The holidays make me feel more sentimental than normal, which is unusual because I’m not a very sentimental person. I don’t get attached to things. But this time of year tends to give a touch of the feels and I start to reminisce about years past and the people that speckled my memories. Sometimes I catch myself accidentally smiling from a cute fun memory, or feeling especially warm towards other people because of a shared experience.
I knew someone from years ago who was a part of my life during a period that was really hard. I’ve talked about an event that happened to me when I was a teen, let’s say late 90’s, that pretty much defined who I am. It changed me in a way that I would never be the same. And this person was very much a part of that time and one of the few people who knew about it. We were close in a way that I have not experienced with any other person, both by blood and friendship. This was a person who “got me” and understood me, even as a brooding teen and frustrated young adult. We grew up together, both literally and figuratively.
In the years since that time we grew apart. I moved away. I have now lived in Texas for longer than I ever lived anywhere else. (time to move, I think!) So physical distance, and then emotional distance. Life gets busy and we went on different paths. We talked less. And less. But we had similar regular contacts and Facebook so I kinda “knew” what they were up to. They look happy. I hear that they are happy.
Not long ago we did get caught up. I was excited to rekindle our friendship and was hopeful that maybe we could get back to the closeness we had before. Admittedly, I missed my friend. They carried a piece of me that I couldn’t always carry myself. But after talking it became pretty clear that they had a different memory of that time. It was perplexing to me, because I was certain we had gone through it together, though it had obviously shaped us oddly alternatively and shattered my feelings about that time and that person who I thought they used to be.
It’s been weeks and I haven’t spoken to that person. Whenever I think about them I just feel empty and invalidated. I feel a little lost about it, because I’m not sure how we could feel so differently. How we shared the same experiences but have these very different, and very intense emotions regarding it.
And I’m sad because we aren’t close anymore. My stomach is sick over it. I mourned that my friend isn’t a part of my life and frankly, felt a little betrayed by it. That we are only acquaintances and this person who knew about this horrific defining experience, who held my hand, and cried with me, and was closer to me than everyone else in my life is basically just someone that I used to know.
With each day I can toss those feelings a little further back in my mind and it hurts less and less. I can’t let myself dwell on it. I don’t talk about feelings much. In fact, I try not to have them. But I just had to get this out.