I think of shame. And embarrassment.
I think of the hurdles of transitioning from an extremely intimidated introvert into a socially semi-functional…still intimidated…introvert.
I think of seeing you for the first time and wishing you would be my friend but knowing the social norms of our little clique wouldn’t allow for that–and the overarching reality that I was far too shy to ever dream of approaching you. I think of seeing you blossoming into one of the most beautiful people I had ever before seen or known the name of. And I think of our first timid words.
And I think that I was such a fool. I was such a fool not to have made the most–or more than I did–of that time. I think of long drawn-out silences that maybe you understood but probably you didn’t because in written word they didn’t exist.
I think of love, because I did love you–what you would let me see of you–and ‘love’ had only recently become to me something that makes your heart pound so strongly it seems as though the whole world can hear it. Maybe they could hear it, and looked on in silence as I blundered around you. I was so very clumsy then–physically, emotionally–
I think of hate. Because I hate that a decade later there is still a construction zone where my heart collided with yours, and most of that decade I have spent regretting the day I met you because you brought out the bumbling idiot in me. I hate the fact that even though now I understand exactly what happened back then, I’ve already played too many of my cards trying to explain to you what I did wrong, and you will never hear this, and I don’t want you to because if you did you would disregard it the same way you did every other time I tried to find a little peace of mind. I’m angry.
I’m angry because you used me. I don’t know how much of what you did was done consciously, or when it became conscious for you, but the entire time I was blaming myself for everything that went wrong, too innocent and too gullible to see that I was all in it for you, and you were all in it for you, so no one was actually in it for me and I got burned. But I’m most angry because even though I know what happened wasn’t completely my fault and that it was a learning curve neither of us had experienced before, I still to this day beat myself up for destroying the friendship I was so lucky to have.
But when I think of you…
I think forgiveness. Because forgiveness was always something I asked–sometimes begged–of you. I was so sure if I had your forgiveness I would have peace of mind–but lo and behold here I am still ranting about it. And I never realized until recently that maybe I was not the only one who needed forgiveness, and maybe you were not the one to give any.
I have no blame for you–I never have. But I have a bitterness that none of my words have ever been able to express. It’s only a shame this came so late, but I forgive you. And I forgive me. I forgive you for being an earthborn human raised with a comsciousness for a broken world and imperfect relationships. I forgive myself for being a late bloomer and for the time you spent expecting me to be a fully opened blossom when all I had to offer were the smallest buds. I forgive myself my awkward introvertedness, I forgive myself my passivity. And I forgive myself for being unable all these years to lay this one burden at the wayside and truly live beyond its regret.
So there you have it. I rarely think of you anymore, but it is all there and every now and then I revisit that painful spot in my heart and rebruise the edges. But I won’t do that anymore, for both of us.
When I think of you, I think of grace. I see that there was so much room for it between us and I wish I had understood it and been able to relate more graciously with you then. I wish you knew what I know now. Maybe you do, probably you don’t–but maybe you do. You could be free.