My best friend wasn’t a friend in the normal sense of the word. Instead, she was a stabilizing influence. She was the only thing in my life that felt stable, and when she didn’t want to be my roommate, any hope I had for myself crumbled. I had counted on her carrying me through every mountain and valley of life, being with me every step of the way so I wouldn’t fall. Because more than anything I wanted not to fall.
She probably knew she wasn’t a friend, but I didn’t know. I didn’t know enough about psychology back then, especially my own. I didn’t know I clung to her like a leech clings to its host. I couldn’t see with clear eyes my own problems, and she was too nice to tell me that they were there.
Now that I know why she said no to being roommates, I’m not hurt or mad anymore. It was as easy to forgive her as it is to blow out a candle, just one little puff and it’s gone, leaving just a clean, open space in my heart that wasn’t there before.
I need to apologize to her or something. At least tell her somehow that I understand myself now. Yes, I’m going to do that.
I wish I could tell her about my family, and why I was the way I was.
Tell her the way they fought. The way I felt guilt over my own contribution when we were 16. The way I transformed my approach to peacekeeper in hopes that it wasn’t too late, that my family would turn around and follow suit, that the fighting would miraculously stop. Strongest faith I ever had.
The way it made me feel at times like I was the only one trying to hold us together.
The way they fell apart anyway.
The way it still hurts to remember the summer my sister finally left us, all that destruction in her wake. The way my grandpa still hurts to this day about it, and the way I can’t help him heal.
That’s the world I grew up in. It’s the world I live in still, although the fighting has been slowed by distance and masked in person like everything else in our lives. Shabby Band-aids applied to a family dying of cancer.
Agony, that night. Pounding the pillow, swearing, not even conscious of the tears except that they were clogging my breathing. So many Kleenexes. The most outward display I ever expressed of years of suppressing feelings, up in a bedroom alone until my husband found me. “So pointless. So damn pointless.”