Making amends has been a recurring theme in my life for the past several months.
In March an old friend of mine whom I had not spoken to in over ten years “liked” one of my pictures on Instagram. I took this gesture as a sign of him extending an olive branch to me after all of these years of non communication and I accepted. We ended up agreeing to meet for dinner the following week.
To provide a bit of backstory; this friend and I were completely inseparable for many years from middle school to high school. We were the best of friends and true confidants. We talked every single day and he even ditched his date for me when my then boyfriend couldn’t take me to senior prom and he accompanied me instead. I loved and trusted him and truly believed that we had an unwavering loyalty to each other.
When we were 18 years old, I found out he kept something from me, which caused me to question our friendship. I was beyond embarrassed, angry hurt by the discovery and for that I cut him out of my life -without a final conversation, without question, cold. I also subsequently cut ties with anyone else whom I knew to still be in contact with him after I ended the friendship. At the time, everyone was expendable to me and I was unapologetic about it.
Throughout the following years he and I never ran into each other or made contact but every now and then I’d encounter someone who’d ask if I had seen or spoken to him and I would always quickly dismiss any conversation referring to our past friendship.
It took ten years for me to finally feel in my heart that I was ready to clear the air.
Reaching out to him felt natural. I wasn’t afraid or unsure, I was ready to see him and “bury the hatchet.” As I stood in front of the restaurant waiting for him. I saw him across the street walking toward me and my heart felt at peace. There he stood. Well over 6’0 tall, healthy and now a grown man. My old friend.
When he and I sat down for dinner we had a genuine conversation about so many things. We laughed and talked, we reminisced on old times; memories that we shared and caught each other up on what we each have been doing these past ten years. It was hard to believe that an entire decade had passed before we had that moment, yet it felt as though no time had passed at all.
We then talked about why we stopped communicating in the first place and we both knew that it was ultimately my decision to end the friendship between us. At the time I felt that he wasn’t a friend to me and for that I excluded him from my life.
Having this long overdue conversation with him provided a lot of clarity into my own past and the affects it had on who I used to be and who I am now.
Back then I was a only a fraction of the person I am today. As I shared with him the night we met up; in high school my home life was a bit traumatic and I didn’t have any power or control at home. So everyday when I went to school I wanted people to know that I was the boss, that I was in control, and that with me it was either black or white. I was very quick to cut people off, I was harsh with my words, highly judgmental and I seldom gave second chances. What people did not know was that beyond that, I was an angry child and I was suffering. I didn’t want to give anyone the opportunity to feel like they got one over on me, took advantage of me or took away my power and so, that was the cause of my behavior back then.
I certainly don’t think that I was a terrible person, but I know that I hurt people along the way, especially in high school and he was actually one of those people I hurt.
I didn’t realize ten years ago that by not giving him the respect of a conversation I was not being a good friend to him either. He recalled things I said and did that I had forgotten about; or maybe not forgotten so much as I didn’t think they were a big deal back then but hearing him recount things made me feel pretty bad.
I was sad that I couldn’t see past my own disappointment in him or understand what lead him to handling the situation that lead to the past demise of our friendship so poorly. It was so eye opening to hear his side of our relationship dynamic and his experience of me in our adolescence. Ten years later, I gained a deeper understanding of what happened and why.
I am a firm believer that most friendships are not made to last for a lifetime. I believe that people are in and out of our lives for a reason and a season. Sometimes we lose touch, sometimes life takes us in different directions, sometimes we have an irreparable betrayal, sometimes we’re just caught up in our feelings and sometimes we find our ways back to each other.
He and I may never be the friends we once were but in any regard, I am happy that in this lifetime, in some facet we found our way back to each other.
Ps- Last month, over several shots, great conversation and a ton of laughs, he took this picture of me at my house ❤️