I have this dear, old friend.
We were friends in grade school. We were friends in high school. We were roommates in college. And we lived together after college.
So we really grew up together.
She stood up to the 7th grade bully when he called me Angie Flatfield. That asshole’s nickname for me stuck for years, but then things changed in a big way. Boom. In your face, 7th grade bully. (And that’s the first time I’ve ever cursed on this blog (sorry mom), but it was warranted. I still get pissed when I think about that little jerk.)
She wiped my tears when my high school sweetheart broke my sweet heart. I remember her telling me life was going to break my heart a million times over–but I shouldn’t stop living it. And I should *never* stop loving. Those might have been the wisest words ever spoken.
In college, she was everything a college roommate should be. Late night runs to the Illini Orange for tampons and Advil–and every other oddball thing they sold there. All night study sessions fueled by candy and Mountain Dew. The girls’ nights out wearing stringy crop tops and black flared pants (probably walking to the bars with no coat in the dead of winter). And the girls’ nights in wearing our green clay face masks and sweats. And all the dates with all the guys I’m so glad we didn’t marry–there were some real doozies.
Every double-dog dare she ever gave me–I nailed them all. Because I loved to make her laugh–and I loved laughing with her.
We held on to each other tight after graduation too–two small town, scared girls in a big, real world.
And then it all fell apart.
Our friendship ended in our mid-twenties. For a hundred different reasons.
I hurt her. And she hurt me. So we were both hurt–and with that hurt came anger. I did what I do best when someone hurts me or makes me angry–or when I’m embarrassed by the hurt and anger I cause someone else. I delete them from my life altogether. Every last bit of them.
It’s a coping mechanism. And one I do best. Or did best. I’m growing and learning. And when you know better, you do better.
Oh, and also–it doesn’t work.
Because when you really love someone–it really hurts when you hurt them and they hurt you. For a long time. And no matter how hard you try–you can’t delete them. They’re always there.
When I fell in love with Danny –and when I stayed in love with him. When the doctors told me we couldn’t have babies. When they placed Johnny in my arms. When they laid Deano on my chest. When I’m just sitting on my back porch–watching my kids play in the backyard.
I think about her–and I miss her. I wonder what she’s doing now. I wonder if she’s married. I wonder if she’s a mom now, too. I think about all those tender, precious moments we’ve missed in each other’s lives over the past ten years. And it takes my breath away.
. . .
I found her on Instagram a few weeks ago. I wasn’t looking, but she popped onto my phone’s screen like the universe just knew it was time.
And it was. It was time to say sorry.
So I just wrote a little–which was hard for me. Because I’m a writer. I told her the truth–and I apologized–which was hard for me. Because I’m human.
And I told her I missed her. Because I do. I really do.
. . .
I heard back from her yesterday. I’ve probably read and re-read her response at least fifty times. It was good–so good. And gracious.
I can’t speak for her. But for me, hearing from her flooded my heart with more of the good memories–and drowned out some of the bad.
I don’t know what the future will bring for our friendship. But I’d rather face that future from this side of the apology–and this side of the forgiveness. It’s a good side for me–and probably for her too.
So here’s to saying sorry–and meaning it. Here’s to forgiveness–and granting it. And here’s to this really dear, old friend I have–who never placed a statute of limitation on either.