I had always thought the day she would tell me she had found her someone special I would be happy and yet there were so many emotions behind that happiness, I felt like I was deceiving her when I hugged her tight and offered my congratulations.
I couldn’t wait for her to leave so I could further scrutinize what it was that I was feeling. But just thinking about asking her to not be excited made me feel like a miser who couldn’t even be happy for a friend of fifteen years. As it was, if she didn’t share that happiness with me, who else would she share it with? Her happiness though felt like claws on my skin, like someone was skinning me alive.
Thankfully for me, she was so absorbed in recounting everything her someone special had done or said that she did not notice I wasn’t in the conversation. I was barely holding on, so desperate was I to understand the inner storm that was raging.
When she finally left, I felt like I still couldn’t breathe. Not prone to theatrics, I simply laid down on the floor till the panic left. Once I felt I could take a proper breath, I got up, thinking furiously. Whatever it was that I was feeling, there had to be a name for it – because only by defining it could I rise above it, could I understand what was happening.
I knew I loved her – that was a no brainer – and it wasn’t that that had put me into such a tizzy. Her telling me about the someone special wasn’t what led to the realization that I loved her. I had known that right from the beginning; that is why we had become friends. What was it then?
As I started to hyperventilate again, it came to me, what I was feeling. It came as a blinding flash, leaving me, ironically, breathless with a sudden sinking knowing. She was leaving me – she was moving on – she had no need for me anymore because she had found success. Worst of all, she had found she enjoyed success and didn’t need to be friends with failure anymore. She had found her courage.
But didn’t she know she was leaving behind my protection? The protection that kept her from heartbreak, from feeling unworthy, from failure…I…she was abandoning me? Didn’t she know I was the only one who cared for her well-being?
Courage and success would lead her down a path I could not follow. They would lead her down a path riddled with obstacles, hard work, sweat, tears, joy – everything I could protect her from but no…she was leaving behind my sanctuary.
Well if she wanted to walk down this path of self-destruction, so be it. But I would be there to pick up the pieces when courage and success were done with her. Then she will come back into my arms, sobbing, wondering why she ever left in the first place: what hubris had led her to leave the haven of failure and join the ranks of silly hope?
My love, I will wait for you right where you left me, knowing, without question that you will come back to me one day. And I will welcome you with open arms, as I always have.
For December, I will be writing stories based on prompts I have gotten from friends, family, friends of friends and some generous people on Twitter. Thank you Mansi for this prompt.