The last time I talked to her, I knew it would be the last. My rage was happy about this, but the rest of me just watched on as if in a trance. I tell myself that it was a good reason (even today) to cut off all contact, but we were just kids. Kids weren’t meant to deal with these things; Hell, adults don’t know where to turn when they’re plagued this way. All I know now, is so much more than I knew then, and in the end of it all, I tell myself that we sometimes lose people. Maybe it was the wrong place and the wrong time, or it was just never meant to work at all. I broke off our friendship of years because I believed, back at that time in my 13 year old brain and heart, that she had said something unforgivable to me. Now, I realize, she had just repeated something that was so common — she wasn’t knowledgeable about it, and she grew up in ignorance. She was a first generation Indian-Canadian, and her parents sheltered her more than I’ve ever seen others do. She had to bring a cellphone with her to walk to the mailbox down the crescent, and she couldn’t see PG-13 movies at the theatres.
I think I forgave her a long time ago for what she had said to me — I had to give myself time to realize why it offended me so much. Kids are naive, and ignorant, and I was no different, only I was the one at a particular disadvantage here. In my life, she represented all the people who gave me reasons to believe that there was something wrong with me — I was defective, and I had a problem that needed fixing. But I knew this, I thought I had tried everything, and there was no fixing me. She represented my parents, telling me everything was all in my head. She represented my teachers, scowling at me as I raised my hand, yet again, to visit the washroom, face pale as death. She represented the part of me that didn’t understand what was happening to me, and I hated her, and myself, for it. She told me that I was a liar — it couldn’t have been as big of a deal as I was making it out to be, and I should just stop. I had wished so many times that I wouldn’t have another anxiety attack, I wouldn’t have another breakdown when I thought of leaving the house. I wish I could have just stopped, but I didn’t tell her that then. I just dealt with her in indignant stubbornness.
Sometimes, I look her up to see how she’s doing, and I’m happy to see her doing well. I wonder if she does the same for me, but I’m still afraid that she still sees that little girl I once was. I’m not her anymore. No, instead she’s caged up inside of me.
Once, while shopping at the mall with my father, I ran into her doing the same with her mother. We exchanged glances, and she did a sort of half-smile, waving slightly, and I tried to return the smile, but inside I panicked. What do you do when you can see them compare the person you’ve become, to the small, anguished 13 year old girl they knew? Moving on from the interaction, I thought about it for days. I couldn’t escape the notion that I was a new person — I so wanted to be, and I wanted everyone to believe that I was so badly that I obsessed myself with it. But eventually, I did forget.
Writing her a letter is something that makes me, even now, shudder inside. How would I even begin?
I’m not sure where the time has gone, and I remember you as the young girl who was glued to my side at all times. We had everything in common — we always tied for races, we were both the tallest girls in our class, we almost always got the same marks on everything. We’re much different, now; we couldn’t be more different. You’re studying business back in Windsor, where you have loads of friends who adore you. I can see how successful you are, and I knew that would happen, in my own way. I’m living in London, going to Western University for writing and English, but I suppose you could have guessed that. Even back then I couldn’t go anywhere without a book or two. Although I’m not the same person I was, I still have little bits of who I was when we were friends embedded into my bones.
I don’t want this letter to be about me, but I suppose that’s going to happen regardless.
You look happy, and beautiful. Well, from what I can tell on Facebook. You look the same as you did the last time I knew you, only your eyes shine a bit brighter, and life follows you around in an excited chase. My life is so unlike that — I was never quite the one to play chase, nor was life ever quite that interested in me. I live with my boyfriend in a small, two bedroom apartment with our 4 pets. We go to his family dinners on Sundays, and I miss my family more and more each day. But I’m living this life that I never thought that I would be able to, back when we were 13. I didn’t think I would be living a life at all. Success doesn’t mean the same thing to the both of us.
The last time we talked, I disregarded you as something that I feared. I hope you forgive me as I’ve forgiven you. Although you’ll never read this, and it’s unlikely that we’ll ever speak again, I hope the Universe is able to carry my message to you.