My dear old friend,
For so long I have resisted writing this. I guess writing it would make it real, concrete. And for so long I haven’t wanted to believe it was real.
The end of our friendship, as you know, came at the worst possible time for me. But of course that’s irrelevant to you - whatever happened to our dynamics in the lead up to the demise of Us was as much about you as it was about me. Who you thought you had to be, who you thought you were becoming. How you thought you had to change everything to fit in to the world you craved.
These are all just assumptions, of course, because I do not know you anymore. The person I knew would never have been the person you became. But then how much did I really know about you, anyway? I knew you for a moment in time, when you needed me. I confused that need with unconditional love, and that is my fault alone.
So really, the ripple effect of you dropping out of my life was, in so many ways, my responsibility. I needed you too much, I leant too far. I confused myself with you and lost myself in you. I didn’t learn my lesson the first time around so history repeated itself and knocked me over. And I had to learn this lesson to be the person I was meant to be - to be stronger, wiser, better. Losing you was one of the best things to ever happen to me.
But for so long it didn’t feel like that. I was so madly in love with our friendship that I would have done anything for it, died for it even. I was attached, and it was completely unhealthy. And I look back on it now and I think, god did I have it wrong. But perspective is only gained through experience, and at the time, you were the brother I never had, the other half I longed for and the friend I had always thought I needed.
Our conversations felt as though they came from another world, all wrapped up in magic and chemistry and wine and cigarettes. You would come around because you needed me, and coming from a world where I had been so discarded, like a crumpled up piece of paper that didn’t had the answer it was looking for, that need was everything.
I also fell for you, you know, and your charm and your pretence of friendship. It never occurred to me that perhaps it was always about you, about filling the hole that you were afraid of. It never occurred to me that the love you claimed you had for me was actually a need, and once you filled it elsewhere you would have no use for me anymore. It never occurred to me that perhaps you did not know how to love.
I know see that this is characteristic of who you are as a human being, not me. But in the past few months of haze and confusion I was absolutely convinced it was me. That I was unlikeable, unloveable, and that’s why you left Us. That I had done something to make you not want to be around me anymore, and I needed to change.
But I couldn’t. I didn’t know how. And I hated myself for it.
So I lost them and then I lost you, and it was all the same really. You were clumped up together like a ball of toxicity - terrible for me but I wanted you all anyway. I now look back on our friendship, just as I look back on me and them, and I see all the warning signs, signalling a disaster in the making. The way you treated me, like I was an abandoned puppy who would do anything for your affection, even if you left me alone on the street without shelter. And in many ways I was, and in many ways you did. You even called me this, in what was to become Stage One of The End of Us.
We can only ever find people who reflect back to us what we see in ourselves, so it’s not your fault that the loss wreaked so much havoc in its aftermath, that the hurricane happened in a place that did not have the resources to deal with it. I was Haiti and you were Sandy, and I just hope that Haiti builds the resilience that I did. But you can’t blame Sandy for sweeping through, because that’s what Sandy was made to do. And I don’t blame you, not for how badly the loss affected me. I don’t blame the loss itself, either, or me for that matter. This is just the way it had to happen, so I could learn.
I have been angry at you, though, and at God, and at life, because anger is part of the process of grief, of renewal. The loss crushed my insides and it splintered my heart, like a dagger through a wound that hadn’t yet healed. I lost my best friend and I lost my confidante, so I made one up. I assumed you hated me so I assumed the world hated me, because you were the one who knew me better than they did. I beat myself up to be someone else because you abandoned the person I was. I waited for you to wake up, to see that you had made a mistake, but a reckoning never came. I gave you chance after chance but you never took it. I had lost you, yes, and lord knows I did not want to.
I was ready and willing to be used by you because I had no respect for myself. I get it now. We were two forces waiting to collide, two chemicals that sat well together for a while but left too long were destined to explode. All my issues collided with yours in a great fucking novel, an epic story of love and loss and the limitations of humankind.
You will always have a place in my heart and I wish you all the best in your life, but you will never be back in mine. Well, never say never - but you will never be back in mine as the person you are now. Perhaps you will change, grow, become better. I hope so. But I don’t expect it, and I’m not looking forward to it. I see what happened to you, but you do not. And that, finally, is not my responsibility to change.
But the person you were - that is the person I will miss. The one who was not yet blinded by the lights, who had not yet lost himself in such a colossal way. But that person is alive in so many memories, in my wedding album and in my heart, which is perhaps the last place he will survive. People change and the chemicals that make them up transform into something new, and those people will find other people to love them, to fill the hole that others used to. But darling, until you realise that you have to fill up that hole yourself, you will always lose.
We are here to teach each other, and I am grateful for that. I am grateful for you, and for all the many lessons you gave me. I bid you farewell, and I hope your way is paved with lessons that you, too, are willing to learn.
All my love,
(written February ‘13)