I don’t expect that you will get to read this. But I am writing this for myself. You know how my thoughts need to get written down so I can make sense of them, and then preserved, so I can learn from them.
I saw pictures of your wedding posted by a common friend. The pictures made me think two things simultaneously, one quite shallow, and the other worth pondering:
- If I were still your best friend, I would have advised against the size of your hair accessory. You would have taken my advice.
- I would have been happy to be there, but I’m just as happy not being there.
The second thought warrants elaboration. I have let most among our common circles assume that the reason we stopped being friends was my fault entirely. I guess that could be argued, because although it was you who burned bridges, from the moment I made the decision to begin dating your crush, I knew that you would interpret my actions as a betrayal you could not overlook. Never mind that he never reciprocated your feelings, and, more importantly, that you yourself were seeing someone else at the time (consequently, your husband now). That circumstance should have made our friendship survive my “betrayal.” It’s like how in Riverdale, when Veronica and Archie told Betty that they were dating, Betty was totally cool with it, because she was with Jughead.
Alas, you chose not to remain friends. I believe that at the time, although you were very happy with your boyfriend, a part of you still clung to the possibility of ending up with “Archie.” Why else would our relationship have affected you so deeply? As long as he remained available, you were not ready to give your heart fully to anyone. But you would have been such a bad match. Opposites, much like the two of us.
I watched you harbor your feelings for so long, and I always knew as much as he did that you ending up with him would have spelled disaster. I watched you turn resentful as your feelings remained unreciprocated.
Then one day, you asked me out to lunch, and I knew that day was different. I remember how you brought me to a fancy restaurant that I hadn’t tried before. You could hardly contain your smile, and as soon as we had placed our orders, you broke into a full grin and said, “I met someone nice.” I could tell he was different from the previous guys you dated. I detected no trace of settling for second best, no hint of a subconscious desire to be distracted from the one you couldn’t have. It was apparent from the beginning that you were really into this guy. Even then, I could imagine you one day marrying him.
It’s funny how at first, we may think that our story has taken a turn for the worst, only to realize later on that the conflict was needed to ensure our happy ending. I remember how as schoolgirls, we would spend hours after class, conjuring up our own fantasies, exploring all the what ifs.
Well here’s the biggest “what if” of our lives. What if I had not begun dating Archie? Would you have ended up married to the love of your life? Or would you have clung to the hope of feelings finally reciprocated? Would you have spent more years asking “what if?” We will never know now. But it was a solid possibility. After all, it’s the “what ifs” that are difficult to forget. Had I not dated Archie, had there been a tiny shred of hope that you could end up together, you may have missed your chance to experience love with no skeletons.
I dashed all hope that we would remain friends. It was a sad ending to a truly beautiful friendship. But inadvertently, I also cleared the rubble from the path leading to something even more beautiful–your ultimate happiness. If we were still friends, I would have been at your wedding, maybe telling all the guests about how giddy you were when you told me you had met such a great guy. But if we were still friends, you might not have had that special day at all. Who knows? It’s not a cookie cutter world. So I am happy I was not at your wedding. You deserved that day of pure, boundless joy.
I wish you all the best.
All the love of a stranger,