For me, being in a good relationship today, and taking the time to grow up, has made me more fully recognize and appreciate the love I knew in past relationships. I wish I wasn't able to say it, but at the end of it, I have never been the good person I hoped/imagined I was.
The one that I speak to here is my days with Eric. I promised at the end of it to be the best friend that I could. Instead, terrified of my own feelings, I shut him out with the most transparent of excuses. Not surprisingly, the friendship that I once hoped to maintain is now non-existent. Technologies like Facebook let me check up on him, and in a way I find it cathartic to see how separate our lives have now become. Only today do I recognize what cowardliness drove me to do those things, to pretend I cared less than I did for the sake of looking strong. Today, some four years late, I recognize this sadness in myself.
This year is for me about knowing my weaknesses, not only of speaking my mind but of prying open my heart and for the first time since high school, letting it experience emotion as fully as I can. I try not to compare myself to other people who have struggled more, but to instead look back and admit my frailties. I very much did a wrong to this great friend of mine, who let me be myself as much as humanly possible, and who gave the first great love I've ever known. I threw it away, that friendship. But here, and for the first time to the world, I say thank you to Eric for understanding, and for not forgiving when I did wrong. Sometimes, I look for his face in his car, for him to be standing with Stormy somewhere with his girlfriend, and I think of the words I'd like to say to him to bridge the years. He isn't there. Instead, I hold in my heart gratitude for the things I drew from my time with Eric - a love for the outdoors, a tin of tea from Boulder, a pretty bottle from far away, countless other joys.
And so, the day carries forward, and I think less of myself. I come to peace with that, a real peace instead of the old coverings I once used to patch old wounds. My life is lessons from a friend, this one learned late, but learned well.