An open letter to a lost friend

To celebrate your anniversary, you posted a picture from your wedding on your Facebook page.  It is one of those perfect pictures, where everyone in it looks beautiful and the moment it captures is a moment worth capturing.  A moment that holds a million memories.

I remember the moment. I remember the song. I remember the dance.

I am in that picture. On the far right side. You could have easily edited me out.

We met when you were nineteen and I was twenty. We were instant best friends. For the next couple years we were inseparable. We liked the same music and books, TV shows and movies. The local pub was our second home and our circle of friends were the best people in the world.

And then…

You met your future husband.
You stopped going to the pub, because he didn’t drink.
You started eating the foods he ate, you started liking the music he liked.
His hobbies became yours.
You changed.

I started a new job, and gained new friends.
I started reading new books and thinking new thoughts.
I changed.

At a party, I said something to you that I will regret forever.

You moved away with him.

And then…

Two years later, inexplicably, you forgave me. You asked me to be a bridesmaid. I said yes.

In the picture, you and I are joined by two of our friends from those happy days. The song is “I Think I Love You” by the Monkees, and the dance is the routine we made up for it back in ’93 at the height of our Karaoke year.  We knew the song and the dance so well that even though it had been a while, it all came back to us like we’d danced it the day before.

I look closely at my face in the picture, looking for the signs of what I was thinking. It has been seventeen years since that well captured moment, but I will never forget those thoughts.

I was thinking about the horrible thing I said to you, at that party, the last time we did our dance to that song.

I was thinking about how I made you cry.

I was thinking about how the music for our song started as if timed with my terrible phrase, and how I pulled you onto the dance floor anyway and how you danced through your tears, and even managed to smile, but I knew that things would never be the same between us.

And they never were.

You moved back for a little while after your wedding, then moved away again.  I never really got to know you as a wife and mother, and now…  Now more things than a few nasty words separate us.

That captured moment contains the thoughts of another.  Inside that happy moment is a sad one. The words are meaningless, but the meaning behind them is clear. I thought it was his fault. He came along and suddenly my best friend was gone.  I missed you so much.  I lashed out at you with all my feelings of pain and loss and hit you where I knew it would hurt you the most: I insulted him.

But you forgave me.

I pull back my focus from my own face and look at the whole picture. We are beautiful. We are happy.

Maybe when you look at that picture, you only remember the joys we shared.  The fun we had together.  Because, I can see now, all of that is captured there too.

You could have cut me out of the picture, but you didn’t.

Another inexplicable forgiveness.  For that, and for all the moments this picture captured, the happy ones and the sad, I thank you.

A Commentary on a Comment

So I was reading through the Freshly Pressed page this morning and I read a post there called, “Letter to a girl I harassed.” I don’t want to link back to it, because what I am going to write about here doesn’t have a lot to do with what the author was talking about. (It was a good read though.)  My post has to do with the second comment on that post. A person pulled a certain line out of a young man’s admission of doing wrong and shined a non-contextual flashlight on it.

““I intentionally hurt people sometimes to make myself feel better.” That is terrifying. Would you rape someone to make yourself feel better?”

First of all: “I intentionally hurt people sometimes to make myself feel better,” why does that line terrify you? Are you going to say you’ve never done that? You’ve never had that biting comeback trip off your lips in perfect comedic timing? Really? I seriously doubt it. You’ve either forgotten or you are a liar. We’ve all done it. We’ve all said that really nasty thing, because we could, because it would make everyone, besides the recipient, laugh.

I remember a moment – I was in seventh grade – my ‘best friend’ had just gotten her first adult haircut. It looked weird. Not bad, just weird. Mostly because she looked so different from the way she did the day before. The other girls in the class started teasing her and I said something, I can’t remember what, that was so perfectly timed and worded that all the cool girls laughed with me, instead of at me, for the first time. It felt good. I intentionally hurt my best friend, and for a moment, it made me feel better about myself.

I would really like to know what the commenter thinks of herself? Does she believe she’s never intentionally hurt another person with words? Any of you who have never sinned – go ahead and throw that rock. I think it was incredibly brave for that young man to admit to having those thoughts, thoughts we all have. And you think he is terrifying. I feel very sorry for you as you must surround yourself with people who lie about their feelings all the time.

Second: Why, oh Why, do people go to the extreme potential of any statement? “Would you rape someone to make yourself feel better?” He was specifically talking about things he’s SAID. How in the world to you instantly jump from hurtful words to rape? Do you understand the horror the idea of rape truly conveys?  To infer that hurtful words ALWAYS lead to rape is wrong and just adds to the fear and distrust people feel towards strangers. I believe most people are mostly nice.   And that young man in particular sounds like someone who is insightful and cares, to some extent, about the feeling of others.  The same way most of us do.

But I know why you feel the need to go there: Dramatic Effect. It is the influence of reality TV. Obviously MOST of the world is too boring, living our calm, normal, occasionally nice and occasionally hurtful lives to be of any interest to you. You have to inflate an innocuous statement to grand proportions to make your point.

Well, I guess I can’t get mad at you for that. I just wrote 500 words about your 12.


P.S.  I feel a little cowardly, posting this here and not on the person’s comment.  But her comment doesn’t link back to a wordpress site – so it is basically anonymous, and anonymous commenters scare me. 🙂   See – there’s that fear and distrust of strangers I was talking about.