I am having a hard time starting this post, not just because my thoughts are so jumbled that it makes it difficult to find words, but because this post feels a lot like the high dive on Memorial Day. Every year, on the first day that I went to the pool for the summer, I had to march off the high dive or I would be immobilized by it for the rest of the season. I didn't need to ever go off the high dive again for the remainder of the summer but I knew that if I didn't force myself to jump the first day, I would spend each day after staring at the board and worrying about the board and thinking about the board.
And now that I know that she reads my blog, I feel this need to write tonight--not just to place closure on the earlier post--but because if I didn't, I would become self-conscious overnight. It's not that I blog everything in my world, but I don't have many walls and I was scared that I would start building them if I considered who was reading. And I never want to have walls. I never want to have my arms up, holding people at bay.
I cried. A lot. It was amazing to sit across from her again. She looked so much like she did 14 years ago. She is very beautiful--smart and matter-of-fact. I didn't really walk away with an answer. I was promised that it was none of the reasons I've believed for the last 14 years. At this point, I don't really know if I needed an answer. I did the work on my own; came to my own space again of feeling comfortable with who I am. I wasn't seeing her again because I wanted her to feel guilty that I was so upset--I truly hope that she didn't walk away from tonight with a heavier burden. I can't deny that it was very hard to lose her friendship, but my intention is not to wrangle it back and then place the weight squarely in her arms to carry. I simply wanted to revisit my past. To sit with someone who knows this piece of me that no one else knows.
I was worried that I would get oral diarrhea tonight, tell her about the blog. But early on in the conversation, she let me know that she had read the entire thing. From start to finish, or in actuality, from recent to past. This happens, of course, a lot. A person I never knew was reading admits that they know all about the turkey cutlet or the pee bucket. It's my choice to put it out there; to write about my life. But it is a strange playing field when someone knows these pieces of your life and you know nothing of theirs.
And then she let me know that long before I started the blog, for the past 14 years, she has kept up with my life. Through mutual friends and the local grapevine and news here and there. She has known all of the major events that have played out over the past 14 years. And on one hand, isn't it the story we all want? That the person was close the entire time, just standing in the wings, silently supporting us. Isn't that why we believe in life after death--that the person never truly leaves us and somehow still knows what is happening as our life continues to play out. And at the same time, there is a terrible bittersweetness to it. To know that she was so close for so long and didn't step forward. I am not sure if she truly knows everything that happened, but as she said it, I had this film on fast forward going through my head of all the times I have needed her for the past 14 years and wondered how many of the scenes she already knew.
It isn't really fair--it isn't her job to step forward and catch me. There were others who were there when she was not. Life has a way of doing that, of filling new people into the gaping spaces. But still, it makes my life feel a little like a Where is Waldo scene and if I look closely at the commotion, I'll find her in the background. And it both makes me feel comforted and even more distant.
I existed today on a diet of Tums and Tylenol and while I still have a headache, there is a buzzing that has stilled. Perhaps I needed one last big cry to serve as my closure. But seeing her has wiped off a film that rested over how I viewed myself for years after the break-up. Everything seems neater, shinier, organized; as if I have taken back whatever I left behind. And now we can move ahead.
I've written this before reading the comments on the last post. But I want to thank you for them. She mentioned them when she sat down and knowing that all of you were out there helped more than the Tums and there is a story that I will tell tomorrow about my cousin when my head is less fuzzy. Right now, I need to go cuddle with Josh. To kiss the twins. Before I left, I asked myself if it was worth it to go out and miss tuck-in. I never miss tuck-in. But it was. Getting that closure was worth what I missed.
Thank you--J--for answering the email; for sitting down tonight.