A week or so ago, I got a message from someone I have not seen in nearly 30 years. The last time I saw them, we were like siblings – so close, almost like lovers (except that we were each romantically involved with others in our small circle of friends). We were each others’ protectors and confidantes, through all the relationship drama that happens when you’re 22 years old.
I haven’t had that kind of a friendship with anyone, since – even my spouse.
That was back when I was drinking myself silly, most days. I was also still struggling with the after-effects of at least 5 mild TBIs, during my high school years. Plus, I was a falling-down drunk, so I may have hit my head during one of my forays, too.
Long story short, we parted ways under very bad circumstances. I was an ass. And I split without an explanation. Just picked up and left and never responded to the letters they sent.
I was so lost, so confused, so messed-up and furious with the world. And when I started to get clearer and cleaned up my act, I tried looking for them online. But I found nothing, other than a single picture of them at a holiday party with an organization they worked for.
Then nothing. I searched again, but the picture was taken down. I can find pretty much anyone or anything online, so the fact that they were nowhere to be found made me think they were dead. It was crushing. I had wrecked things so badly with us, because of so much I had not figured out… and I believed I’d lost my chance to apologize and make amends.
Fast forward a few years. Doing a search, I found them again – just a single mention of their name at an organization where they worked, in the town where they had lived when I’d known them. No picture, no telephone, but I knew it was them. I toyed with the idea of getting back in touch, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it as well as I wanted.
Fast forward a few more years, and another search shows them at a different organization in their town. Again, no telephone number or email. Again, I couldn’t figure out what to do.
So, I gave up. And I downloaded one of the songs we used to sing along to, back in the day. I listened to it, now and then, while driving around.
Then I stopped. That was over. It was done. Let it go.
Fast forward again… to last month. All of a sudden, a message from them shows up. They reached out to me. They found me. And they wanted to make contact.
It was something I thought would never, ever happen. But there it was.There they were.
I wrote a note back, and then wrote another. They responded. Then I wrote an extended apology and explanation for why I disappeared. I left out the TBI stuff. Why blame that? I was just an ass, is all. And young.
I haven’t heard back from them. It was a very honest, heartfelt note, and I can imagine they have some catching up to do with their own perspective. We’d had one one of those epic friendships, like soldiers do. Or castaways on a desert island, building a raft together, to head for the open sea and look for more help.
It’s been an emotional bunch of days. I’ve gone through over 25 years worth of upheaval, since last week, but now things are calming down, and it feels good. Like I’ve finally put that one missing piece of the puzzle in place. I don’t know if they’ll ever get back to me again, but the fact is, I finally finally got the chance to say, “I’m sorry. I did wrong.”
And that’s all I’ve really ever wanted.