So that’s something, at least.
A new Monday, a new school week. I never heard back from Brittney this weekend and my brief feeling of hope faded within a few hours.
This morning I contacted Anna. I still had Brittney’s statue that I’d repaired over the Christmas break. Whatever happens between us, she needs to get this semi-family heirloom back; my belongings at her place are inconsequential in comparison. I hoped that Anna could be the courier and return it to her so that I wouldn’t have to deliver it myself. But when I contacted her, I discovered that she’d de-friended me on the internet as well. That briefly stung, but I still had her phone number and dared to try that.
I was surprised that she came to my room to pick up the statue. I was expecting no response at all. She was cool towards me, almost unreadable. I have no way of knowing how this fiasco had affected her, so I told her as best I could, that if I had ever done anything intentionally or accidentally to hurt her or make her feel uncomfortable, that I was sorry for it. She seemed almost indifferent to my olive branch. She essentially responded, “I don’t have any problem. It’s between you and Brittney.”
I hadn’t asked her there to try and win her to my side, but I couldn’t help but take a minute or two to try and explain that whatever had happened, had been a mistake. And then I thanked her for being Brittney’s friend through all of this. She didn’t seem interested in discussing this matter at all, so I gave her the statue and she went on her way. Along with the statue I attached a flashdrive with various photos and videos of her and her friends I’d taken during our time together. If I wasn’t going to see her again, the photos were more useful to her than I.
I had thought something would happen that morning, or that day. I’d sent my explanation to Brittney via work email on Saturday. So even at the latest, she must have seen my email by that morning. If my missive was going to have any effect, it was going to be now. And maybe with the help of the repaired cowboy statue and the photos, that might help thaw her feelings towards me. I was probably being over-optimistic, hoping against hope that my heart-baring message would stop the door that was closing on our friendship.
I didn’t hear from Brittney.
By late afternoon I resolved to talk to her directly. Even the email wasn’t a guarantee of communication. If she was deleting my messages out-of-hand, then there was still a chance that she didn’t know the truth. I had to know that my words weren’t falling on deaf ears. Even though the advice of my friends had been unanimous: Give her time and she’ll give you a chance to explain, I couldn’t heed it. Every time I’ve lost someone close, a friend, girlfriend, or fiance, I always think the same things towards the end. “I don’t want to hurt them.” “I just want them to be happy.” “If that’s what they really want, then so be it.” etc etc etc. And I back off in order to be gentle and undemanding, to give them “time”. But everytime one of those close relationships end, I inevitably wonder, “Did I hold something back?” “If I’d been more open and honest, would that have been enough?” “Did I not fight hard enough for them?”
I’m not willing to entertain those doubts this time. I’m tired of losing people by being passive and just accepting it. I’m not going to lose someone else without fighting for them. I know I was crossing a line by approaching her at work, the one place she can’t avoid me, entering her space without any sign that I was welcome there, but I HAD TO KNOW. I can’t just lose her without knowing.
As soon as I entered her room, Brittney’s expression was hard. Not angry. “Wary” might be a better term. Anna was there, but she was on her phone. She gave us some space as I approached Brittney’s desk.
Although I’d been working out my thoughts for the past hour and picking over my letters for the past week, I almost couldn’t begin to broach the subject. I hardly made eye-contact; I didn’t want this to be more confrontational than it already was. I definitely wasn’t eloquent, but at least I didn’t cry.
From the jumble of my thoughts I expressed regret that I’d come here, but that I had to know that she’d received my message. How I was willing to accept any decision she made, so long as I knew that she had at least considered my side of things. If I was going to lose her as my best friend, then she needed all the information before she made that decision. I just needed to know that she’d received it.
Brittney had been working on her tablet when I came in and as I spoke it came up to cover the lower half of her face. I don’t know if that was a defensive or pensive posture. In a careful manner she replied that she had received my messages, but that she would only reply in her own good time. She said she needed “a break” to think about it.
That was all I needed to hear. I told her I wasn’t asking her to trust me, or believe me (those decisions are wholly up to her), all I was asking for was that she consider what I’d written. Nothing more. I could give her all the time and space she needed, so long as I knew she was at least willing to consider it.
It was a short conversation, over within 4 minutes. I wish I’d spoken better, but all my rehearsed words and critical points went out of my head the moment I entered her room. Besides, there’s no way a blitzkrieg conversation like that was going to do anything more than barely scratch the surface.
I don’t know if going there made things better or worse. No, actually I do know. It was inappropriate of me. But so often when I do what’s “appropriate,” I feel that I’ve denied my true self. For better or for worse, now I truly believe I’ve done all that I can. I probably went farther than I should have, but now I have my answer. This is a huge weight off of my shoulders. Now, whatever she decides, I can live with.*
*Yes, the rational part of my brain says I may be reading too optimistically into a non-commital answer as she gave. Maybe she just had the good grace to spare me an outright rejection. BUT this definitely wasn’t the worst possible outcome so I’m taking encouragement from that.
- She didn't tell me to go to hell,