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Short Story: A Letter Not To You
I don't know if you've realised it or not, but things aren't the same between us. I'm not the same. I don't know if you've recognised the sharp tongue that points at you in the texts that I now seldom send to you, or the ice in my eyes whenever you're around me. You probably haven't; I've never really been one to show anger - true anger - towards you. Then again, if I had, would you have realised it anyway?
If you have noticed these things, did you care? Did it bother you like it would have bothered me? I'm doubtful since it's since occurred to me that I took all the responsibility for our friendship, and you none.
It's almost as though I can hear you saying, "What the hell are you talking about?" as I write this. I wish I could tell you face to face, but you make such a thing impossible. I know that even if I was to send this to you, you wouldn't see the big deal I'm making. But it is a big deal. To me, it's a very big deal.
I have never tried to deny the fact that to me you are family. Look back.
Remember the good times. We were so close. You were my best friend, the twin I never had. I loved you almost as much as I love my own brother. I thought we had a special bond that nobody would ever understand but us. I mean, you trusted me first with your true self, and although I may have sometimes gone too far with the teasing as to whom you possessed feelings for, I also made it clear to you that I was there for you. But Connor, the thing that hurts me most is that I can think of so many moments where I've been there for you...yet none where you were really there for me.
I'm angry. The past two years of pain and upset have caught up with me. The dam has broken, and now I find myself seething whenever I see you or hear from you. I know it's probably petty in your eyes, but it's a spear in each of mine. If you were a piece of paper I would rip you to shreds and throw in the bin. But you're not a piece of paper. You're a person. You were supposed to be my friend.
To me, a friend is someone who you can rely on, who won’t keep putting you down – won’t keep hurting you. You’ve put me down so many times, whether it was intentionally or not, and now I can’t help but resent you. Don’t say that I never mentioned anything to you; remember that Maths lesson? That lesson where Megan taunted me for deciding to pursue writing? You joined in. The two of you told me that I would amount to nothing, that I’d end up working in Tesco or something – that I’d be a failure. You knew I was going to counselling. You knew that I called myself a failure every day. Because to me, if I didn’t get A grades, I’d failed.
I’m a perfectionist. And you just helped me drag myself down.
Do you know how many times I thought myself responsible for our friendship? I never realised it at the time, but now my eyes are open. I remember how close we were and then suddenly I was watching you be close to Imy like we had been. It hurt. I thought I must have done something wrong. Remember you thought I was needy? I was needy. I needed you to hold me and tell me everything was going to be alright. You were supposed to be my best friend. My twin. Family. I needed you, yet you were only interested in holding her. Was it because she’s smarter than me? Don’t get me wrong, I love Imy to bits, but I still felt jealous. It’s funny how I felt comfortable telling her that, but not you.
I think of when we finally hit 18 – we could go out clubbing. I loved it. I’d invite you; you were still my best friend even if I was no longer yours. You’d ask me the day before we would actually be going out how I was getting there and back, and if you could get there with me. Connor, didn’t you realise the first time that you would have to start asking me more in advance? It was one particular night which really made me open my eyes to how you were practically using me and blaming me. That night when I was getting ready at Katrina’s and was going to stay over at hers. Remember how you’d left it until the day before to ask me how could you get there and back, and I went through all that trouble of looking at train and bus times. Hell, Connor, I was going to walk all the way from one side of town to the other to meet you, and then walk with you to the other end to where the clubs were. Just for you. I had told you the two options of getting home, yet you still blamed me when your parents wouldn’t let you go.
It wasn’t my fault!
It was then that it hit me. Why didn’t you ask Imy, or Paul, or someone other than me? That’s really the thing that bothers me. Why was I responsible for it all?
Since then, every little thing that I had just ignored over the past two years has risen to the surface, and the fact that you haven’t even noticed the difference in atmosphere between us points to two different conclusions: either you are too busy thinking about yourself to realise, or you simply don’t care or don’t see it as a big deal. What upsets me the most is that it’s most probably the latter.
I feel like all I’ve done in this friendship is give give give, and you have done all the taking. I know that I’m useless at being on time, but it can’t boil down to just that. After all, Imy is even tardier than I am.
Which brings me to another conclusion: do you just think I’m not good enough to be your best friend anymore? Am I ‘demoted’ perhaps?
If you do ever read this, don’t decide to talk to me about it. It doesn’t matter anymore. I don’t want that ‘promotion’ anymore. I don’t want you to keep your promise to stay in touch. All I want now is to lose this anger and carry on with my life with dignity and become the best person I can be.
And I cannot do that with you in my life.