I haven’t written much in the past year for various reasons, some good, some probably not good. Excluding my recent poem and post on Friendship, my last two posts were in February and December on fairly diametrically-opposed subjects. One was filled with thoughts of love and amazement and hope, and the other was filled with the pain of the end of a friendship I had thought unshakeable. The two posts were not related. The main reason I have been focused in other directions is fairly reasonably laid out in my December post. But recent events have finally convinced me that the love I was chasing—and offering—will be neither achieved nor accepted. I’m still grappling with the pain of it. And a large part of that is due to the nature of how this realisation was given to me: the uncovering of her lies and her speaking “unforgivable” words.
For most of the past year, I have been blessed with feelings of love I have never before experienced (see Timing). It changed me as a person, and I am at this point a better man than I was last year at this time. For that reason (among others) I can feel no true regrets for the events of the past year, though I can certainly regret the outcome. The time and experiences have taught me a lot about myself that I didn’t expect to learn—certainly not in this fashion. I learned to let go of certain bits of hatred and bitterness towards my ex and my ex-boss, because in being filled with love, I had no room for hate. It was a startling revelation, as I hadn’t realised I still hated my ex until I no longer did, and I figured I would always hate my ex-boss (he’s a narcissistic asshole–I seem to run into a lot of them in positions of power).
I learned about acceptance and selflessness. I learned about forgiveness. I learned about inspiration. I learned about so much, and all from interactions with a single person, a person I had come to know as “perfect”, though I knew she was not: though she was flawed, she was just perfect for me. That I also think she’s stunningly gorgeous didn’t hurt, either. She made me feel alive and happy and young and hopeful and appreciated in ways I don’t remember ever feeling before, to the point that my omnipresent depression was mostly just an annoying buzz that could be ignored at will.
But a few months ago, April, she told me that she had been lying to me (and pretty much everyone she knows) and using me for months, and the nature of that lie and revelation could have been devastating to me. I’m still confused as to how it wasn’t. She said she had been doing it to protect my feelings, because she had figured out that I was madly in love with her, but that became hard to believe later on. But we talked it out, and she assured me the cause was no longer required and she agreed for the sake of our friendship not to lie to me or hide such things from me again. A smarter man might have walked away from her then for the betrayal, but there were defensible reasons not to, including some sunk costs, and the fact that I loved her so deeply and completely that it still sometimes scares me. Our friendship recovered…or seemed to, at least…and we spent a lot of time together in various ways, and I revealed the full depth of my feelings for her, partially through poetry I hadn’t yet given to her and some new stuff I now did, plus additional writing besides. And I tried to live my love for her through my actions. I also learned more details of her lies after the fact and learned some other things that I did not make her aware that I knew, as there seemed to be little point: the past was the past.
But some weeks ago, the “unforgivable” words were uttered, shaming words that compared me directly to a past abuser of hers. I was shocked and hurt and confused, because I had never tried to be anything but a source of love and support for her. But my love was not something that fit into her life’s plan, and so a distance grew between us that I would rather have never happened. It was during this period of silence where I was giving her space she indicated that she needed that I was confronted with evidence that she hadn’t changed, that she still was lying to me and would continue to do so, that the reason for the lies still existed, and that she was still going to hide things from me. The lies and betrayal resurfaced, much to my shock.
I’ve never been so shocked as when that evidence slapped me in the face, as though she had done it in reality. Because of the nature of the space I was giving her, she was supposed to write me something in response to my defence of the actions she compared to her abuser, so I didn’t want to confront her before I saw that, to give her the possible chance to come clean and volunteer her story. So I tried to wait for an uncertain, unspecified delivery date. Two days later, the building pressure from that pushed me past a breaking point I hadn’t realised existed, and I…ran away. With no notice, I asked my boss for the week off and went home to visit my family and my new niece. I tried to run from her to deal with my pain, and just as though the universe was twisting the knife, she was the last person I saw leaving work that day. Yes, she’s a co-worker, but we don’t work directly together. (To add insult to injury, the next day, I broke a tooth that’s going to cost me thousands to fix.)
The visit home was good, and I was gradually able to recentre myself. Most of my anger went away, and my love for her kept trying to overwhelm and suppress my other feelings. She texted me one evening that week and suggested we talk when I get back (I surprised her by disappearing unannounced), as she felt her writing skills were not up to the task of writing an actual response to my letter. I agreed, not without trepidation. We had that conversation almost a month ago, and it was both much less and much more than I feared. (Understand that there are a lot of details missing from here, which is contributing to some of my stilted syntax.)
She lied to my face, directly and very specifically, when she didn’t have to. The lie was entirely unnecessary in the context, and the conversation could have been completed “satisfactorily” without that information. Because that information was directly contradicted by the evidence mentioned earlier: photographs from a wedding and the knowledge I have that she doesn’t know I have. But the photographs were visible to her friends on Facebook for a short time, and they’re pretty damning even without my knowledge, so one wonders why she would take that risk. I think in part she’s just gotten so used to lying about this to everyone that she can’t help herself. Despite the fact that the pictures were posed for, taken by someone else, and taken in public. I guess she’s neither as honest nor as smart as I had given her credit for. And then earlier this week, additional, more-innocent visual evidence surfaced that makes the case against her lies and deception yet more damning and longer-running, and she remains silent. And she seems to be carrying a lot of cognitive dissonance in her head to be able to say and do the things she does that seem entirely contradictory to one another, and so I start to wonder if some of the unflattering things that she told me others have called might not actually be true. Which is a horrible thing for me to even think.
I love her still, and I like her personally. I like talking to her and spending time with her. I value her friendship. But now I question if we can actually stay friends, because she’s lost my trust and my respect. But we still have more talking to do, and for the first time in my life, I’m going to be picking a fight with someone. Not just “someone”, but a woman I love and care deeply about…despite everything. Because I need to see her reaction and response. Then, and only then, I might be able to figure out what to do, because right now, I’m more than a little lost and confused.
POSTSCRIPT (some time after writing the above and sitting on it prior to publication): We were supposed to meet and talk more about this, wherein I would confront her, this week, but she had to cancel. I had given her exactly one mental reason where such a cancellation would not result in the instant end to our friendship, and she managed to hit it on the nose. So, we’re going to meet next week instead, and she promises that she will fully block off that evening for me. She seems truly remorseful, but I still have trust issues, despite my soul crying out to be with her. But at least she had the courage to tell me to my face (we went for coffee), and the conversation that didn’t revolve around that future talk was otherwise pleasant, as our conversations almost always are. She seems genuinely concerned about our friendship, which makes this even harder on me. But we’ll see.