An Apology

Feb 1, 2014 by

“I respect myself too much to stay in a situation that doesn’t honour me.”

– Unknown


          Sometimes, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to do the rest of my life. This is one of those times. I feel like I’ve lost my future; you were in all my visions of it. Olivia, the end we never thought would come is here. You are moving out, and I’m at Starbucks, pretending none of this is happening. Forcing myself out of denial just long enough to express genuine remorse, I would like to sincerely apologize for the role I played in the deterioration of our friendship. Every scar it has left on my heart is cracking open, and I deserve to feel the leaking blood. There were many intentionally hurtful things I’ve said and done to you over the years that I wish I could undo. I thought you deserved them, because you hurt me first. You did not. Know that I now know that.

          I am torturing myself with mental replays of years’ worth of fights. Most have blurred together in my mind, but one sticks out in particular. It was in our apartment last winter, before happiness was on my radar. As usual, I was crying on the bathroom floor, dismissing your attempts to comfort me. When enough anger rose to motivate me up, I blamed you for putting me there. Again, I had linked whatever I was crying about back to second year. Despite my yelling, you hugged me in attempt to stop my tears. Not having it, I forcefully shoved you, screaming at you to get away from me. I can’t remember the words I shouted, but I know they were sharp, because what I do remember is your reaction. You did not push me back. You did not raise your voice in retaliation. You did not defend yourself. You broke. Your bottom lip quivered and your eyes filled with water that did not form tears, as if your tears were not allowed.

          “Please,” you shakily spoke, “stop.”

          With that, I crumbled back to the floor, ashamed of the person I had let myself become by using you as my scapegoat. I had broken you like I didn’t know I could make someone break.

          Many times since then, I’ve watched reruns of that moment in my head to prevent myself from ever forgetting what I was capable of before happiness. I’ve cried to near vomit thinking about it. I never wanted to do that to anyone again, especially you. Sadly, I would. I would go on to continue to hurt you with my distance, my disregard, and my fierce tongue. I have an unfortunate talent for twisting the English language into prose of destruction. I’m sorry that you were the target of my verbal abuse. You deserve a best friend who can be happy for your happiness. Truthfully, I am not that person. Since I’ve begun The Happiness Experiment, too much more resentment toward you has built for me to want to keep encouraging you to go after your dreams and applauding your successes. I’ve come to realize how much our friendship held me back, and I will not go anywhere but forward. I’m sorry that you feel this is me giving up on us.

          “You don’t know what this feels like,” you recently argued me in anger. “My best friend doesn’t want me anymore. That’s what this feels like for me.”

          I threw your statement back at you. “I don’t know what that feels like?” I rhetorically repeated. “The entire reason that we’ve been fighting since second year is because you didn’t want me.”

          You were silent, but I had not won. I wouldn’t wish the feeling of being unwanted on anyone, not even the girl who had previously made it my reality. It kills me that I am serving it to you. My decision to exclude you from my life has far more to do with me than it has to do with you. This is not me giving up on us; this is me refusing to give up on myself.

          Even so, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that we don’t have more drunken memories, because I was always DD and you were always backup DD. I’m sorry that there isn’t more proof of the times our friendship was good, because I didn’t want to be in the pictures. I’m sorry that I put you through hell, because I thought you deserved it; I was too far gone to see that you did not. I’m sorry that I crossed the line by saying what I did to you early last month. In over eight years of friendship, you had never given me the silent treatment until that moment (I’ve got to say, after nearly one month of it, it turns out to be an uncanny ability of yours), so it is evident that I caused you severe pain. For that, I apologize. If I knew it would make you suffer to the degree that it has, if I knew it would make you look at me like you have no love left, I wouldn’t have said it. No point is that important to prove.

          More so, I’m sorry for stripping us of the memories that were yet to come. I’m sorry that we didn’t get around to doing the things we’ll now never do. To name only a few before my heartstrings snap: David Rocco night, Vegas, and unknown gift. I’m sorry that we won’t watch Ted meet the girl with the yellow umbrella together. I’m sorry that we’ll think of each other every time we disembark from a bus at Port Authority. I’m sorry that I won’t be at your performances. I’m sorry that I won’t be the one to deliver the maid of honour toast at your wedding. I’m not sure what to do with all the content that I’ve mentally banked for it over the years. It would have been hilarious because I am, but mostly because we were.

          Olivia, I’m sorry that we each lost our best friend. I’m sorry that you were willing to fight for us, and I ultimately was not. Know that my decision to end our friendship hurts me too. I’m sorry for the instances to come when people will ask each of us where the other is, in which we’ll struggle to keep our eyes dry and answer in all honesty that we don’t know. I’m sorry that we will become strangers. Rather, I’m sorry that we already are. Above all, I’m sorry that you knew me at my worst, and that I didn’t let you love me at my best. I’m sorry that I didn’t properly introduce you to the person I’ve become because of The Happiness Experiment. You would have liked her.

          Ironically, I’ve just written three paragraphs of sorry when you know that I think the word sorry is bullshit. Sorry needs to be backed by corresponding actions in order to take on meaning. Thus, words aside, my act of ending our friendship is my true apology – to both of us. I am freeing us, Olivia. I am ridding us of ongoing hurt and disappointment, and replacing them with the happiness bound to come in each other’s absences. It is my hope that you can one day see my apology as the opportunity that is, rather than the abandonment that it appears to be.

          On a final note, I’m sorry to the people in Starbucks that are courteously but awkwardly pretending that they don’t see my tears right now. Public crying is so pre-happiness-experiment; but, if there was ever a day for me to cry, it is today. Better in Starbucks than on the bathroom floor (if it’s still there).

Happiness Tip: Know when to let someone go.

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