May 25, 2007 and October 11, 2006
I am a man so dying of thirst whereupon a simple drink of water does not help, but tastes oh so good.
When you harbor a crush for as long as this, you understand the futility of the waiting, and yet you are unable to do anything about the feeling. Hope becomes your enemy. Even as you come to terms with the situation and you realize that you are in an exercise of futility, you move on and move forward, but the slightest thing can make it all cascade back.
I liken it to trying to build a tower with dry sand. You can push it together into a mound but as you try to build it higher, you have to be very careful to scoop sand onto the mound or it will come cascading down.
The woman I love doesn’t even exist any more. We have drifted over time and gone our separate ways.
I love a memory, a ghost of a memory, a remembrance of what once was and what could have been. I try to move on and find happiness in the day, but it is not easy.
“You look different.”
“So do you.”
“Yeah, I am older, fatter and more tired. You, you…”
“I had my breasts done, and then I lost some weight and had some other stuff done.”
“You look good.”
“You were never really good at lying.”
“Not to you.”
“You are disappointed.”
“Well, I always thought you were beautiful already.”
“I needed it.”
“Do you feel better?”
“Then that is what counts. Are you the same person inside?”
“I don’t know… no, not the same, a little less.”
“Me too. Life didn’t turn out quite the way I thought it would.”
“For a long time life ate away at me and I had to learn to fight it. Somewhere along the line I lost more than I gained.”
“Simply waiting for you has left me with more days of longing than happiness.”
“Life took it’s toll and I worked to erase it.”
Let me explain…
When I first met you, you weren’t wearing a wedding ring and for the longest time I didn’t know you were married, really. I just knew I found someone I could talk to easily, who knew what I was talking about because you were near my age (that is no small thing by the way, younger people don’t have the same perspective).
It wasn’t until the regional meeting that I heard something about mother’s day while at dinner when you were explaining that you had glitter on you.
We were talking a lot then, and it was easy to have a crush on you. I just thought I had found the most amazing person. You were under my skin before I ever found out that you were married.
So I figured that I would just have an amazing friend, which we have shared this friendship for some time. And while I admit I have nursed the continued crush, I had intended to tell you when I saw you next – only that was when you started to drift away and we didn’t see each other in Miami.
You then shared you troubles with me, briefly, and I thought it would be inappropriate to say anything.
Even in the ever widening silence, you have been an important part of my life. I don’t want to lose you as a friend.
So why do I bring this up so many years later? I continue to have feelings for you and they have been problematic in dating, especially recently, having met someone. She is the first person I have met that I talk to like I used to talk to you. The problem is that she is 23 and doesn’t understand things like you did. So I am writing this in confusion, wishing that we had had a chance and feeling like it was meant to be in the next life. I realize you never asked for any of this and this is probably something else you would rather not deal with right now, but I just turned 36, and I can’t move on without at least telling you this. There is a part of me that would still choose you over anyone, wishful thinking that gets me hurt.
I remain your devoted friend and will continue to write you and wait for your friendship to return. When we are old I want to be able to talk to you like the old days. I don’t know if you ever read Wedding Days, it is the last story in the present I sent you last year. I started the story before I met you, and Richard was named Richard years before, but the story has a happy ending because I met you. I remain vigilant hoping for you to call and resume our friendship – if you should want to reach me you know I will always be here.
You always made me feel good about myself “The Chen” made me laugh. I don’t get enough of that in life. I don’t know what is going on with you, it is your life. I just know you are a part of my life still and I don’t know what to do. In the end I will just deal with it.
I am writing a short story called Sweethearts about things that weren’t meant to be.
My dear dear friend, you are missed. I should have written you long ago.
A heartfelt Christmas to you.
First, I want you to know I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know. But my life right now is unbelievably complicated. I am still married, though the marriage will probably end this coming year. My marriage has been on the rocks almost since it began. I am doing everything possible to ensure that I can support my kids and myself in our current lifestye. I just started my own company which took quite a bit of money. I am working from 8am till well into the night most days. I think I have been in some sort of depression for quite a while now – and exhausted constantly pretending like everything is great. I am constantly listening to motivational uplifter type CDs – doing my best to keep myself on track.
I am emotionally drained – no, exhausted. I do not, nor will I want another relationship for a long time to come. I have become bitter and angry about relationships and know that to become emotionally healthy again it will take alot of time.
You need to be dating girls that are like you, haven’t been married, don’t have any kids, aren’t jaded. You need to find someone you can share all those wonderful exciting new adventures with. Yes, 23 is young – but that’s not a bad thing!
I know exactly what you are saying- we can talk about anything. We have so many similarities and shared interests. And it is so rare to find that in another human being. And I am so flattered and appreciative of what you put in the email. That took alot of courage – another wonderful characteristic to add to your many.
I wish I had the emotional or intellectual capacity to resume our friendship – I just don’t/can’t right now. I know I missed your birthday, and I will miss wishing you a Merry Christmas probably too. But when the angst of the holidays subsides, you will be in my thoughts again – and you will hear from me.
I wish I could say something other than what I’m saying. I’m wrong for you. All wrong for you. TRUST ME when I tell you this!
And finally I wish I could take more time to reply to your email – this just doesn’t do it justice. I’m sorry for that, and I’m sorry I haven’t been here for you.
But as your friend, I need to be a little straight and to the point now: you need to be looking for a great girl that hasn’t been married and has no kids… someone educated and funny and who will truly appreciate you. That is your mission for 2006. When you put your mind to something you do it. Make it so.
I am sorry for not writing back right away. I wanted to think a little before writing.
First, please understand that I did not mean to put you in an awkward place. I am very cognizant of the fact that you are in flux and have been for some time. In fact, it is the very reason I have not talked to you about my feelings for you for so long.
I have enormous respect for your situation and what you are trying to accomplish. You have always been an inspiration of strength and vulnerability to me – humanity that makes me want to be more.
You are a tremendous person and it angers and hurts me to think that you have to cope with such hardship, or any hardship. I recognize though, that it is life and I know that you will persevere.
You say I am courageous for sharing my feelings, but I am not. You will never know how many trees have sacrificed themselves for letters never sent to you. You will never know the quiet times where I simply wonder how you are.
My feelings are secondary to the friendship we share. I hope you know that. There is a strength between us that does not require constant maintenance, nor contact. I knew from the moment I met you, that you were significant in my life, whether as my life long friend or any thing else, it was not important. I just knew you were more than a passing acquaintance.
The very first time we met, my presentation did not impress you. I distinctly remember looking up your evaluation and you correctly said that I didn’t provide anything concrete to help pre-college. Imagine how I felt to think that the most exciting person in the room was not impressed . You asked for a rankings report for pre-college, it took me a year to get it.
On some pretext a year later, I walked back from the Barbri event to see you and let you know that I did not forget the report. The look on your face of “are you kidding” is how I like to think of as the first time we met. I think that because of the kindred similarities between us, the sense of justice, remembering was important.
(Look at me, a page in and I have not even said what I want to say. Conciseness is not a strength of mine (we once talked about how we didn’t write short emails ).
I know you are not in a place of relationships, I would not ask that of you. I had planned to wait until you were in a good place before sharing any of this with you, but life is not always story book. And even then, I have always known that time with you was unlikely.
Don’t laugh at me, but I can’t help but feel that we must have been something more in a previous life or in a future life, because I have never met anyone so close or kindred. There is a bit of anger in that to have almost met the right person seems unfair. But in the years, I have accepted that perhaps we were meant to pass in this life and the blessing is the friendship that we have for having met one another.
I said earlier that ours is not a friendship that requires maintenance. I know that if we should not talk for 10 years and you were to call the intervening years would not matter between us. You say that you don’t have the intellectual nor emotional capacity to resume our friendship. That is okay. I want you to know that it doesn’t diminish our friendship. It doesn’t change the fact that you are important to me. It doesn’t hurt, there is no guilt or obligation. Friendship – friendships like ours, are stronger than relationships or life itself okay? I know I get melodramatic, but hear me out. If I find someone in life who is not you, they will have to understand the importance friendship has for me and the importance you have to me – that may limit who I find, so be it.
Getting to brass tacks.
Holidays are difficult for you, as they are for me. You know that I understand. You know that you will never need to pretend everything is great for me. You know that whatever you need to do, I understand. You know I will do anything to help you.
You make Tia and Tristan’s lives as precious and perfect as you can, and that takes an enormous amount out of you. You run till you are past fumes and push yourself some more. I will not tell you how you need to take care of yourself – though you do – because your motivations are pure, and it is what I would do. I am not surprised you are depressed. I know how that feels too. It is a struggle and a background presence that permeates the day and rears its head when you let it. I work for therapy. I will have to try CDs . You ever feel down, need someone to tell you you are doing right and it is worth it, that you are amazing, text me a “I’m down” message and I will remind you of the truth and what an amazing person you are.
You have started your own company, is it still in real estate? Are you still connected to Dadeco? The start up cost was significant. Can I help in anyway?
I am sorry you feel bitter and angry. I am sorry you feel jaded. You should never have had to feel that way. The present is all you can live for, that is what I learned recently. The aunt in Pollyana was jaded, but they lived happily ever after. You deserve happiness.
You say you need time to become emotionally healthy again. You need to take that time. If it is years or months or just time, you need to find it to be healthy. You are working relentlessly now. Do take a minute or two to look up at the sky and remember that you are alive.
You say you are wrong for me. I don’t see it that way. We – We, have not been given the time, and as I said before, all that means is that the blessing is our friendship. For any faults or situations, it is you that I value, not what you may feel you are.
It is depth of connection that makes us friends. Our connection may never be meant to be anything more, but I won’t presume to guess.
I will find my way. I promise you. It may be that timing will elude us again, but maybe when we are eighty we can spend some remaining time together, and I will feel blessed.
I will always be your friend. I will always have an ear to listen. I will always have a hand to help. I will always be right here, just in case you can’t do it on your own. “Our friendship is stronger than any relationship or even life itself.”
There is a nice present in that box. Please open it.