It’s easy to say it’s over. The hardest part is finding all the little bits of a relationship and separating them from my life.
One year ago today was one of the happiest days I’ve ever had. It was less than two weeks away from my favourite holiday and I was chatting, once again, with my best friend. It couldn’t get much better, then this happened…
Michelle: (((hugs))) He flat out said, “I like you. Do you want to be my girlfriend?”. I need blatant information like that. Subtlety confuses me.
L: are you asking me to ask you?
Michelle: I’m asking if you’re interested or if I’m just wildly missing something.
L: yes, I am, yes I’m kinda shy, no I don’t want to lose my best friend somehow
Michelle: Aww you’re not losing me (((hugs)))
Michelle: I love you
L: I love you too. Would you do the honour of being my girlfriend?
Michelle: Sure 🙂 Thanks
Suddenly things were a whole lot better. After almost 15 years of being single, I was dating my best friend. Soon we were making plans to get married in Cardiff, followed by a hot air balloon ride overlooking the ocean and pictures at the Doctor Who museum. I even picked out my wedding dress, which needed some alterations and a handful of butterflies but was otherwise perfect for me.
We were going to move to Richmond, England together, which I found a tad poignant seeing as my Mom grew up in Richmond, BC. All my life I’ve lived in the same two cities, both side by side. This was my chance for adventure and I’d be doing it with the one I loved beside me. I just needed to hold on.
That was the hard part. I’d been depressed for over a year and it was getting worse instead of better. Plus I was finding it harder to cope at work. But I needed to hold on… I had to. L couldn’t move to Canada and I needed to be sane and employable to move to England. There wasn’t any other way. I just needed to hold on.
And the more I tried to hold on… the more L stepped back in self preservation… and the deeper I tumbled. I didn’t realize I was holding on too tight. I just knew that I couldn’t let go or else I’d fall. And he let go.
I spun into a free fall of suicidal depression that spring, one that ultimately ended up with me in the hospital. The night I got home, I sent L a letter, begging him for our old friendship back, and got this in return.
“Your idea of being friends is hiding from issues instead of dealing with them or letting them go. I don’t need to have a pretend tea party every time something bad happens, I need to deal with it. I have changed, and you can’t accept that so I guess things will be very quiet for a very long time because you don’t accept the type of grown up friendship I can give – the only type of friendship I can give. take care.”
I was blocked shortly after.
I look back at L’s initial nervous fear that he’d lose his friend and it brings tears to my eyes. He did lose me barely half a year later… and it was of his own free will. I don’t think either of us got what we really wanted. How do relationships end up so tangled anyway?
I’ve been slowly letting go. Changing passwords and secret answers so he no longer was entwined in them. Deleting monthiversary notices off my phone. Removing email addresses, phone number, and his snail mail address from various locations. Taking the charm off my keychain… the one I kept there to remember him by. Putting away the postcard he mailed me so I could see his favourite cafe. Removing… deleting… hiding. And now it’s been one year.
The last connecting piece was L’s blog. He started blogging before me and I was one of his first followers (just as he was one of mine). I’d tried to unfollow him before but he wasn’t on my list of email follows. It wasn’t until now that I realized I’d have to log out of my blog in order to remove him. Deleting him reminded me of all the times we spent working on blog posts simultaneously, sharing in the excitement of posting and seeing the stats go up as people read.
And it’s now done. I don’t want to be that person, the one who won’t let go long after a relationship is over. I loved him, and I miss him as a friend, but it just plain didn’t work out.
Someone we both know assured me that if our friendship was meant to be, we’d find each other again and, hopefully, we’ll have kept up with each other. All I can do, in that case, is hope he keeps up because 2016 is almost over and my 2017 is going to be fabulous.