Tag Archive | friendship

Leftover hurt

This morning, I saw Facebook pictures of this girl on a night out with my friends.  I was surprised to find myself tearing up, surprised that even now, the sight of her with them still felt like a punch to the gut. She and I had a history, if having someone you loved and trusted go behind your back and turn all your friends against you can be called a history. It left me completely isolated and unable to trust anyone when I desperately needed a support system to deal with bipolar disorder.

But that was more than a year ago. I had already forgiven her, even without her asking. I had forgiven the people who, for months, had listened to her talking against me without telling me anything. I even started spending time with them again, getting back some of the closeness that had been lost. Some friendships never completely recovered, but a few precious ones became stronger than before.

So why did it still hurt?

I searched myself for any desire for revenge, a longing perhaps to see her as isolated as I had been. It honestly wasn’t there. In a twisted way, I understood that what she did was justified to her, and that she had suffered as well. It was never her betrayal that did the most damage anyway, it was the passive response to it of people whom I trusted to have my back. But even those relationships have been slowly repaired.

Gradually, it dawned on me why the wound never completely healed. It was never acknowledged. After the debacle, I withdrew from everybody involved to struggle with my depression on my own. Some made efforts to reach out, but I felt too wary and vulnerable, too exhausted and battered, to respond. It was a long while before I got back in touch, and by that time everyone, including myself, just wanted things to be normal. The incident was glossed over, forgotten, never spoken of again. I could only really talk about it to one person, but to everyone else, it might as well never have happened.

I thought all I needed to do so that I could move on was to forgive. But there’s still some leftover hurt beneath the surface, an aching need for someone to say, “Yes, this happened. It was traumatic, and it hurt you — you’re allowed to be hurt. I’m hurting for you, too.” With life going on as usual, it seemed like the pain didn’t matter, that it wasn’t of any consequence to anyone, even to myself. I buried it under my desire to go back to the way things were, but this morning it reminded me that I still didn’t have closure. It reminded me that forgiveness is one thing, but healing takes not only time, but an acknowledgement that the wound is real in the first place.


The Dumaguete Escapade

That week, it was wonderful. That week, I was lying on the grass, getting caught in the rain, sitting on a balcony with my feet up beside yours. I was listening to music beside a sunlit pond and laughing in the dark at something only the two of us understood. You were here. We took two thousand photographs and made a lot more memories, and it still wasn’t enough. Only seven days. The time went by too fast.

Now this city has our mark on it, and with you gone, I see it everywhere. That sidewalk where I almost fell down laughing from that hilarious story you told. That restaurant we went to when you arrived and just before you left. That cozy café that was so comfortable we both fell asleep on the cushions. That field where I watched you play frisbee through the camera lens. That bench where we sat and watched the ocean at night. That lily pool where you took a ridiculous amount of frog pictures. Even now, this place still echoes with our footsteps and laughter. I have a feeling it always will.

Some people don’t believe that you can love someone this much without being “in love” with them. But I have been in and out of love before, and this is different. This is unique. No roller coaster ride, no heartbreak, just the steady assurance of knowing we have a place in each other’s lives. It’s simple and easy — and it’s enough for both of us. It’s perfect.

I miss you. But that’s okay. In a few months, in the city we both love most and call home, I will see you soon. 🙂


Two friends. One city. Seven days.


Day 29 — The person you want to tell everything to, but are too afraid

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.  ~Albert Schweitzer

To someone who wants to be there for me,

I want to tell you everything. I want to lean on you for a while, to allow myself the unimaginable luxury of resting in your strength. I know that you care. And yet I hold back.

I hold back because sometimes, caring isn’t enough. It isn’t the same as being willing to enter the battlefield as a soldier, knowing it isn’t going to be easy. And that is what I need most in my life right now — someone who is willing to fight for me and with me. And honestly, I don’t know if I can ask this of you. I don’t know if I can ask it of anyone.

So I pretend. When we’re together, I use cheerfulness as a shield. I hide my need and my longing behind smiles and wit, for they are the easiest escape. And you laugh right along with me, but there are times when I can see something in your eyes. A patient understanding, perhaps, like you’re just waiting for me to finally let you in. Can you see through me? Will it be enough?

You see, I’ve tried this before. I let someone in, asked him to lend me his strength. I took the incredible risk of exposing the vulnerability of my conflicted heart. And just when I was finally learning to rely on someone else, just when I allowed myself to get used to not being alone, he changed his mind. That’s when I realized that caring isn’t enough. Now there’s an invitation in your eyes whenever I see you, the same invitation that I once accepted from someone else. Will it be different this time? Or will you also change your mind?

I need you more than I allow myself to admit. But still, I hold back.



Day 26 — The last person you made a pinky promise with

Let go. Why do you cling to pain?

~ Leo Buscaglia

Dear JB,

It wasn’t an easy promise to make, was it? I think I used up a month’s supply of charm and persuasiveness just to get you to agree. But it’s worth it, if I can save you from a few mistakes. You’re hurting enough, JB. I didn’t want you to have any more regrets.

The thing is, I understand, perhaps better than you think. This is the kind of hurt that fills your every waking moment, and makes you desperate for anything that will make it stop, even for a while. Anything that will help you forget and allow you to be someone else aside from a person who’s broken inside.  I’ve been there. But I assure you, it won’t always be this bad. It won’t always be this difficult. You won’t always have to pretend you’re okay. Sooner or later, the hurt will subside and your smiles will be real again. I hope it’s sooner, because I haven’t seen your smile for so long. I miss it.

You’ve never broken a promise to me before. I believe in you, JB. We have thirteen more days. You can do this. 🙂



Day 25 — The person you know that is going through the worst of times

God uses even the bitterness of tears to cleanse our hearts and unveil the sweetness of our souls. ~ from Reflections

To someone infinitely precious,

You are one of the most amazing people I have ever met.  There’s a light inside you, a glow, that comes from your soul, and it shines on everyone around you. You are sweet and beautiful and kind. And you are also one of the strongest women I know.

But you don’t always have to be. You’re allowed to be weak sometimes, to break down. You’re allowed to feel whatever you feel, whether or not it makes sense. Right now, you don’t feel like being wise, or capable, or ideal. It’s okay. People may have put you on a pedestal, but you don’t have to stay there.  I love you, whether you’re standing tall with a smile or kneeling down crying. Others will, too. The ones that matter, the ones that deserve you, will love you anyway.

You are dearer to me than my own heart. And it hurts so much because I know this darkness well — I am familiar with it, in a way that I had hoped that you will never, ever have to be. But despite the pain I’m feeling for you, I know that your light is bright enough. It may flicker, but it will never completely go out. I know this because I know the Source of your flame, and it is eternal. It will lead you through the dark and into the dawn again.

I believe in you always. And I may not be close enough to hold your hand, but in every beat of my heart, there’s a prayer for you, and a dose of faith that all will be well.  I love you so, so much. You are not alone.



Day 24 — The person that gave you your favorite memory

My feet will never get tired of walking with you.

~ you

Dear Legolas,

Thinking back on my favorite memories, the moments when I felt truly and wonderfully alive, I realize that in so many of them, you’re with me. Those times together have something in common, some indefinable magic that keeps them vividly colored in a gallery of sepia recollections and black and white nostalgia. How can I possibly decide which is best?

Let me see. Shall I pick that wet afternoon when we drew the sun on the ground while the rain drummed on our umbrellas? Or perhaps that time we caught fireflies in the dew-soaked grass? Maybe I should choose that day we sailed a paper boat on the koi pond in our favorite hideout. But what about the night we gathered frangipani blossoms after the storm? It is impossible to take one and say it is better than the others. I would not have missed even a single second for the world.

Remembering our escapades and misadventures, our little traditions and quirks, I realize that they’re all simple pleasures, things I can do with anyone whenever I want to. But I know that it won’t be the same. It won’t be us, it won’t have that whimsical, adventurous feeling that I’ve never found in any other friendship. Sure, I can go places with others, but it won’t be the same as taking the simplest stroll with you.  Together, we have walked countless roads, some to places we’ve never been before, others to old, familiar haunts that hold so much of our history that we have given them new names known only to us — the Parthenon, Toad Island, the Bahay, etc. Every step on every path moves us closer to discovering each other, and even ourselves.

Perhaps that is one of the reasons this friendship is so special — for two very different people, we reflect each other with unusual clarity. When I’m with you, I recognize myself better, and you see truths about me that I’ve never known before. You can tell me things that no one else understands, knowing that there is no judgment between us, only trust. We are safe with each other.

And I miss that feeling. I miss you. And soon, really soon, we’ll have the chance to make new memories again. I’m counting the days.  🙂



Day 21 — Someone you judged by their first impression

The first time I see your face, everything around me will fade to the background. I’ll be struck full by the truth in your gaze as you work an indelible change in me. ~Brooke Fraser

To someone genuinely amazing,

I will never forget that look in your eyes that night. It was like you couldn’t believe that I was real, standing there right  in front of you after being gone so long. As I looked at you looking at me, I wondered how it was possible for you to care that much. Yet I couldn’t doubt what I saw.

The day we met, I knew you were someone extraordinary. There was just something about you, something real and wonderful that drew people in, that made them want to be part of your sphere. Without even trying, you stood out from the crowd. And so I didn’t allow myself to expect too much of our new friendship. With everybody wanting you, I was sure you’d move on to other things sooner or later. Maybe, I thought, once in a while we’d pass by each other and  smile. That would have to be enough.

And yet you stayed.  With the spotlight on you and everybody knowing who you are, you stayed. I’d go through my crazy ups and downs, appearing and disappearing from your life, and you’d still be there — holding out a hand, waiting for me to take it. I never did, thinking you were just being nice, and that I shouldn’t bother you when you had so many other things clamoring for your attention. But maybe I should have. Maybe I should have let myself take a chance.

Because there was something in your eyes when you looked at me that night, something that might have been an offer of strength, an invitation to trust. And when you held me close, I felt — for the first time in along while — just a little less alone. And I am so tired of being alone.


A friend