We had been friends for over twenty-five years. More than a quarter of a century. I don’t know why I feel the need to emphasise the length of time we’d known each other, as if the more time invested the deeper the friendship. There is perhaps a strong correlation but no causation between length of knowing and love.
That last argument is still fresh in my mind. We’d argued before but we had always brushed aside our deeply ingrained judgments about each other to maintain the status quo. The discomfort of arguing was something to be avoided but those judgments did not disappear. They hid in the subconscious of our interactions, poking at our egos like skulking bullies.
I don’t even really know what that ultimate argument had been about. I heard somewhere that even though the music changes, some couples dance the same dance over and over. There I go again, comparing us to a couple, but why shouldn’t friendships be as important as romantic partnerships? After all, you called me soulmate once upon a time.
I had hurt you. You had hurt me. Apologies were insufficient. We wanted to make the other acknowledge with poetic clarity the severity of their bad behaviour. You wanted me to brush aside the accusation that I had made of you in my mind – that you were flaky, unreliable, inconsistent.
But twenty-something years of being stood up, made to wait, let down, flexible for your ever-changing schedule, was something I had never experienced with others. Acquaintances were quickly cut out if they acted in such a way with me and, in response, you said that I was dismissive of people who thought differently.
You said such hurtful things but the most pain was caused by words you only insinuated. I will carry those criticisms for a long time and take them to therapy, and take them to pillow talk, and long brunches.
I wish I could say that I don’t mind inconsistency but I am one of the lucky ones; I have been well loved in adulthood, a privilege experienced by few. I have persevered in removing harmful relationships that might have made me put up with mediocre or even malicious love.
In all honesty, I am relieved to know that those I surround myself with are compassionate and kind, teaching me as much as they can about being soft in a world hard with hate.
If only I had asked what your deeply ingrained judgement of me truly was; but I know I would not have received a straightforward answer. You said that I had crossed a boundary, that I had done it many times and you had been forbearing, not saying a word. Would it not have been helpful to say even a little? Do you not wish that you had said something?
Looking for more soulful reads? Check out these stories from the MockingOwl Roost contributors and staff.
- Epiphany – Fiction
- A Moment of Discovery – Fiction
- What Then? – Poetry
- Lost Appetites – Poetry
- Epiphany in Peaches – Fiction
- Smoke – Fiction
- Unconventional Choices – Things I Wish I Had Said
- Words Unspoken – Things I Wish I Had Said
- Dear Pastor Who Blamed Me for Being Abused – Things I Wish I Had Said
Farrah is an unpublished writer, poet, and late bloomer, born in England and currently living in Italy with her husband and Maltese terrier. She has over ten years’ experience in the charity sector and is currently studying for a BA degree in psychology and philosophy, in between her determination to learn Italian and make pizza. She enjoys magical realism, and post-colonial studies, as well painting in watercolour. Her writing concentrates on love, intersectional feminism, and challenging the status quo.