The silence surprised me first. I can’t say I knew quite what to do with its weight, its severity, its incessant echo.
They don’t prepare you for that.
And when the silence lasted, when it stretched across days and then weeks, I responded as I always do: I picked up my chin, pushed past the tightness in my chest and the sting in my eyes, took a deep breath, and forced myself forward. In light, sing-song tones, I repeated my mother’s words: “Carry on then! Carry on!” What’s the use in crying? What’s the use in agonizing and over-thinking and wondering—oh, the wondering!
At least I can say I was prepared for that stage—for knowing when and how to just let go already. Yes, I have that part down well.
But, I won’t pretend. I won’t put on airs. You and I both deserve more than that. We are adults. And I threw my masks and mixed pretenses away with the decade newly past.
So if you ask me, I will tell you the truth:
You hurt my feelings.
Not in some dramatic and bloody fashion. And not in a I’ll-never-speak-to-you-again kind of way. But more in the way that you feel the sudden sting of a bee or the tender depth of a thorn for days and days, because something got in, dug itself beneath the barrier we hold up against the world, and left bruises.
I let you in.
And you sauntered away without so much as a “thank you” or “good-bye.”
That appalling dismissal, that blatant disregard—it has surprised me more than the silence. It has hurt more than the sting, the tenderness. Those bruises heal within days. But, the knife of negligence, of narcissism, cuts deep and leaves scars.
As I write this, your silence continues, unabated. I am comfortable with it now. Now, we are the friends you and I once were.
I have much to learn still, but I do know this: Potential is beautiful, powerful, cloaked in hope and carrying promises for the future.
We had potential.
If only I had seen that beneath your cloak, behind your fistful of promises, you had nothing to offer me but bruises, cuts, bitten lips, bad manners, and silence.