Tale as old as time,
True as it can be,
Barely even friends,
Then somebody bends,
I awaken every morning with a song playing in my head, like an internal radio that self tunes. Typically, it is a line or two which follows me throughout my day: a personal theme song, I like to imagine. For days now, it has been the intro from “Beauty and the Beast”.
Normally, I take a moment upon rising to write down any dreams, however; I am currently under the influence of antibiotics and pain killers – treatment for a sinus infection – and my nighttime missives are elusive. I only have the song playing over and over again in my head.
I wonder if, like dreams, it is a message from the Self. I wrote a poem once entitled “Beauty and the Beast Revisited” in which the heroine marries a bear who claims to be a man, only to realize the nature of the beast remains. At my age, I am quite cynical about Disney renditions of love: call it experience.
I do believe, though, that the nature of relationships can change. “Then somebody bends….” has a ring of truth. Recently, I sent an email with the subject line: “An olive branch”, to an old friend I haven’t spoken to for sixteen years. Life is too short, I decided, to hang on to hurt, so I decided to take a risk.
We had been close friends for many years, raising our kids together, and supporting each other through trying times. Then, one day, without any explanation, she asked me not to contact her anymore. Two other friends did the same. What had been an inseparable foursome disintegrated abruptly. It was a very painful time, and for years I have wondered what sin I had perpetrated to cause such an extreme reaction.
I also built a wall to keep others out, withdrawing from all social circles and convincing myself that friendship is overrated.
I did reconnect with one of the women about eight years after, who told me that I had not been at fault, but I found her reassurance empty: why then had I been punished so? We remain estranged.
My husband does not understand my gesture: “If she was such a good friend, then no matter what you did, don’t you think she’d address it first, give you the benefit of the doubt, instead of just turning her back on you.”
This is the nature of the beast: abandonment cuts deep. Maybe I am a hopeless romantic, setting myself up for another fall.
Or perhaps, I’m an aging woman, struck down by illness, who is willing to admit fault if it mends but one path in my broken herstory.
We’ve talked on the phone and met for tea, both tearing up with sentimentality, and agreeing to meet up again.
In the meantime, the beast has reared up roaring against the injustice of a collaborative betrayal. Can I live without knowing what happened? Will I slaughter any chance of reconnecting if I bring it up? Does it matter after so many years, or is forgiveness, without question, the higher road?
(Featured image from techgnotic.deviantart.com)