The Forgiving Zipper

I really miss Cindy and Mary Ann.

We had a fight over a year ago and now I think our friendship has ended. I made some mistakes, hell, I made a lot of mistakes and I’m not proud of the way I acted. But I tried to make amends. I called. I wrote letters. I sent gifts and I apologized. I worried myself sick.

I tried to make-up because I love them and because they’re more than just my friends.  And I told them this. They’re a part of my life and my history.  They’re a link to my past and I always assumed they’d be a part of my future.  I always pictured us growing old together, sipping tea, and telling the same old stories  – and laughing at them for the zillionth time. I tried hard to let them know that everything that transpired was my fault because I was afraid to talk to them and come clean with my plans and lying and misdirection came a hell of a lot easier to me as usual.  I said ‘I’m sorry’ over and over and I meant it from my nervous stomach to my broken heart but I guess I fucked up too royally this time around because now instead of having coffee at their kitchen table and chatting about nonsense and calling each other at all hours of the day and night over the most trivial things, the people I thought of as my two best friends in the world now think I’m a stalker with a fetish for stating the obvious who just won’t leave them alone.

They changed cell phone numbers and email addresses and cancelled their Twitter accounts so I couldn’t contact them and in this digital age that’s really kind of permanent. They vilified me to their family  – this one hurts the most because I always assumed I was a part of their family – and worst of all they made me feel like I was begging them to be my friend while pleading for forgiveness and crying my eyes out.

I’ve known both of these people for most of my life and still they won’t forgive me.  They won’t speak to me or give me a verbal chance to explain. They won’t even fake it and say ‘okay’ and then ignore me later.

I’m not sure where to go from here because I know I would forgive them anything.

Since I live in another state there aren’t many options left open to me in lieu of calling at work again (I tried this once and was told they were unavailable) or pounding on their front door. I’m stuck in some friendless limbo and it weirds me out because all of my senses are reporting back to me that Cindy and Mary are now dead and emotionally this is both a shitty and disturbing observation. But because I can’t stop feeling this way and because I know what the death of a good friend feels like, I’m sure the dreams are going to start soon and that scares me.

I still have dreams about my best friend Martina who died way too young in a car accident by crashing head first into a garbage truck. In my dreams she’s alive and she looks the same way she did on the day I lost her.  She’s laughing and arguing with me and we’re having fun doing that same two-headed stuff best friends always do. We’re driving in her car singing along to the radio. We’re shopping at the mall and laughing at crazy shit that only we understand. We’re making fun of people and talking about new diets. We’re swimming in streams where “no swimming” signs are posted, eating at the food court, talking about guys, movies and our futures or getting shit-faced drunk in the park.

It’s wonderful and intoxicating and if there was a way to control dreams I’d want these hazy moments to last forever. I’d hold my breath and stash the images in my back pocket and then force them out of my mind and onto the surface of morning straight into a flowing river of misplaced reality. I’d wake up, make coffee, and chat with my long passed friend.

But instead, these images are transient and doomed and allow me only a temporary fix. In these waking moments I remember that Martina is dead and buried and her remains are in an ash can next to her 98 year old grandmother in a cemetery on a pretty hillside in Duryea, Pennsylvania. I realize I’ll never speak to her again, or shop or sing all because she zigged when she should have zagged while changing the radio station and not paying attention to traffic on a busy highway on a sunny day in May thirteen days before her 29th birthday.

The pain is always inside me; the kind of deep routed ache I’d never wish for anyone to experience. Some days I want to shove it away and kick it out of my life and other days I demand that it never leave me. The memories are all I have left of some of the best times of my life and I don’t care that they make me sad.  It’s a sadness I hold tight and feed upon, most days with a side helping of regret.

I had a fight with Martina in high school that is so insignificant now I can barely remember how it started.  What I do remember is she did some silly high school thing that pissed me off and we didn’t speak for three days. Since we were best friends this was pretty big news. Martina said she was sorry and she apologized over and over to me and instead of forgiving her I gave her the cold shoulder much like Cindy and Mary are giving me. Then on the third day we were standing by our lockers and when I turned around at the sound of the class bell, the wire spiral on my notebook somehow got stuck in the zipper of her uniform slacks.

We stared at each other and neither of us knew what to say. I tried to tug the tablet but nothing happened.  It was stuck pretty good. I wanted to stay mad, but seriously, how could I? Martina looked at me nervously and smiled and I smiled back and then she said something I’ll never forget:

“If you don’t want to be my friend anymore the least you can do is keep your tablet out of my pants.”

Pretty smart words to live by even today.

Which brings me back to Cindy and Mary.  There’s nothing worse than being denied absolution especially when it’s from people you love and especially when you’re so sorry that your heart aches from a pain so deep you’re drowning in it.  Maybe I’m too easy with forgiveness today after the lesson Martina taught me but I think I’d rather be a fool and take a chance on fate than close myself off by hardening my heart and changing my phone number.  I don’t know why it’s so difficult for some people to say ‘I forgive you’ but if I had to guess I’d say that maybe it’s because there’s more perceived virtue in the act of forgiveness itself than there is in the asking.  And virtue is always a stubborn bitch.

Until it gets caught in your best friend’s zipper.


One Comment Add yours

  1. John says:

    What an amazing post. So honest and poignant. I’m sorry ur friends are shunning u. It’s cruel. I hope they change their minds.

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