I was just thinking about a friend I used to have.
Do you ever find yourself doing that? By "that" I mean, reminiscing about your past lives within your life, usually with a wistful or melancholy undertone?
I do it, and with increasing frequency ever since Herr Meow was born. It’s not that I wish I were back there and back then– it’s more a matter of perhaps having done things differently.
Let me explain:
I have had a couple of very nasty fallouts with people I thought were very good friends.
Taken like that, it could be said that I am possibly a difficult person (which I am, but I am by no means alone). But upon further reflection, what has come to light is that the relationships themselves were difficult and complex and they could not withstand the major life change that came on the heels of their demises.
And by that, I mean that sometimes you just have to grow up without the people you were certain you would grow up with. Sometimes "growing up" is the process by which you realize that they are actually either holding you back or you’re holding yourself back by hanging on to the person you are when you are with these people.
I find that I want to say more about that last friendship, but somehow all that comes back and hits my brain like waves ebbing on the beach is her wedding day, and the last time I saw her.
Her wedding day — in which I was supposed to play a major supporting role but instead I witnessed wearing clothes whose colors actually flattered me– was for me a phenomenally creepy endeavor. From the soloist who sounded like she was being drawn and quartered to the middle-schoolish feel of having a tween cousin cue up the wedding march on the boombox, to the wedding vows themselves –which were creepy and altogether too old-fashioned and stated that the groom "owns" the bride and made me feel claustrophobic just by thinking about them–, everything about her wedding felt so incredibly wrong. As someone who had two small weddings; married in a red wedding dress sometime in February; and whose entire wedding budget for TWO events neared possibly around $5000, I realize I am in the bizarro minority. But from there to a wedding vow sentence wherein you specifically become your betrothed’s chattel? Give me a break people– that’s not just a minor quirk: that’s verbal abuse on what’s supposed to be the happiest day of your life.
And I guess it didn’t hit me just how wrong it felt until I was sitting quietly on the sofa just now, nursing the baby to sleep and making a shopping list for Trader Joe’s. It was one of those sudden flashbulb memories– the kind where you suddenly can remember the play-by-play clearly and eerily in your mind.
And I guess what hit me more than anything, after remembering all that was, "How could I have been friends with someone for so long and yet not know that THIS is what she wanted her wedding day to be like?"
For the first time in a long time I feel liberated. For the first time I realize that there is not necessarily anything wrong with me in that situation: it is possible to spend so much time with a person and still see only what you want to see –or worse, what you think you see.