you always wanted to but couldn't quite. Now tell them why they can't affect you anymore.

2. Talk about an experience with faith, your own or someone else's.


To someone I used to know, a long, long time ago in another place, another time, another life:
You were my friend.
At least that's what you told me, many times. We spent time together, enjoyed wonderful meals and playing games and watching television and talking, talking. We shared very personal, deep stories and cried together, and you told me you felt like we had a special bond, that we were so alike in many ways. It felt very precious to me, our friendship, and I loved being your friend.

Oh, I knew I wasn't your BFF, and that's okay, because you weren't mine either, but we told each other about those women in our lives, those strong, funny, wonderful women who meant so much to us and with whom we'd shared so many experiences over the years. "You'd love her," we both said. We swapped recipes and told stories about our mothers and our feelings and we laughed, too, a lot.

When some of our friends had a falling out and everybody was all gossipy and snippy and taking sides, you said, "We're not in junior high anymore! Get over it."  And I did. I thought you did too.
And then it was over, boom. Like one of us died, or moved suddenly and left no forwarding address. Except that we'd meet occasionally at events or in a store, and sometimes (but not always) exchange empty pleasantries, you smiling with your mouth but never again with your eyes. That stopped too, those occasional meetings, partly because when I would see you in a store or on the street or at an event, I began to go the other way to avoid you. Perhaps you did the same.

I didn't know what happened. And I grieved a long time, wracking my brain to think of what I might have said or done that caused such an abrupt break, painfully going over conversations and events again and again.

 It is in my deepest people-pleasing nature to blame myself for such things, for someone deciding to 'break up' with me. I wanted to get over it, I really, really did, and I tried hard to let it go, to think kindly of you and hope that you were all right. But such hurt and rejection don't leave easily or swiftly.

Friendships often are seasonal -- linked to a particular time and place and life situation (like when your kids are little and you're sharing soccer bleachers or Girl Scout troop duties) -- and when the need/situation is no longer there, the connection drifts away, hopefully leaving some pleasant memories.

You chopped our friendship off at the very root of it; there was no withering, no easy drifting away. Time and perspective help heal pain and grief, allow unhealthy memories to fade, and to accept that people and situations change, our needs change. I still wonder what happened, but that's because I am a storyteller and I always want to know all the details, to know the 'rest of the story.'

I used to think the loss was mine, and my fault. But you: you threw away an exceedingly loyal, loving friend in choosing to reject our friendship. I finally understood that the biggest loss was yours.

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