The Friday Confessional : I Loved You More

When Xan and I were getting together, I once wrote in a journal, “What’s the difference between a best friend and a lover?”  The only answer I could muster was, “The fact that they aren’t physically intimate.  That’s about it.”  Not that two people aren’t attracted to each other, but that two people were not being sexual.  It was the only hard and fast line I could define.

Even that line begins to blur at some point.

I had my first kiss at thirteen.  It was New Years Eve and we were sitting up on a snow covered roof with a friend.  We were close together, wrapped in a blanket for warmth.  We all were talking about life and love, and it was so silent outside besides our own voices.  Suddenly, the world burst to life with people shouting and pots and pans banging.  Our friend started to hoot and holler.  I looked at my friend, and had so many fond, but conflicted feelings.

That’s when my best friend put her hands on my face and kissed me deeply.

We were the best of friends for over a year at that point.  In that year, I began to become symptomatic.  She was my confidant, and I poured my heart and soul out to her in the early hours of many a Saturday morning.  Her hugs were the warmest and tightest, the kind that brought a person back from the brink and back down to Earth.  She rooted me, and often became the sole reason I didn’t slash my wrists right there and then.

Her parents were divorcing at the time.  She was forced from her family home into a tiny apartment with her mom.  Her mom started working, so we had a lot of time alone.  Somehow, we both managed to date guys, but we never really had boyfriends.  I always had strange feelings for her.  I kept them to myself, because bi-curiousity was not encouraged in my area.  I didn’t want to be that weirdo that had a lesbian crush on her.

It turned out that she had the same feelings.  She was never one for expressing herself through words, so she just went for the kiss.  I was shocked, and didn’t know what to make of it.  Was it for the shock value in front of our friend?  We were so known for that.  Anything to shake it up, or make people laugh.  We were an entertaining pair.

The next day, in the confines of my bedroom, over a cigarette, we talked.  She was serious.  She had been waiting for the perfect opportunity to kiss me and make it count.  There was no other way she could get it across to me.

And truthfully, I fell in love with Kat.  I wrote in a journal once, “She was the first person I really fell in love with.  No confusion between a best friend and a lover.”   At that age, I can see the confusion.  But, it’s more than fifteen years later, and I still feel the same way.  I loved her.  I didn’t care that she was a female.  I loved everything about her.  I loved her fire.  Her art was intoxicating.  There’s still one piece that I’ve been attempting to replicate for years.  But, I’m not her.  I don’t have that kind of talent.

We complimented each other.  I was a writer and a musician at the time.  She was an artist.  I would write things and she would illustrate them as if she was in my head.  She always knew what was in my heart and on my mind.  We stole kisses in the night and behind buildings.  We shared my twin bed to sleep in on the weekends.  I never thought it was strange, even before we were together.

Together, in italics, meaning we were secret.  Therefore, we were never really defined.  I never understood the rules of our relationship, and I still can’t make sense of them today.  We were part-time lovers, apparently.  Eventually, friends and family started to get suspicious, because we stopped dating boys and dedicated all of our free time to one another.  So, she hatched a plan.

“I’ll date this boy and you date his friend.”

It would have been a perfect cover if things had gone according to plan.  These boys lived towns away, and without cars, it was difficult to maintain anything beyond a phone relationship.  Her and her boyfriend had a passionate, but turbulent relationship.  I was starting to get confused about who she had affections for anymore.  I’d ask, and she’d reassure me.  But, there were times where she’d push me away.  She was constantly breaking up with the both of us and getting back together with the other, when she wasn’t trying to manage the both of us.

Eventually, the boy and I grew closer.  And one night, he admitted his love for me.  I had longed for him and his kindness, being so jealous of her and him and not having that affection.  I confessed my own love and longing, and that was the day we called our anniversary for the next four years.  We had only a month before I finally gave in and told her.

Something strange happened.  I went away on a long summer vacation after that.  When I returned, she contacted me telling me she missed me.  And we were back on until the late autumn.  On a icy November morning, she was silent with me.  We used a singular computer to type back and forth to one another.  She asked me to choose between the two of them.

“It’s not fair,” the print on the screen read back to her.

“I’m not changing my mind.  You can’t have us both.”

“I have to choose him.  I love you.  I’m sorry.”

Things weren’t the same after that.  We tried to go back to being just friends, but I could see the agony in her eyes.  As far as I was concerned, she made her choice when she stepped out on me the first dozen times.  I was just finalizing it for her.  Several months later, she set me up to get in trouble, and it was the perfect cover for her to duck out on me.

I remember that Friday in March, two days after everything had thrown down.  She always rode my bus home with me, because we were going to babysit down the street.  I knew I wasn’t included anymore.  She gave me what was coming to me for all of the horrible things I had done to her.  I had hoped that there would be some redemption. She sat behind me, and I turned around to talk to her.  She ignored me, like I wasn’t even there, and went prattling on to a mutual friend sitting beside her.

I had become a ghost to her – to everyone who had anything to do with the both of us.  It had been like this at the lunch table, in our classes.  My life was stolen from me, and I deserved it.  I told her so, and begged her to talk to me.  She finally faced me and refused.  “I’ve had enough.  I’ve taken so much from you in the last two years.  You are dead to me.  Don’t talk to me again.”

I was confined to my room after the incident, so I just isolated myself to my bed.  I went to bed early and woke at dawn.  I looked up and out my window into the never ending grey sky.  And I said aloud, “If I hadn’t done any of this, she would be beside me right now.”

Later, I wrote a letter to her in my journal to say goodbye.  And I wrote, “In the end, after everything, I just wanted you to know that I always loved you more than anyone.”

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20 Day Challenge – Day 11

10 Persons I Can’t Live Without

The following ten people are people who exist in my real life. No offense to my blogging lovelies, this list could go on for miles. I had to put a limit on it, so I’ve limited it to those people in my real life that I have close to daily contact with.

  1. Xan:   Truly the light of my life.  He is all that I am and all that I am not.  I wrote Possibility and Ascension, and more recently, Clarity of Chaos for him.  He’s my best friend.  He’s my family.  He’s my husband, partner, and my soul twin.  Simply, I love him more than all of the words in the universe could proclaim.
  2. Beast:   Some mornings, Beast is the sole reason I get out of bed.  He encourages me to strive to be a better person, each and every single day of my life.  He is my darling, my baby boy.  He is my pride and one day, he will be my legacy.  It is up to me to be his mother.  And that means, I will wake up every single day, pull myself together, and if I do nothing else, I will be his mother the best that I can.
  3. MIL:   She is a friend, a mentor, and though maybe not maternal, a mother for sure.  She is always concerned, and is quick to respond in an emergency.  She’ll do anything to see that everything turns out alright.  She is generous and kind.  MIL is one of those women that will take a call from me at 3AM, and she has no obligation to do so.  She has given me so much advice and perspective into womanhood.  She’s positive, even if she’s racked with anxiety.  She can spread her positivity to others, and make them feel better about things.  She’s a nurse too, so she is good at taking care of other people.  She genuinely cares.  And I genuinely care for her.
  4. FIL:  He is a man that gets things done. He is full of wisdom and experience that he is eager to lend.  He wants to see everyone be the best person that they can be.  FIL is never hesitant to lend a hand, or even to go as far as to bail me out of a jam.  He never expects anything in return.  FIL is a true man, a man who has worked hard to become a self made person, but is still sensitive to the needs of others.  He always makes sure that we’re taken care of.  And, I feel he’s the best father-in-law that a woman could ever have to be a huge part of her family and life.
  5. Starr:  Starr is a relatively new friend to me, but still just as important, if not more important than others I’ve had in my life for many years.  Starr has shown me nothing but the strength and pride of being a woman.  She is absolutely, strikingly beautiful, and it’s hard for people not to notice her.  For most women, this would flare the green eyed monster.  For me, I am inspired.  I don’t even think she knows how strong and beautiful she is, like wild horses.  She is willful and wonderful, deep and insightful.  She’ll read this, and maybe not know who I’m referring to.  So I’ll leave her with this: “I get my disability check and POW!  It’s down to pant n’at!”  She’s a loyal and fierce friend, and I hope to have her in my life for many years to come.
  6. Dill:   Another newer friend, but Dill is one of those people that you can’t help but feel an instant connection to.  Dill doesn’t judge, and he shows me that life doesn’t have to be as serious as a heart attack.  Life is meant to be lived.  He has reinforced the lesson that age is seriously just a number, and the right frame of mind with enough willpower is all you need to live a good life.  And that’s exactly what he’s all about.  Happiness, beauty, and living a wonderful, peaceful life.
  7. Ruby:   Oh, my lovely.  I really cannot say what a lovely this woman has been to me.  Ruby feels like a part of my family, like an older sister I never had.  She has listened to me in my best triumphs and my worst bits of insanity.  She smiles with me and cries with me.  Everything about her is this chaotic perfection.  Everything fits together in this dialectic beauty.  And that’s her in a nutshell.  She has a beautiful everything.  A lovely soul, a gorgeous face, and the most genuine smile there is.  I want to thank her for being there for me, and being a part of my life.  And taking a chance on a little blonde weirdo from the internets.  LOL.
  8. LaLa:  LaLa, a maternal figure in my life.  I’ve come to feel like LaLa is like a wise, spiritual aunt I never had.  LaLa brings the best of my spiritual side out, giving me faith in the higher power, and reminders of the greater design.  She’s always been supportive, and has never left my side, even when I’ve been less than a good friend to her.  I want to thank her for her investment in me.
  9. Monday:  I’ve come to see Monday as an aunt as well.  She’s the aunt that is your best friend.  She wants all of the best for you, but will never hesitate to say what’s on her mind.  And that’s the beauty of it.  Sometimes, that’s exactly what you need to hear, because that’s exactly what’s been ringing in the back of your own mind.  She’s brilliant and one tough cookie.  She has proven this time again through her perseverance and stamina.  No matter what gets thrown at her, she’s a survivor of it all.  And she wants nothing more than to lend her experience and will to others.  I’d like to thank her for all of the attention she’s given me in the last year.
  10. Finn:   Last, but not least, Finn.  Finn and I have been friends for longer than my husband and I have even known each other.  Finn is so accepting.  He is another person who has seen me hit that bottom of the barrel.  He has seen me in various states of growth and maturity.  We’ve shared so much together.  And all of that time has bonded us in ways that only time can do.  He’s taken my calls at 4AM, given me advice, and been an intermediary between Xan and I (yes, I know about that).  Thank you for everything you’ve done that I do, and even don’t, know about.

Liz and the In Between : 30 Days of Truth

Part II

Day 10 (Part Two) : Someone you need to let go of, or wish you didn’t know.

Lea and Liz, the first entry, started to describe the nature of relationships I had with my three high school friends. It is the preface for this. In summation, we were a group of best friends, entangled in each others’ lives. Mistakes, grudges, and other forces created huge divides between us, leaving lingering hatreds spanning years.


Liz. My oldest, most cherished, oldest friend. I was ecstatic that we could remain friends, while irked that a thread still connected the camps. But, I couldn’t let something that petty destroy such a long time, deep friendship. I let it fly.

Because, we were the best of friends. I spent most of my summers on her roof or in her tree. Her mother was more of a mother to me than my own. We were on a first name basis, and bummed cigarettes from one another.

Liz knew all of my dirty secrets, and I knew hers. And above the whispers were video games, art projects, and online chatting.

Liz always had this penchant for making me feel inferior. We couldn’t be different people. There she was, sleek and poised, not a hair out of place. Sure, she was curvier than I was, but infinitely better dressed. Her room was immaculate, just as she was. Liz had organizers for her organizers.

She took all of the advanced classes for college credits, and had a perfect average. Her friends were numerous, from all walks, and her enemies zero. Nobody could possibly hate sweet, whispering Liz.

Then, there was me. Frizzy, long, untamed red hair that could rival Medusa. My clothes always had some kind of imperfection, a rip, a snag. A part of me always looked badly patched, as if one loose thread would make it all come apart. My room was a mess, covered in layers of clothes, papers, and books. Nothing seemed to have a proper place.

I took remedial classes, though I was gifted. The pressure of higher courses was too much for me. I was already hardly functioning at the level I was on. (Early symptoms of bipolar disorder). I was tortured and dark; this was no secret amongst the student body. I had no true friends, unless you count the cult entourage. And, I had made a number of enemies.

That was (is?) me, Em. Outspoken, rude, ridiculous, dramatic, vulgar, crass, obscene, crazy Em. I was a one woman show who earned her red A by having sex as a freshman.

I would feel certain tinges of envy from time to time. How come I can’t be so pristine and graceful? Why can’t I get my shit together and live up to my potential? Eventually, I came to find a cozy home in the music wing, while Liz wrestled her way through academia.

Liz was neutral and remained so. She had even gone as far as to remove herself from it entirely when she joined drama club. Naturally, I was dragged into it. I was the only person who could play the sax part, and Liz just wouldn’t leave it alone.

And that’s when we met The Actor. He was a senior when we were sophomores. His personality was larger than life, and he was literally a character. He could be anyone, day to day, effortlessly sliding into natural roles of his everyday life. It was a sight to behold. And Liz was head over heels.

Personally, I felt he was a great guy and all. I was already committed, and The Actor wasn’t my type. But, I seemed to have caught his eye. The Actor wasn’t a man to chase, only one to drop hints and innuendo. I wasn’t totally oblivious, admittedly. I was flattered.

In the time period while working on the fall production, Liz got the nerve to ask The Actor out. She was thrilled when he accepted. But, he never actually took her anywhere. He’d come to her house, they would chat as friends do, and then they’d mess around for awhile. No sex, just messing around.

A few months passed and these became less frequent. Liz finally confronted him and discovered that their encounters were a complete secret. He broke it off “because it didn’t feel right.” Days later, he announced his relationship with a very respected girl in the thespian community.

She was his secret buddy, because he was too ashamed of her.

Her first “boyfriend” was not really that at all. It stung for me to watch that happen. And I detested that boy. Except, she didn’t. She still held out hope and lent her heart to him.

 

The following summer, after that turbulent year, she made an admission to me while sitting on her picnic table during that cool, clear summer night. “I envy you. I’ve envied you for years. You say what you mean, and you mean what you say. You don’t wrap it up in a pretty, little package. And people adore you for it. You are admired by others and fawned over by men.”

“Funny. I envy you. How you are able to have a handle on everything. Everything looks so effortless and natural. You have an air about you that screams refinement, maturity, intelligence. You don’t even have to speak to have people respect you.”

And we laughed. The grass is always greener, right?

Throughout the next year, we made a mutual friend via a MUD. He was a God (administrator), and he took a fancy to us. He was nice. Inside the inn was a secret door that led to private player rooms. And, it was there that much went on behind closed doors. Many things we didn’t immediately exchange between one another.

Eventually, they grew a real life, long distance relationship outside of the MUD. And once that happened, all interpersonal communication between Fox and I stopped.

It was all strange. He was more than twice her age, married, and living several states away. But, I indulged her. Liz had many things, obsessions perhaps, that never came to fruition. It was best to have her hope.

Another year passed. We made a mutual decision to drop out of school and attend a cyber-program. For different reasons. She signed up for three AP classes, and was failing two of them. I warned her it was too much of a course load. Personally, I was bored in remedial classes and felt I was not being challenged.

That spring, that’s when we met him. The man with the alluring accent, and the purring voice. He owned any room he graced his presence with, and one couldn’t help but take notice. His words were wise, insightful, and intelligent. It was prose in every breath and absolutely intoxicating.

It was C.S. Liz was smitten. I was on the fence. (Longer story that will connect later). But who wasn’t immediately striken? Gorgeous beyond words, sophisticated in a way we only saw in college brochures. He had a wise look about him, covered in a beard and a mustache that aged him five years. Most of the boys we knew hardly had chest hair.

We were quick friends. Liz had already committed herself to The Fox, but she admitted, “In the instance that things fall through, there is always the opportunity of a possible normal relationship with C.S.”

Another year, come and gone. Uneventful and irrelevant. We are now to the spring of our senior year. I was newly single. I spent the vast majority of my teen dating years in a committed relationships. I was completely lost at dating.

The Actor had freshly arrived back into town, prepared for his summer away from college. Naturally, he contacted his best girls, Liz and me. Upon finding out my new relationship status (prior to Facebook, we had to rely on word of mouth), he asked me out. I was ambivalent, but I agreed. Maybe I was wrong about him.

No, I was right about him. We went back to his mother’s place and talked. We kissed a little, but there wasn’t anything there. We didn’t click, as nice as he was to me.

I guess this was still a sore spot for Liz. Oops. I had figured that after two years and several short lived boyfriends later, she wouldn’t care. That was the first time we fell out. I profusely apologized and insisted that nothing happened. Voicemail after voicemail. And eventually, I had to stop. It was killing me.

We were speaking again in the fall. Everyone had scurried off to college but us. We were still in transition, attempting to figure out what we wanted to be when we grew up.

An old high school friend of ours reappeared. Raz was always a cool, quirky, kind of awkward guy, but in a cute way. He was fairly popular in certain circles.

In the dead of a September night, he phoned us and insisted we were leaving the state to head to the casino. It was thrilling. I had the most wonderful company, great tunes, and we were embarking on a new journey, sans map.

Miles of highway, and a half a dozen penny slots later, Liz and I stood in a women’s room. She candidly asked me, “Do you think Raz is cute?”

I responded, “Sure, I’ve though so since school. But, you know, I’m involved.”

She ecstatically concurred, “So did I! The Fox and I have been on and off for awhile now.”

You know where this is going.

A couple months later, I was single again, unemployed and crashing on C.S.’s sofa. One day, Raz and Adrienne stopped by rather unexpectedly. There I was, greasy hair in a floppy bun, clad only in an oversized band T-shirt, and a pair of gym shorts, elbow deep in dishwater.

We all gathered and had a lovely visit. The very same night, Raz called. “Would you like to go out on a date? I mean, if you’ve available.” My little teen girl was squealing inside.

“Yeah, that sounds great!” I answered. It was the first time I had been asked on a proper date. I finally felt less like a peace of meat and more like a woman. Proper, respectable.

It was another blunder of mine, apparently. By date three, Liz was not speaking to me again. She used some lame excuse, but it was pretty transparent. Even after Raz and I concluded our brief relationship, Liz was still silent. And by now, I was pretty pissed at her petty reactions every single time I dated a guy she was interested in.

My birthday broke the silence. And in another month, I received a call asking for her blessing on taking Raz up on an offer for a date. Whatever. I was laying on a futon in an expensive apartment on the rich side of the city, stoned out of my mind. I was doing way better than lame Italian restaurants in the suburbs, long drives in the country, and listening to the inane dribble.

Later, when The Fox and Liz were back on, she made an admission. After I went on the singular date with The Actor, she had an encounter. She got her teenage desire in the back of a car, in a vacant parking lot. And it was the most unsatisfying experience ever.

All debts were settled, all scores even, and all forgiven. That was that.

Or was it?

To be continued . . .