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Goodbye Never Really Stops

October 12, 2014

A year ago today I last heard from my best friend of 9 years. And by last heard I mean I received a final cutting-loose email and a Facebook block to end our months-long argument.

To be fair, I had been an awful friend for the better part of that year. I had been distant and deceptive, depressive and self-destructive. I hadn’t wanted to acknowledge that I was hurting her in the process of hurting myself. I had ignored her good advice, or lied to pretend that I was following it.

In short, I was an asshole. I needed a slap to my face. I had expected an actual slap. I hadn’t expected the 2 by 4 of abruptly losing the most important person in my life.

I did my best to back-track, to analyze, to fix it. But, unlike the rest of my life which has been retrofitted and reborn a dozen times, human relationships are harder to revive. My attempts at CPR only cemented our bad-faith and hurt.

Illogically, I still hope for reconciliation, though there have been times that I wasn’t sure how such a thing could even happen with still aching wounds on both sides. I have reworked and rethought the words that I would say, I’ve tried desperately to imagine what hers might be.

Most days still, a year of silence and absence later, I imagine what her response to my life would be. I’m no longer on the fast-track to sorrow, letting my life spiral out of control in hopes of fixing it by accident. I try to be a little more socially conscious. I do lie now and then, but never about the things that matter, not even to people who don’t.

In exchange for her warm friendship, her example and company and love, I’ve managed to get a few things that I desperately needed. I’m actually in a relationship with a man who loves me, I’m solidly on the path of a real career and I’m closer to realizing my dream than ever before.

Yet, I miss her now more than ever. Now when I wouldn’t be torn by envy and self-hatred, when I wouldn’t feel obligated to hide my life from her. But, as with many things, I am powerless to reach her. I’ve traded her presence in my life, for the life I was killing myself to have, and I can’t shake the haunting feeling that if I had done it differently, maybe I could have had both.

Though I could still write books about the things I’d like to tell her, that’s not what anyone needs to hear. Least of all her, when I really just want to hear what she has to say. Instead, I’m trying to battle for my current relationships, the ones that don’t need to be rebuilt from the bottom up yet. I have to fight, because in my heart I am certain that I am going to ruin all the good things in my life. And I need to not ruin friendships and marriages and relationships ahead.

So Ariel, here’s to you. You were one of the finest friends I have ever had the privilege of having around. No matter how flawed or broken you thought you were, you were an inspiration. Your love and compassion helped me to piece together something workable in times when I was flailing for meaning and purpose. There have been other, vitally important people in my life, but you helped bring me into adulthood, and I’m only sorry that I wounded you in my attempts to figure out what that meant for me.

The knowledge that most of the important people in my life have never, will never meet you hurts me to my core. They’ve been deprived of your wit and wisdom because of my stupidity. They may never understand who I am, because they cannot without knowing you and the shaping force you have on my life today.

If the strength of a person’s influence is determined solely by the duration of influence after they are gone, then I may never be able to measure your impact on my life, and that of those around me.

Nonetheless, it is time to say goodbye. I have to accept that I do not have the power to repair what I have broken. Godspeed Ariel, may you fare well until the day I may see you again.

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From → Serious Musings

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