Saturday, October 17, 2009
That's her on the left. I've known Maria now probably over ten years. She was a waitress/bartender at a now-closed dump that was my home away from home. At some point in the mid-2000s we became closer — just as friends, never in any other way — and she became one of the most important people in my life. It's still hard for me to believe that we fell out so fast and so concretely for 13 months.
It was July, 2007. The details of the actual incident aren't worth getting into here. I guess you could say we had differing opinions over a certain matter (come to think of it, I suppose that's what a "falling out," is, or at least stems from). At the time I had plans to go out of town for a while, and Maria's sister (also a close friend) said, "Don't worry. By the time you get back she'll probably be all like, 'I miss Evan!'" Don't read this to think I'm putting it all on her. It takes two to be stupid.
I came back from my trip and jumped right into the fall '07 semester. The Maria thing still gnawed at me, but I didn't reach out, and neither did she. We were also living in completely different worlds at the time. She was tending bar, and I was in school. It's easy to be stubborn when you're not forced to interact with the person you're having trouble with and work things out.
As the semester wore on things just got worser and worser. I dropped one class, withdrew from another, and got a sympathy C- in the only one I stuck with. It was a miserable time all around. The Maria thing wasn't the cause of all this (lord no), but it didn't help things either. And still, neither of us reached out to the other.
I remember at one point in the fall there was a social function I attended at which I expected Maria to be a guest. I had this fantasy in mind that we would look at each other, smile, hug, and put it all behind us. She wasn't at the function. And still, I didn't reach out to her.
I don't know how many dreams I had about her. Some of them were really nice, where we would get together and we'd say all the right things and it would feel so good — and then I'd wake up. We hadn't reconciled. It was just a dream. And still, neither of us reached out to the other.
I ended up cutting my whole social scene out of my life. It wasn't just Maria I wasn't seeing, it was her sister, and everybody else. What was I thinking? Oh, I wasn't.
By August 2008 I couldn't take it anymore. I had to end this, regardless of what would happen, whether we'd be friends again, acquaintances, or maybe she wouldn't want anything to do with me at all. I don't know now many times I scrutinized the email before I pushed "send."
She was thrilled to hear from me. All this time she thought I hated her. Likewise, I thought all that time she hated me. It turns out we both had miserable years, but hers was coming around. Mine was too, but maybe in a slower fashion. She said that she had been talking to her sister about reaching out to me when my email came.
I don't know how many lessons I learned from this experience. I know one of the most important ones is that you're never too old to be stupid.
I think if I wrote out any of the other lessons I learned, they would come out as cliché — even if they are true.
Posted by EMC at 19:43