I have always been a stubborn creature, who is easily comforted by a song (in this case, I switched from Imogen Heap's "Say Goodnight and Go" to her "Speeding cars", which did the trick nicely) and a nap.
There was a thirty minute time slot in between my classes, two days a week, in which my natural path to my next class went through the 2nd floor of the University Center. On the 2nd floor of the University Center, there were a few things that drew me to themselves.
The first thing was a Java City that would be happy to sell me a deliciously minty and chocolaty iced latte. The second thing was a comfy sofa that would be happy to have me sit on it while I worked on homework for my next class. The third thing was the office right next to that comfy sofa that Kaylee worked in during that time slot. She was seriously lacking in the free-time department, so it was a welcome opportunity to get to see her for a moment when she had a break. The fourth thing, however was almost as much of a push as it was a draw. That thing was that Eddie Kindle also worked in that office. He took breaks at the same time Kaylee did.
Here, I was faced with a bit of a dilemma. I could: 1) Admit to myself that Eddie was avoiding me and probably would rather not see me sitting on that sofa contentedly sipping my latte, and re-wire my delightful routine so it didn't place me in that spot anymore. Or, 2) I could tell myself that this is my usual life and I wasn't going to let Eddie's angst hurricane all over it. If he had a problem with me being there, he could come tell me why, like an adult.
Naturally, my hardheaded self chose option 2.
Of course, this option was completely conducive to making me acutely aware of just how unwanted by Eddie I truly was.
Inside of 3 weeks, it became no longer worth it. No longer worth a delicious latte, a comfy sofa, and a visit with a friend in between class. Three weeks of noticing him notice me and then turn and flit down the stairs without so much as a grin or a wave was enough to finally break me.
I had reached the point of turn-and-run. That is to say that my heart no longer leaped with any kind of hope or excitement when I saw him. All I felt was a significant longing to vanish as quickly as possible.
Accidental run-ins were terrifying. I knew that my every facial expression was conveying more truth than I ever wanted exposed. All my anecdotes and comments were losing their points. I was lost in fits of unnecessary giggles. Oh! Hide me!
I never knew which Eddie I was encountering. He could be the Eddie who remembered that we had once been close friends, the Eddie with whom I could have cut the tension with a chainsaw, or even the Eddie who genuinely looked as though he had never seen me in his life.
I would walk away face-palming and off-kilter.
All of my best efforts had done nothing except make an already precarious situation infinitely worse. It was like being lost in a maze. What had even happened, and when? Did it matter? I didn't even know (or care, for that matter) if I was still in love with him or not. All I wanted was for our friendship to heal. The possibility of that happening was looking more and more permanently unlikely every day.
Something inside me was breaking. It wasn't my trust for people, somehow. But I was beginning to realize that what I was experiencing was a very real rejection of my whole self. It was an honest rejection, too. He knew me. He knew me well. And he didn't desire one single thing that I had to offer. Certainly, not even friendship.
In Rob Bell's book Sex God, he (Rob) makes the case that when we step forward and give someone else the power in the relationship, and they respond by rejecting us, there is something divine about the suffering that ensues as a result.
His argument is that God has given us the power in our relationship with Him. The God of the universe has stepped forward and held His Heart out for us, but He has left it up to us whether we choose to accept or not.
That offer has been rejected again and again and again. Humanity has rejected and thus broken God's heart over and over and over.
It would be a few years before I would even hear of that book's existence, but I did make a habit out of crying out to God in my journal whenever I had a moment to be still. And when I did that, the ache would begin to give way to an assurance and a comfort in the fact that God understood.
At some point it dawned on me that the semester would be ending soon and my friendship with Eddie was remaining totally wrecked. I didn't want him to graduate and go away forever before we reached some sort of resolution.
I didn't know what to do. All my ideas sounded obnoxious in my head. There was no way we would be meeting. A phone call would be unbearably awkward. There would be no more conversation.
Well, fine then. I would write him a note. I would write him a note and I would fold it up just like I used to in high school. Because I'm an adult. And next time I saw him, I would just put it in his hands. And run away. Like an adult.
He would hear me out. Because you don't just walk away from your friends.
Determined, I grabbed my pen and my notebook and I nestled down in the hammock outside my dorm and I wrote:
Are my friend. Did you know that?
This is a very silly letter to write, most likely, but ya know... I have wanted to talk to you, I think. But I only see you in passing nowadays, and in-passing times are never good for talking about things that might matter - especially when I'm not even positive of what those things are, exactly.
But. If you can forgive me for doing this in an absurd and high school-kid ish manner...
I just feel like when I do see you, I pretend that everything is fine. Maybe I'm not pretending, though. Maybe everything is fine and I'm only concerned because I secretly wonder if you're feeling like you might be pretending too.
And then I think maybe there's just a pink elephant following us around. And one of us might always want to say to the other, "Erm... pink elephant. Behind you."
But for whatever reason we're afraid to mention it. With my luck it's probably the pink elephant's socially awkward, close talking cousin. One can't just go calling out a pink elephant's socially awkward, close talking cousin! That would just be embarrassing.
I'm sorry I made you all awkward by letting you in on my feelings for you last semester. If it sets your soul at ease at all, I will tell you that I don't even know whether that still holds true or not. Every time I try to re-evaluate how I feel about it, I quit because I realize that it became irrelevant a long time ago.
But our friendship. That's not irrelevant, right? And I'm so sorry if I have made our friendship into something that stresses you out.
So I guess my point is ... If a friendship is busted, I hope it is fixable.
It's really too bad that these things aren't physically, tangibly fixable. Like a rip in your jeans.
But wear and tear in jeans makes them more valued these days. Maybe a friendship can be like that too?
Anyway, I'm sorry if I blew this out of proportion. I just don't do well with confusion.
And you are a favorite.
I then signed my name at the bottom with a duck in the S and a star at the end of the h, just to maximize the high school effect, copied it into my journal (so that if I couldn't remember what I said later, I wouldn't begin to imagine that it was more embarrassing than it actually was), and folded it up just exactly right.
I placed that note in my purse and braced myself to make sure it made it into Eddie's hands the next time we crossed paths.
Silly or not, I wasn't about to give up on friendship.