Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Stick, a Club, an Olive Branch

I’ve written and deleted this post a dozen times in the past year. Hard to believe it’s taken that long. Feels like a century. All these different versions, different stages of grief. It finally dawned on me—there will never be the right words. All I can do is speak from my heart and hope you’ll listen.

I miss our friendship. I miss being able to talk to you about life and TV and travel. We used to laugh and drink all night, never missing a beat. Now, every conversation is tense. There’s this wall between us. We ignore the elephant in the room, or we fight about it. Those are the only options. “Agreeing to disagree” just means we stop speaking to each other. For God’s sake, we even argue about the weather. It’s no way to live. My stomach is in knots. I can’t sleep at night. I lie awake, trying to figure out what went wrong. In a million years, I never imagined us here, treating each other like strangers.

© 2017 Alison R. Lockwood
We used to be better than friends. We had each other’s backs—would have died for each other, right? If opposites attract, that’s what made us good together, our differences. You were the strong, silent type. I was the talker. You made me feel safe. I made you laugh. Together, we could take on the world. What happened to us? When did we start hating each other? It’s the same fight, over and over. I’m too trusting. You’re not trusting enough. Round and round we go, as if one of us will finally cave, given the right argument. After all this time, shouldn’t we know better? This is who we are. Neither one of us is wrong. We’re just different.

I’m tired of fighting. Aren’t you? This is the part where I say, “Let’s shake and leave our hurts in the past,” except that our fingers would be crossed behind our backs. Too much damage has been done. Lord knows, I can carry a grudge like a sherpa. To be honest, I’m still so mad at you sometimes, I can’t see straight. The choices you made—I’ll never understand. I thought I knew who you were. But that’s just me, getting up on my high horse again. It’s a bad habit. We both did what we thought was right at the time. What’s done is done. If I stay angry over something that happened months ago, it only hurts me. It’s wasted energy. Solves no problems. There are a million ways to help in the world, and being bitter isn’t one of them.

You and I, we’ve had so many good years together. All the hard times, the struggles, the tears—they made us stronger, not weaker. I refuse to believe our best days are behind us. Sure, we’re going through a rough patch now, but that’s no reason to throw in the towel. We have never been cowards. That was never our problem. We’re stubborn, yes, and we’d rather die than admit a mistake. “Go to hell” is a lot easier to say than “Stay and help me fix this.” With everything else going on in the world, we should be holding on tight to each other. Friendship like ours is rare. We’re fools if we throw it away.

At some point, we’ll have to put down our phones and talk. Really talk. No more of this distant, polite chitchat. I can’t take it anymore. Be honest with me. What are your goals and dreams for the future, and how do I help you get there? It’s that simple, and that hard. We both want the same things in life: to be loved, respected, safe. Free to be ourselves. I love you, no matter who you voted for. Let’s move on.

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