Monday, July 7, 2008

excerpt from Other People's Love Letters

Something happened in the last 8 months. You became my closest friend, but I also developed strong feelings for you. Now you’re gone, yet I still see you and think of you everywhere. I have to readjust to life without someone on whom I had relied pretty strongly for emotional support. It’s shaping up to be quite a feat, seeing as your presence had helped me adjust to life here in the first place. Whenever something was bothering me throughout the course of the day, I was always satisfied with knowing that I’d go home and see you and I’d feel better. That notion always helped me get through the day. This is probably coming as a shock to you, but just bear with me.

I had really started to get past this once you left in July. The first week was definitely a struggle. But then I went to Boston and was doing fun things, so my mind started to be occupied. And by the time you came back from S. America and I spoke with you on the phone, I felt like I had gotten over you and you were just my very good friend, nothing more. And then I saw you again. And everything that was there came rushing back.

As Sara said last night, not only is it difficult for me to handle change, I especially have difficulty going from “more to less”: I had this very-close-to-ideal living situation, and now I suddenly don’t. In addition to that, it’s sometimes hard for me to see the forest for the trees—I have much to focus on right now, and I now have the perfect opportunity to care for and tend to myself and my responsibilities and the things I want to do since I no longer have someone around whose well-being I sometimes considered before my own. But all I can see right now is the absence of you.

I also have trouble with the notion that I need to get over this. That just kills me. I don’t understand why I should have to get over you. I keep telling myself that I have to and forcing myself to make it happen, but that just doesn’t seem fair to me. I’ve spent the past few years of “growing up” realizing that I have to be much more guarded when it comes to men. I too easily allow myself to become emotionally open to men and start to care about them, some more than they have deserve. So I’ve really come to be much more selective. And here I found someone who is completely deserving of everything I have to offer, and we still can’t be together. And I know that. Definitely not now, probably not in the future either. But how is that right? What learning am I to take away from this? Yes, I have a wonderful friend whom I look up to and from whom I have already learned so much. But I still don’t know how to guard myself against this happening in the future. How can I start to emotionally guard myself from someone who seems so perfect for me?

I really do understand that nothing can be done with this on your part, and I don’t really expect you to make it better or to respond in any certain way. It’s probably almost better if you didn’t. I just had to get it out. Please know that I certainly don’t feel in any way hurt by you—you clearly have never hurt me. And I suspect that after reading this, you’re probably inclined to want to fix it or make it better, which is a perfect example of what it is about you that I love so much. But I know it can’t be fixed. It’s just something with which I have to deal.

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