Losing the person I loved and imagined my life with was devastating. But in the depression and the fall-out that followed, I lost my best friend. And that made it so much worse.
It was my fault. It’s taken me years to own that, and even longer to admit it publicly. My depression and grief certainly played a role, had pushed my mind and my feelings to where they were. But it was my choice, my actions, and my failure.
I wish I could tell you that I miss you. I miss your encouragement. I miss encouraging you. I miss watching you swing dance. I miss the way that you could light up a stage. Whether I was there on the stage next to you or cheering you on from the house, you were always the brightest lights. I miss cheering you on, and knowing that you were there to cheer me on.
I miss your adventurous spirit. I always felt jealous that you got to travel so much — to New York and the East Coast, to Seattle, to San Francisco, anywhere. But the photos that you posted always made me happy. I still keep one of the postcards that you sent me. One of my few tangible treasures, not committed to a digital screen.
You looked so happy to be caught on those trade winds, and I knew that I’d be happy when I caught them, someday, too. It hasn’t happened yet, but it will. I will travel the world. And I hope I cross it with the same air as you. I will think of your hair blowing in the wind, and the love written on your arm.
I miss the glimpses of the real you. Beyond the air that you aspired to, the small, bubbly, carefree girl who loved everybody, who everybody loved. But I was one of the few people you opened to, who saw your cares and concerns, the heavy heart that beat within you. I wish I had been better at listening, better at caring, better at being a friend.
I wish I had been there for you the way that you were there for me. I wish I could have been somebody you could lean upon, somebody who was more open, more willing to carry your burdens. You took so many of mine, and I couldn’t reciprocate. I didn’t reciprocate. I didn’t try.
I wish that I could have been honest with you, had explained to you the gulf and the grief that I was feeling. I did not know the truth of who I was; I could not open that truth to you. I was a time bomb that I couldn’t diffuse, and you were on the front line.
I wish that I had been more attentive. I wish I had been a better friend.
I am not writing this for you.
I am not writing this to find your good grace after these many years. The bridge is burnt, and we have moved on to different lives. It has taken me a long time, but I have set aside the dream of reconciliation, the fantasy that you and I could set things aright. I do not want to live in that dream anymore; it is not fair to you.
I hope that you are growing. I hope that you are far away from the city we shared. I hope that you have forgotten me, opposed to how I have not forgotten you. But I doubt it’s true.
This is not my penance. I have not forgotten, and I do not forgive — myself least of all. I do not excuse myself. You are not a lesson for me to learn or a moral of my story. You are a person whose complexity I forgot in the heart of my own selfishness. I will remember you. I will not forget.
I wish you better days ahead. I wish you great love.
I wish you light. I wish you free. I wish you peace.