Sunday, January 14, 2007

A painful past comes rushing back...

The concept of completely eliminating people from one's life seemed foreign to me about 3 years ago. Sure, there had been occasions when I have thought that I'd like to forget about people who have hurt me, but the idea of forgetting a past, and cutting relationships and all ties just doesn't make sense, or really seem all that possible. At least not treating it as if its as simple as the flip of a switch. One day we're friends and share a history. The next we aren't and we don't.

Since then, two people have done just that to me. (Yes, the thought that this has something to do with me has crossed my mind, but I'm not about to get into that now.)

There is a reason I'm bringing this whole topic up today, so stick with me...

1. A guy I dated for a month or two in high school, but remained friends with. The dating thing was never going to work out, but he was a nice guy. Even though he lived on the other side of town, about 2 years after we quit dating, he ended up buying a house a block away from my parents, and moving in with his girlfriend. We ran into each other in the neighborhood on occasion. My brother helped mow his lawn. I was there the day his dog was hit by a car, and drove him to the vet as he made the decision to euthanize her. A few months later, I got an email from him talking about how his relationship with his girlfriend made it impossible for us to remain friends or even talk. A quote from the email, which shocked me so much I don't know that I'll forget it for a long time... "As I no longer want to have to speak your name to anyone, if you see me or my car, please just go on by like I don't exist and I will do the same." As much of a shock as it is to hear something like that, I was lucky enough to have people in my life who could think objectively about it, and realize that the whole situation was absurd and I was better off not having to deal with it, and what a great door he provided me by which to let myself out gracefully.

While hearing things like that is like getting hit in the head with a brick, it was almost easier than this...

2. There was a guy I had been friends with for as long as I could remember... literally. We started going to daycare together when we were three. He was my best friend for a long time. One of those where you can go for months when you talk everyday, and then go for a month without talking, but when you do, it's as if you didn't miss a thing. We went to daycare, elementary, middle, and high school together, and both ended up at the UW, where we remained friends. Until about our third year in school. There was the email he didn't reply to. The phone calls he didn't answer, and voice mails that wouldn't be returned. Then there was the days where we'd walk right past each other on the street or between classes, and it was as if I'd passed a total stranger. This was more of the unspoken end of a relationship, where you never really know what's going on or why it's happening. It's been probably 4 years since we actually talked, after 17 years of solid friendship.

Don't get me wrong here. Neither of these relationships are things that keep me up at night, or that I think about on a daily basis... at least not anymore. Of course, for awhile, it was all I could think about.

In a pretty scary way, both of these guys came rushing back into my life in a small way this weekend, and sadly brought all these feelings of confusion and rejection with them.

Guy 1 came back earlier today, at of all places, a Bridal/Wedding Expo. I had arranged to meet Nicole, mom, and Gina there to plan all things Nicole and Justin. As I was waiting for them outside the entrance, who walks by but 1. with aforementioned girlfriend (apparently now fiance), and two moms. As tempted as I was to walk up to him, introduce myself to her, and catch up with what's been going on the past year and a half, I resisted. It took me awhile to get over having him in my life, and it was so important for me to not let him slip in again anymore than the situation required. Seeing him there was tough enough. Talking, or doing anything stupid would have made things even more difficult. But blogging about the whole thing is a little therapeutic...

About 18 hours earlier, I was going to dinner with my family at Paisans in Madison (the new one for all of you Badgers out there - with University Square being torn down, they moved to Wilson St. and now have a lot more space, the same cool booths, and lake views now! Check it out if you have the chance!). The place was packed, but as we headed into the bar to wait for our table, I saw a table full of familiar faces. Three girls from high school, along with guy 2. It was obvious they saw me walk in, so I knew I had to make a stop at their table and at least say hi, as ackward as it would be. Thankfully the three girls were there, as I was able to keep most of the conversation with them, but was able to make myself look at him twice, and even ask him a question (granted, it was the "what are you doing now?" question that was making its way around the table, and it would have been terribly obvious had I not asked him). I tried to be as graceful as I could, but kept things to a minimum, and quickly made my way back to catching up with my brother... who is someone who as much as he sometimes may want to, I am confident will never forget about me completely.

Strangely, even though the situation with guy 2 was harder, more mind-boggling, and hurt the most when the relationship was ending, it was easier to see him than it was guy 1. Maybe because 2 did hurt so much, I was able to process everything completely, and get through what really is a grieving process, which I may not have totally done with guy 1. That may be exactly why this post was so on my mind, and so necessary....

1 comment:

tracydukefan said...

hey you - i hate these moments. good for you for keeping your boundaries...it's their loss!!