Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Forgiveness

You know how there are some people you just instantly click with? Like, to the point where it's spooky? Where you maybe even sense that you're about to meet someone really special before either of you have said a word? There's just something about them. A sparkle in their eye that makes you feel like you've already shared an inside joke.

On my first day of kindergarten I was feeling a little apprehensive when my mom pointed out a little girl already seated at one of the teensy desks. "Why don't you sit with her?" she suggested. I checked out her gloriously red hair and Minnie Mouse necklace and thought. "Yeah, she'll do." She in turn informed her mother that she and I would one day get married. 18 years later our kindred spirited-ness has not diminished in the least. It's been pointed out that when we laugh, which is frequently, it's impossible to tell us apart.

I can count on one hand the number of people that I've had such an instant and unshakable bond with. They are the people whom I can't help but break out into a silly grin upon seeing and whom, no matter how much time has passed, I can talk and laugh with as though we've been together every day.

I remember feeling a sense of relief when *Ross walked in to the room during my third or fourth day in college. A late addition to the program, he was the person I had been waiting to meet since day one. I willed him to sit at my table and that was it. We were finishing each others sentences by the end of the week. I can't tell you how many times I had to fake a coughing fit or duck under the desk to pick up an imaginary dropped pen during a class, shoulders shaking and eyes streaming with crazy unstoppable laughter bubbling up, sometimes from nothing more than a word mouthed across the room.

We immediately felt more like siblings than anything, which I guess is one of the reasons our friendship came so easily. We constantly swapped dating advice. When he and his girlfriend broke up, I made him a mixed CD of ridiculous breakup songs. When I limped my way back to school after being hospitalized and very nearly killed by my own body, only to have my boyfriend break up with me, he was one of my biggest supporters, making me laugh when nothing about my life seemed funny anymore and my usual BFFs were too far away to know just how bad things were.

When he started dating one of the other girls in our program, I was the first to be let in on the secret and was totally happy for him. Although she wasn't one of my particular friends, we had worked together on a couple of projects, and I liked her. She seemed smart and fun and cute, if a little insecure. In fact, I have video footage of she and I cracking each other up while working on an assignment. I made it a point to invite her when I had a party that Ross was coming to and always went out of my way to be friendly to her since I knew how much Ross liked her and I also knew how torturous it could be to have a boyfriend who got along really well with other girls.

After graduating, we kept in touch via the occasional email and maybe one phone call a month and every so often I'd try to lure the increasingly codependent couple down for a visit with the promise of theatre tickets for him and his gf.

Then one day, almost two years ago now, he informed me, through messenger that he and the gf had decided he was going to have to cut off all contact with me. I actually thought he was joking for a second. My heart and stomach switched places when I realized he wasn't.
"Sarah, it's me and you that's the problem. We're too close. We're basically the same person sometimes," was the best he could do in the way of an explanation.

I calmly informed him that cutting me out of his life was A) Effing insane, B) Totally unnecessary, and C) An unfair betrayal. He agreed. I told him I would even be ok with a rule that if we were going to hang out, she had to be there too in an effort to find a compromise.

He explained that I wasn't the only person his gf was having trouble with. So on top of feeling hurt and angry on my own behalf, I started to feel sick over the thought of my friend being in what was starting to look alarmingly like an abusively controlling situation. I hated the thought that someone I so cared about and admired could behave like such a coward. "What if I told you that my boyfriend didn't want me to be friends with you and I had to cut off contact?" I asked.
"I'd ask you if he's seen a picture of me."

I told him how hurt I was that he would even consider cutting me out of his life, I told him there had to be some kind of compromise he could find and I made it clear that this would be a deal breaker. If he went ahead and threw out our friendship to mollify his girlfriend, then we weren't friends to begin with. I thought surely he'd come to his senses.

Six months later I received a happy birthday text-message from him. I didn't respond, and I haven't heard from him since.

Every so often I still think of something funny to tell him, or I try again to solve the puzzle of our last conversation and I wind up confused and sad all over again. It's horrible to realize that if something happened to him, I'd have no way of knowing. I've thought once or twice about contacting him, but I don't know what to say and a large part of me is still too upset and bewildered by what happened. But mostly I just don't think about it.

A couple of days ago I was talking with another college friend. "I've been talking with Ross a fair bit, actually," he informed me. "He says you two don't chat anymore. He says losing you was the biggest mistake of his life."

"Ha, ha. Well, I AM pretty awesome." I blustered, hurt feelings rushing back to the surface.

"Well I know he feels really bad about whatever happened. Any chance you two could be friends again?"

I didn't know what to say.

10 comments:

frankie said...

I'm with you. Unfortunately I was on the other side of the "friend dumping for current sig other". My boyfriend at the time (ex now, you can read a lil about that on my blog haha) My best guy friend was basically just like me, we just 'got' each other. It's insecurity, they cant handle you being possible closer to someone of the opposite sex besides themselves. and it SUCKS. b/c wtf are you supposed to do when faced with threats of breaking up esp if u feel like you really love that person. Case in point: If he loved you THAT much (or she) they would never ask or TELl you to get rid of someone in your life that's important to you (unless of course you and that other person are cheating on your bf/gf together... then it gets really sticky. But is probably the biggest red flag of an unhealthy relationship. I say let him back in, everyone makes mistakes and makes bad decisions. you live, learn. Everything happens for a reason :)

Kyla Bea said...

I hope there is a chance you can be friends again - if his gf gets her head on straight, or he leaves her. This kind of behavior is so scary to me - and talk about artificial security.

I've been in that situation before, and my policy has been that everyone gets into a really awful relationship here and there, and they'll do stupid things. Forgive and forget - once. If you guys reconnect and he backs off again, or his gf starts 'forcing' him too, that's walk away worthy for me.

Love the blog! = )

Mari said...

I have experienced a similar situation in my life, and it was so painful. It felt like experiencing a death, where I really had to grieve. I have dreamt of people coming back into my life... but things will never go back to being as they were. It could be a good thing, or a dealbreaker, depending upon what you want.

I hope you are not hurting any more Sarah : )

sarahbelledotcom said...

oh man, i'm so sorry, sweetheart.

it sounds like you too had a fantastic, rare friendship. if he is truly sorry, and wants you back in his life, i'd give him a second chance. everyone makes mistakes, and apparently he's become aware that letting you go is one of his.

good luck, and keep your head up, whichever way things go.

ox

Elle Bee said...

Oh Sarah!

I've had this happen before too, it sucks. You were such an understanding friend, making sure to include her because of how she might have been feeling with the whole boyfriend-girl friendship. Sometimes, there's nothing you can do.

Seems to me though, maybe there is just a little something you can do now. Even if you can't be friends like you were before, you can at least get a bit of closure for all of your hurt feelings.

Sarah said...

Thanks all of you for your lovely and thoughtful comments. It's really nice to know I'm not the only one who has gone through this kind of thing.

Stuart A. Thompson said...

I think I decoded your asterisk.

LipstickOne said...

yes...it's worth a try.

Errant Gosling said...

I have a friend like this from high school and college whom I miss greatly. I honestly though, though I never told anyone, that I'd marry her someday. She's very nearly gone now, at least to me. I think I can related to every word you said. Very good post.

M said...

Can we talk more about gloriously red hair? xo.