Every once in a while, if you’re paying attention, you will pass a particular window. You don’t know it’s different until you’re right up on it. It’s something familiar, but somewhere you’ve never been. It’s a window to a view that you are not typically privy to. What you see has the power to keep your thoughts, questions, or even subconscious ideas from going off on their own.
To some people, I am a woman they once knew who sinned and disappeared. But, I didn’t really disappear, I’m still here. I’m actually geographically closer to all of them than I was when I sinned. But,that’s beside the point. I am this woman who sinned so big that they either pretend to not know me when they see me, or they find a way to make sure that I know I disgust them.
Or, at least that’s the way it was during the first three years after. Now they don’t know me. And I either never see any of them or I don’t recognize them when I do. I don’t know them either. We’re all different people now.
So here we are with a lot of distance between then and now, me and them, but I still think about them once in a while. Memory is a funny thing and I know this. I know that if our parting words left me with a negative feeling, it will taint the older memories and rob them of their purity. I really have to fight the demonizing of all of my memories with them. It is the human mind’s way of surviving their loss and nurturing my self-worth. It’s psychology.
So, I set myself up to fail at making demons of people who are done with me. I have a coffee mug that an old friend gave me for Valentine’s Day. It’s probably twelve-years-old and is chipped in a few places. Most people, when they have a falling out with a friend, will get rid of the things that remind them of the other person. But, I kept this mug. It keeps the facts as they are and not as my mind would make them. When I drink out of that mug, and it’s in the regular mug rotation, I think of who we were together when she gave it to me. My mind has already started to make her fade into a loss I can survive, but the mug reminds me of the innocence we used to have.
So, back to the window…
I was speaking at a conference last weekend when I met someone I had, until then, only talked to through emails. I immediately liked her. She had this dance in her eyes that let me know her sense of humor and my sense of humor were going to be great friends.
I’m not sure how it happened, but our conversation went from funny one-offs to her telling me a serious story about a woman who hurt her deeply. It was a woman whose sin looked a bit like mine. As I watched her talk, her idiosyncrasies started to look exactly like one of my old friends. Her pauses, the way her forehead moved with her emotion…. And then this window made itself known.
Everything she was saying was the same thing that people say about me. The pain, the betrayal, and even putting words to the unknown. Remember how I said that people’s minds alter information to increase the survival of their heart? She was on the others side of my story, telling me about her pain. I was who I am to my old friends and who I was to her at the same time. Who I was to her was sipping a glass of wine with her, who I am to them was peeking through the window as they had a conversation about me.
I think we both were peering through a window to see a view we’re not usually privy to.