It never ceases to surprise me how close the past is. Adages tell us that what’s gone is gone, but neglect to mention this only applies to events and circumstances. However fortunate (or unfortunate) the case, relationships and feelings from the past are never completely erased.
Why so much nostalgia? Other than the usual bouts that randomly overcome me from time to time, there is the fact that one of my old friends from high school came to visit. As much as I am ashamed to admit, even after all these years and everything I have been through, the presence of someone from “when I was skinny” changed everything. Even before he got here.
Toothbrush hanging out of my mouth, I stared at myself in the mirror yesterday. I should tell him not to come, I thought. He’ll think I’m fat. The thought snuck up on me from behind, startling me into a quiet, self-hating submission, just as my eating disorder had (has?). I don’t deny that most of my thoughts are of the self-hating nature, but this one was different in the sense I didn’t realize I was thinking it at the moment it came to me.
It’s a strange phenomenon when a momentary bridge is created between your (otherwise disconnected) subconscious and conscious minds.
I tried to push the thought away, but it took on a life of its own, and, in doing so, painted our entire evening together with somewhat translucent shades of black and blue. The friend I was so excited to see the night before now became the object upon which I placed all my fears.
I would like to blame all the awkwardness on him; after all, he was always shy and awkward, but I know it wouldn’t be fair. I suppose, before our meeting, I hadn’t realized how much I have changed since that day in late November when he first told me he was gay.
I will admit (with great shame) that I am guilty of Facebook stalking my friends, but only because I want so badly to know that they haven’t left me behind entirely. I need to know that parts of them still secretly yearn for the days of the “lunch table” with the peanut-butter filled can of diet coke in the center and the continuous debate over whether or not our English teacher was a pervert.
I have spent so much time clinging to the past with a death grip that I have completely neglected the fact I am no longer who I was. Before my friend came, I was worried as to how different he would be: how would he look, what would he say, who would he be?
What I found, after several hours, was that the only friend I have kept since MIDDLE school hadn’t changed a bit: he was still a little awkward, still a little quiet, and still VERY polite. Instead, it was me who had changed: I was no longer quiet, but instead spewed words forth in a stream of verbal diarrhea. The relationship was exactly the same, but the dynamic completely different.
Somewhere along the way, I had become unable to deal with the silence–unable to deal with the thoughts my mind filled the silence with. I had become someone who was so afraid of herself, she couldn’t bare to sit in silence for even a second. I want so badly to remain friends with this person, but his silence reminds me so much of everything wrong in my life, everything wrong in me.
What I wouldn’t give to be thin again.
Have any of you ever felt this before? Where you meet an old friend and realize everything is the same but entirely different? How do you deal with it?
How do you keep a friend that you care about a lot but reminds you of the worst in yourself? Would you?