“I am bent, but not broken. I am scarred, but not disfigured. I am sad, but not hopeless. I am tired, but not powerless. I am angry, but not bitter. I am depressed, but not giving up.”Author unknown
I have a friend, a special friend…I think of her often. She wanders in and out of my thoughts.
Do you know how that feels? I miss her now that she is no longer here. We used to sit and drink coffee together and talk about random topics. Not important issues really, just the everyday events and experiences of life. We laughed! She had a knack for making you feel good.
I liked spending time with her, but we did not see each other often, not every week, and sometimes it would be a month or longer.
Then there was an inexplicable change. I could feel it, but I could not put my finger on it. There was a flash of feeling, a question. What was it?
We spent a bit more time together, she stopped by more often, and she asked to go with me a few extra times. Nothing dramatic or compelling, only slightly different. There was a whisper…..
Then, nothing. There were no emails, no phone calls, no visits…only silence.
It did not seem unusual at first; the difference was slight. It felt more like a shift back to the old normal. There used to be times when we did not talk or see each other. But it did not feel right.
Then there was an email. I was so excited. She was back. Open the darn thing, I could not open it fast enough. Where have you been?
Shock! It was not where have you been. It was where she was now.
She had turned her world upside down.
It all came rushing together. Now I understood. There had always been hints, little bits of insight about her home life, and there had been more chunks of it right before she disappeared. I knew she was unhappy, but I was stunned when I read her words.
There had been a small window of opportunity, and she jumped through it. She ran. There would not be any more casual conversations over coffee, not anytime soon.
She had been planning this for a very long time. There just needed to be that time, the right time. I had no clue.
I was stunned, and I was in awe of her. She was such a strong, scrappy woman. I sat there, re-read her email and cried. I was sad for her and what she had been hiding. She had told no one.
She was miles away, such a long way. In another state at the other end of the country, but I had no address yet, and no phone number to call. A request not to tell anyone and the information that someone would probably contact me looking for her. The plea, so urgent, please pretend you have not heard from me.
The call came, then again and again. So many questions. Where is she? Had I heard from her? He needed to know. He questioned why I did not know, why I could not answer him.
I lied, of course, I lied to him, over and over again. No, the answer I gave him, was always no. No, I have not heard from her. I am worried too; I hope she contacts you soon. When she does, please tell her I am thinking of her. They were all lies. He was not worthy of anything more than that. I would protect her.
He told me he was going to the police to file a missing person’s report. Shit! Now what? She does not want him to find her.
What should I do? She was going through so much, trying to settle in and make a new life. She was afraid. There was the constant worry that somehow he would find her.
I sent off an email, not sure it would reach her. She was in the process of changing everything. Please call me. I need to talk to you. Waiting for that call was agony.
I knew if he filed a missing person’s report, they would find her. He would know where she was. She called, and we talked for a long time. What should she do? She decided to contact one of his relatives. In the end, he did not file the report.
He never talked to her directly. Eventually, there was contact by email. He demanded she come back. He would change; things would be different. Yeah, when pigs fly!
She hired a lawyer. There were mutual investments and property. She had to deal with that, and eventually, it happened. Finally, it was no longer necessary for any contact. She still had the fear that he would find her.
Gradually life went on for my friend. She created a new life, but it was different. She was different. There was the never-ending relief that the relationship was over, but she was having a difficult time finding a new rhythm. There were so many changes.
It has been almost three years. I miss her. I miss the smiling face, the twinkle in her eyes, the warmth she radiated. She was, and, is my friend. I no longer take her for granted.
We still talk, of course, and email back and forth. It is not the same. The friendship and the way we care for each other has not changed. It is the same, but it is more intensified now. I want to be able to sit next to her and drink coffee. My dream is to surprise her. Buy a plane ticket and knock on her door.
You see now there is something new, a new threat, my friend has cancer.
What happens now? Will I ever see her again?