The What ifs and The Should Haves Will Eat Your Brain by John O’ Callaghan
Learn from me. I allowed your flesh-eating amoebas steal pieces from my soul and heart as if I was no longer a person with feelings, but a mass of rusty, mechanical parts. You won the round for a number of years but not the fight, no definitely not the fight.
You played unfairly, with aggression, the intent to severely wound with a fake smile plastered on your pale face. I meekly, crept under a colorful fall red leaf, my sense of self, like a worm stepped on in pieces, buried deep down in the tough, brown unyielding ground.
How could you be my best friend one night yet not the next? No one could help me understand, no one understood either. Pain can either kill you or make you stronger. It’s a toss-up. I won in the end. I pitied you and you loathed pity.
There was not a single thing I could have done more than I had done already. Letters and phone calls, messages. I just wanted to talk to you but your holier-than-thou attitude refused my attempts. You ignored me, forgetting about the closeness we had for years. You were mean, hateful. I started, very slowly, noticing your flaws, the discrepancies in your behavior. My conscience was clear, like a clean pane of glass that smelled like freshly cut lemons. You were self-destructing in front of everybody’s eyes.
But I did not forgive you for destroying what should have been one of the happiest days of my life, you stole that from me, like a big, bold bully snatches and stomps on a little boy’s new toy. The night I invited you to your favorite restaurant, nervous and excited; you stole my special joy from me when I told you I was pregnant and you put your head in your hands and wept. I was flabbergasted, shocked, hurt, confused. I imagined joy, “congratulations” squeals of delight. I got nothing. No, you sat in your seat, head down, tears falling into your soup. I stopped asking what was wrong when all you would do was shake your head from side to side signalling “no.” Our friendship was over. Your cover, blown.
I used to always defend your insecurities and phobias: driving, flying, going on a boat, or a train, going in elevators, the list got longer every year. You made your husband fly on vacation, alone. You didn’t have the decency to show up at your in-laws funerals. Everybody gasped in shock and horror; there was no turning back from that. You crossed the line there, there were no excuses for that type of behavior.
Everyone knew that you were a psychologically impaired person but there are some things people do for those that they love. There were medications and therapy but you refused to go, to try to get help, therapy was fine for “other people” but not you. You refused to try, you were too scared to go. After awhile even your husband threw up his hands and gave in. Ice water ran through your veins.
Your husband, our friend, had the grace to tell us the truth, he confessed and told us everything, You continued to lie. You changed your mind about a deal you made with your husband, yet when we tried to talk to you, you lied to our faces.There was a cruel side to you, one you tried so desperately to hide, but it would escape when you let your guard down, didn’t it?
I could see the hatred that you harbored deep inside. It came out in whiffs like a puff of smoke or perfume, I couldn’t grab hold of it but I knew, for sure, it was there. I knew something was wrong with you since the first time we met as you handled my laundry, inappropriately, crossing boundaries.You hated that I knew all your secrets. I thought I knew you, and I did, on that very first day when my instincts whispered in my ear and I told them to go away.
I should have followed my instincts on the first day we met, I knew there was something off, something strange about you but I didn’t listen. That lesson, I have learned forever. For this, I thank you.