Updated: Aug 8, 2022
Why does the shit stick?
Not the times we listened with our heart wide open to catch the other’s pain . . .
stopped everything to be there when the world shut down . . .
laughed hard, past the brink of relieved tears . . .
Why were those memories blurry, shrouded in a cloud of forgetfulness?
But in the morning, as soon as my consciousness dropped from the astral plane, before my eyes had so much as a chance to crack open, the bad things jumped out of my brain like a jack-in-the-box with eight heads. The worst of the words clung to me, following me into every activity, springing back up just when I got distracted enough to feel ok again.
I journaled these rushes of negative feelings, the cutting exchanges that soured my memory. I tapped to remove their stinging charge and clear them from my body. And sometimes, I forgot completely, without any effort at all.
Those stretches were lengthening, when I didn’t think about how it went bad.
Did it have to? End badly?
Why couldn’t we have drifted apart, lost touch or gotten so wrapped up in our respective success that we no longer needed to fill each other’s void? Texts dwindling until we didn’t take up residence in each other’s daily lives, scouring every detail ad nauseam.
What if life had seamlessly smoothed our friendship into a juicy catch-up call a few times a year or spontaneous meetup in a blue moon?
No blow up, breakup or catastrophe coupled with heaps of blame.
Why couldn’t our ending have been easier?
Jesus, everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn’t end. Tom Cruise as Brian, Cocktail
But we had been too close for that to be our way. Too entrenched. Too involved. Too co-dependent.
It had been too unhealthy for too long for us to simmer off into neutrality.
We had to crumble into the rubble and get sooty with all the yuck of hurt feelings — guilt, blame and “she said”s. In the middle of making the bed, I’d find myself rolling around in the ashes of what we thought we had, now desiccated, burned. Tingeing the start of my day with regret. Having to stop, and clear, and start over, until it all came crashing down on me again.
In this stage, the fallout, only the ugliness curdled to the surface in grotesque boils of embarrassing emotions.
The other had to be the enemy in order to let them go.
So what now?
How many years would have to pass until she became like the others? The ones I’d fallen out with, that wrecked my existence then, but now, not even so much as a twinge of guilt remained. I wanted to expedite that process and wipe all memory of her from my life. All my mistakes. Everything I said that I regretted. The parts of myself I shared that I never should have. How stifled and tamped down I felt in our dynamic, belittled and underestimated.
Freedom would never exist inside of what had been, Us.
How can someone loom so large in your life that your heart breaks upon the realization that they need to leave it? Because you won’t ever soar as long as they’re perched in your picture. They’ll do whatever it takes to position themselves above you, in the most loving way, of course. Drilling inside to the deepest doubts, mining the tiniest parts of you that never feel secure no matter how much spiritual work you do. That one makes it their unconscious mission to know you fuller than you think you know yourself, so they can keep tabs, take credit and claim power. You will only be safe when they can only say, “I knew her when . . .”
It’s devastating to be truly seen and have that used against you.
I hope that’s not what I remember most, because right now, it’s all I see.
But just yesterday, while doing dishes, I thought of something random.
She’d find that funny, I twittered inside with the bubbly feeling that preceded texting her something delicious, as if nothing had happened, and I wasn’t wading knee-deep in the fallout. In that flashing glimmer, my insides warmed with the remembrance of tickled times rife with inside jokes and hours-long phone convos in the middle of the night.
Maybe I could go there sometimes. To the magic of Us, sans the rest. Where neither of us was the bitch. We were glorious in our groove. And no one was the wiser.
After rebirth, I rise and fall, until I find myself again.