I divulged my past to a friend recently. My entire past. From beginning to now. My thoughts are still spinning inside my head. Let me set the scene for you.
It was Super Bowl Sunday and I had just left another friend’s home in Bastrop, Texas after a night spent eating, talking, playing games and drinking, to celebrate her birthday. I was en route to downtown Houston for another celebration with another friend. We would be meeting at a hotel restaurant known for its very tasty brunch. I was excited. I hadn’t seen her in a while, and then it hit me. I realized I still carried feelings of frustration and anguish towards her.
I knew what it was and why I felt that way. I care for her very much and consider her a favorite person of mine on this planet and didn’t want to ruin my time with her by being passive or destructive with my words – (I’m still working on my New Year’s goals). But I knew I had to tell her. So, I set into motion a few narratives and plans just in case. Narrative #1: if I see her and I still cannot move past my feelings I will tell her. Narrative #2: if I see her and I have moved passed my strong feelings of frustration and indifference then shall be it.
I walked into the restaurant with as much of an open mind as possible. Fumbling through my phone I sent her a text, “Hey, I’m here,” it read. “We are right behind the calavera,” she responded. After passing a few tables my racing thoughts started to overwhelm my physical body. I knew I needed to tell her my thoughts and feelings that ate at my admiration for her. Sure enough, as soon as I saw her I felt it. I wanted to hug her and hold her close, but my indifference set in.
I greeted her and then greeted her friend. I sat down. She talked. They talked. I chimed in every now and then, but my mind was working itself out. How do I do it? Should I do it now in front of her other friend? I don’t want to make this awkward. Then a moment presented itself when her friend excused herself to fetch another helping of the brunch buffet. I figured this was my chance since the buffet table was busy.
And so, it went.
“Hey, I have to be honest. I was mad at you,” I said.
“Really,” she paused. “Why?”
“Because…. you weren’t there,” I mumbled. I held back tears and any noticeable distraught facial expressions. I continued, “I don’t want to really talk about it in front of others, but about a year ago my sister passed away and I felt…”
As soon as those words were spoken her friend had rounded the corner with bowls of pozole in hand.
There I was with a mouth full of words and a heart that couldn’t speak. We spent the rest of the time with small chit chat and a little bit of catching up. A few hours had passed before we all decided to continue the mingling at her friend’s house. As her friend exited the car we were all in, to her own car – just up the sidewalk in the parking garage – I knew that if I didn’t speak now, I might not ever get the chance.
It had been over 2 years that I stopped making any efforts to talk to her. As we pulled away, I opened up again: “I was really upset, and I think I understand why I was upset with you… I thought I had reached out and I don’t think I did. I thought you knew.” In her defense, life for her sort of took off in other directions. I also thought I had set my friendship with a much stronger bond than I now realize.
I now, today, understand that, which is something that I didn’t say in that conversation.
I was naïve. I had set myself up. Sad, isn’t it?
As my friend Valerie once texted me long before this ever happened: “Most of the time things like this happen because of unmet expectations.” Truer words could not have been sent. I had an expectation she didn’t even know I had. How could she have met my expectations that I never verbalized?
Anyway, back to the conversation.
I never texted her or told her anything that was going on during the time my sister was sick. Literally, I never said, “hey, my sister is sick and getting sicker by the moment, I could use a friend.” I believe I sent her a text message once that read “Hey.” She didn’t respond and I stopped any effort after that. I figured she knew why I had reached out since I had posted a status on Facebook. You know, that place everyone goes to catch up on the happenings of life… or so I thought.
I didn’t post much on Facebook around the time my sister was sick and much less about her health. I should have been direct. I should have told her. But alas it’s in the past and only the past would know the outcome of my ‘what if.’
So, I tell her most of what happened and why I was upset all before we pull into the driveway of her friend’s home. We got off, walked up the stairs and into her friend’s home where we spent a few more hours talking about work, life, love and what’s next. Right around sun down she asked if I was ready to leave. We wrap up the conversation and say our goodbyes and off we go again just me and her, so once again I begin to talk, but this time I apologize.
“Listen, I’m sorry to have brought this mood on your birthday.” I continue to babble. “I’m seriously sorry.”
“No, it’s ok… you’re my friend,” she responds.
I’m not sure I believe her, so I continue, “seriously, I’m sorry.”
“No, seriously it’s ok,” she responds again.
I don’t know what to do at this point because I am truly sorry, and I don’t know if I’m being clear about being sorry. So, I stay quiet thinking about how I can make this up to her. But before I can think much or relay another sorry, she says, “so, where do you want to go?” I know she means where do you want to go to talk. So, without skipping a beat suggest a coffee house. We agree to stay close to my house which would be closer to her home anyway. After giving her a few directions, we pull up to a local café. We order a tea and water and find a secluded spot outside.
There we start to talk about what life has been like for the past year. Somewhere in the conversation I tell her, “I’ve never told you my story? Have I?”
“No,” she shakes her head.
“Well,” I begin.
I talked and talked and talked. My soul just poured out carrying every emotion. I want to state this really quick, if you are reading this, I appreciate you. I knew you would listen with no judgement. I knew I could trust you with a piece of my heart. I thank you most profoundly.
So, there I was just in all my vulnerability laying it all out. But there is a piece of my past I want to share with you. Yes, you.
Setting my past ablaze part two.