TIME TO SAY GOODBYE MY FRIEND
For my readers who have been following the "I Still Look For You" memoir, this is a peek at the final chapter. I don't know of an author who didn't see the end coming to their own story, but this happened to me. I wish tonight that this was a work of Fiction so I could change the ending but my life's story has been true and told in all of it's horror and all of it's beauty. I could not tell this any other way.
Hello dear friend,
It’s been so long since we’ve talked, too long. I have answered the phone a few times and the thought it would be you on the other end entered my mind for a split second and brought my heart to life.
If we could talk, after all of the catching up with news of my kids and grandchildren and yours too, I would want to get down to the subject that has plagued me for over twenty years. Maybe plagued is not a good word, it brings to mind sorrow and pain and though I have felt those emotions, more so, I’ve felt a longing for mornings with you. Over coffee, sharing our lives, hopes, good times and failures there was a prevailing feeling of strength, a need for it and a sharing of it. We had some real challenges back then and the load was lighter because of you and I hope my presence in your life made things not as difficult or lonely as they might have been. I have never been able to thank you for the belief you had in me and taught me to have in myself. Your view of me as being strong and capable, a good mother, desirable woman and as a worthy friend changed my life. I was able to leave a horrible relationship and never want to go back again. I knew, because you taught me, that I deserved so much more than that.
I discovered that it was not too late to love or laugh, to have incredible days filled with true fun and carefree times that we both missed when the time for them was used becoming adults, too early. We each carried responsibilities that were not ours and took on more than we should have had to and in doing so we became a step out of time with people our own ages. Hearing the beat of a different drum is all well and good when it is one’s choice to, but always being a half step ahead or behind makes for a lonely place in your heart. You more than filled that space. You were my best friend, my lover, a confidant who encouraged my dreams and an example of how to keep putting one foot in front of the other when all you want to do is be free.
Our friendship did set me free of notions I’d accepted of myself as not good enough, not pretty enough, just never enough … of anything. The simple pleasures we shared, sitting by the river on a warm afternoon, playing in the leaves like a couple of kids and flying down the highway with the radio cranked, are memories that have sustained me for two decades now. When my life became too ordinary I remembered and felt extraordinary, something I saw reflected in your eyes. When my kids screamed at me that I was a tyrant and they hated me, I remembered that you said time and again that I was a good mother. I doubt that you realize the impact you had on my life. No matter where your life has taken you, or mine taken me, I can always be transported back to a time when a shared cup of coffee and conversation before starting our days was all that it took to get us by. I used to spend hours dreaming of the “what if’s.” If we had met at a different time, if there was not such a gap in our ages, if you didn’t have the responsibility of raising your brothers and I didn’t have two children of my own … but then it was those very things that made our relationship more special and stronger than most people ever have. Despite differences so large, there was a common bond that I have never shared with another person in my life. I have loved, yes, and I have found happiness and contentment but I have never felt exactly the magic that we shared. They were simple times, but so full of complications. A seeming contradiction, but it was not. We were just living, trying to bring our respective kids along the road of growth that we still needed to complete and making the most of what had been handed us.
The respect and gentleness that you showed toward me was a truly needed gift that has had no equal. You taught me to trust myself and my abilities and assumed I would be victorious. Your confidence in me began to grow in my opinion of myself and has carried me through many years of trials. Do you remember when you taught me to drive a stick in your friend’s 280z? How I shifted just right but forgot to turn left as you’d instructed and you told me how good I did and then broke out in laughter saying that next time I could also turn the wheel? Then we stopped for gas and you told me I looked so good sitting in that car. You taught me with patience, something no one in my life had ever done and you saw me as deserving, not only a nice car but things that made me happy and brought me pleasure, just because.
I wonder many times if you ever think of me and if so, if those memories shadow mine in any way. I selfishly hope that you have missed me from time to time. I hope that you are happy and that the woman you’ve married appreciates you and wraps you in love and security. Her picture on the internet shows a very pretty woman, young for her years. I laughed when I saw that she is ten years your senior. I guess my age really didn’t make a difference to you, as it did to me. I have searched for and found you, at least I have found your wife, but she does not respond to my requests to have you call, or you choose not to. I almost can’t believe that you would not, unless it would cause problems. I would never want that. I have questions that won’t be answered now after all these years of searching. I have no way of knowing if my messages have reached you but I have to believe that they have. The silence is deafening and painful, it confuses me and fills me with questions. Why wouldn’t you call? Do you have nothing to say to me? Has time made such a difference that our friendship is not worthy of a phone call? Would it upset your wife and you won’t chance that? My husband knows I have searched for you and knows what our friendship has meant to me and he does not have concerns. No matter the reason, the time has come that I need to say goodbye to you. If I would have ever thought finding you would cause such pain, I would have left the memories alone to be taken down from the shelf like a favorite book and enjoyed all over again.
I have lost some good friends in the past few years which started me searching for you. I never got the chance to say thank you, tell you what the time we shared meant to me or to say a proper goodbye. It is hard to do that, knowing you are out there and that just hearing your voice would be such a lovely thing for me. Knowing that we could still share a friendship and talk over coffee, long distance though it would be, seems like so little to ask but I know there are times in one’s life when nothing else is needed or will fit.
I drag my feet, not wanting to let go. It could be worse, I suppose. You could have called and told me to leave you alone, that you barely remember me or that I was foolish to reach out a hand of friendship. I would rather keep the slimmest chance open in my mind that you did not get my message. Well, goodbye then, have a wonderful life. I wish you happiness and much love. I can not find the proper words. I guess I just want you to know how much having you in my life meant to me and to let you know that what you did saved my life and helped me find love and peace. Thank you for being my friend.