I had this friend once. Let’s call her Tabby. I loved this girl, more than I’d loved many of the friends I’ve ever made in this life and to be very sincere, I knew that she and I would be friends to the very end. She would be there to watch me grow up and me there to watch her. She would be there when I had my first babies and probably end up being the Godmother of one if not more of those babies. And I was very, very grateful that she was my friend because as far as I was concerned, she really was one of those people who I believed would accept me with all my shortcomings and love me anyway. She understood my “evil” ways and helped me find humor in even the crappiest of situations and I often wondered how life had ever gone on without her. In short, to me she really was the perfect friend.

Unfortunately, just as humans do when we have those things that are as close to perfection as life will probably ever bring us, we fuck up. I fucked up. And I hurt her perhaps more deeply than either one of us thought was even possible. Sometimes, we honestly don’t realize the extent of influence that others have on our lives until that connection is tested. So I guess in this situation, the test of forgiveness came, as is inevitable in every friendship. I don’t really know how bad the effect of my betrayal was because the funny thing is; she never even showed me that something was terribly wrong. She just went on with life as usual and like the oblivious individual I can sometimes be, I was not keen enough to notice that something was very wrong with my friend. And so she just waited and waited for the time that she knew our lives would no longer be as involved as they once were and we wouldn’t see each other as often. She waited patiently for the time when she would be rid of me.

Like the good friend that I proclaimed myself to be, I struggled to keep in touch. I called, I texted, I went to visit. I thought that although I could feel some distance that perhaps it was just the effect of the change of logistics of our lives that had taken a toll on our friendship. I was dead wrong. I sought her out more and more and as the periods of silence on her end got longer and longer, it still didn’t hit me what she was trying to do. Not until the day when she finally put it out there in a way that some may consider noble but others may see as down-right cold. I pick the former. I still have that text somewhere. She was blunt. She said that she wasn’t able to pretend to herself or to me that she wanted to be friends with me anymore. She had lived enough pretenses for the last couple of years and she’d had enough of what a burden it had been. She wasn’t willing to do that again. And so she politely but firmly asked me to make a graceful exit from her life. She told me not to call, text or go to see her again. That text hit me like a bullet to the brain. I still remember sitting on my bed paralyzed by surprise and then surprise turned into indignation as my ego kicked in…and then sorrow as I realized what a gem I had lost. Then came the torment of trying to recall what I may have done to make her act that way. And when I finally realized my fault, there really was nothing I could have done to amend things because even I, who knew her only fairly well in comparison to those who knew what a puzzle she truly was, knew that I, had crossed the line. I had crossed the line so much that it was hardly still in view.

I apologized for my folly and just as she’d asked, I made the graceful exit. It’s been about a year since I got that text and as strange as it may sound, I thank her for her brutal honesty. I miss her immensely but I know that her telling me the painful truth that she could never ever look at me the same was probably one of the best things anyone has ever done for me in my life so far. She spared me the pain of the betrayal that she may have resorted to in the future. She was true to herself and for that I can only respect her. But most of all, she was true to the promises of our friendship where we always promised one another that we would be sincere to one another and real. And I can’t imagine her being any realer than this…can you?

Imagine the drama that we could spare ourselves and others if we would only know when the hurt was far beyond our control and take the road less travelled and just let go of those people who had destroyed our trust beyond repair. Imagine not having to sit around waiting for the opportunity to hurt them back and be consumed by that hatred and resentment. Imagine what peace there is in just walking away and loving YOURSELF FIRST. It may be painful and uncomfortable to dismiss these people from our lives, especially when they have been such a fundamental part of life for a long time. However, I learned from Tabby that sometimes letting go is the only true way to heal and be free. And I pray that wherever she is, she knows that I know she did the right thing.

© barbara karuana