I could feel shock go through me. My eyes grew wide, my mouth gaped for a moment, and I asked him to repeat himself.
He did. He hadn’t realized I didn’t know.
How was I supposed to know? You haven’t spoken to me in over a year.
Tears came to my eyes immediately, but I quickly composed myself and focused my attention back to him. This wasn’t about you. This conversation was about what he was saying to me, about the life changes he was going through. And I could give him my complete attention.
A little while later though, my mind repeated the same phrase over and over again. Instead of your name, I kept saying “my best friend.”
But really? You? You’re my best friend? You? Of all people? You who left me without looking back? You who made one horrible life decision after another? You who deserted me? You who turned your back on the support I offered you? You who dismissed people who have always loved you? You who robbed me of the honor and blessing of sharing this life together with our other friends and family? You who I called brother unabashedly and proudly only to be tossed aside as if I were someone you knew for a day?
No. No, you’re not my best friend. ‘Friend’ is a sacred word to me and it will be reserved for those who care for me and allow me to care for them.
I have learned one thing within the past fourteen months: You are not the person I thought you were.
You were clearly gearing up to ask a question. The words were actually seconds away from spilling out of your mouth and I freaked out.
I had no control over what you would say.
Before I could even stop myself, I hurled a question at you before you could get yours out. It’s not that it was an invalid question. I really was wondering. I always wonder a million things and, if we had time, I would pick your brain on so many different subjects. But we don’t have time for that and we both know it.
But I couldn’t help it. I blurted the question quickly and you went with it. Effortless. Sometimes it’s effortless for me to take the conversation and go wherever I want to with it. And I know that sometimes you realize what I’m doing and you let me do it anyway. Actually I think that’s how it is a lot of the time now.
But I hate that it’s so effortless that even I can’t control it. It’s second nature. When did I learn to do that? I don’t know. Why did I learn to do that? Not sure, but I have a pretty good guess.
And why do I feel the need to have control over the conversation? Why am I happy to have that control? I don’t know if happy is the right word… But why do I feel safe when I’m in control if the conversation topic?
Is that why people seek control? For safety? To feel secure, like nothing can touch them? Because I think that’s why I want it sometimes.
I let you take back some control when I had stopped you from asking your question because I felt safe now. Because I had manipulated the conversation to stay away from the unknowns that your question could so easily lead it to.
It really shouldn’t be this effortless.