There was one person with whom I maintained a friendship in my high school years; he became my best friend through most of my most troublesome teenage years.
Until I did something really stupid.
I agreed to marry him. I was 17.
I had extremely low self esteem. No...that does not adequately describe it - I did not have ANY self esteem. At that time, I honestly believed that he was the only person who would ever love me, so when he presented me with the choice of either marrying him, or ending our friendship, I agreed to marry him.
Was I in love with him?
But I did love him. In that platonic, he-is-my-best-friend-in-the-world sort of way. I adored him. He was sweet and sensitive, he wrote me poetry and pressed dried flowers between strips of scotch tape to make bookmarks for me. He quit doing drugs for me.
He called me princess.
When I finally came to terms with the fact that I wasn't in love with him and that I never would be, I ended things. It didn't go well. He took it hard, which I expected.
He never wanted to see me again.
And I didn't see him again for a very long time. About 10 years, actually.
I went on with my life, started dating my daughter's father the same week he and I split up. That relationship ended, then another, then another. I met and married my husband.
Then one day, out of nowhere, my mother called to tell me that he was at their house looking for me. I live only a few blocks away, so I went to see what he wanted.
He wanted to know why. It turns out that he had gone on with his life too. He had been married and his wife had just left him. We talked for a while, I tried to explain to him that he just wasn't what I had wanted back then, and then we went our separate ways.
I have always regretted allowing myself to be sucked into a romance with him. He was the single most best friend I have had in my life - even to this day (aside from my husband, of course). He was completely selfless, compassionate and loving. I still miss having a friend like that, even 15 years later.
Why am I sharing this with you all today?
I got this message from him on Facebook yesterday:
Almost 20 years ago, as my family sat around the table on Thanksgiving, it was my turn to say what I was thankful for. I said, "I am thankful that I have a friend." That friend I was referring to was him, because our friendship at the time was the best thing in my life.
I have come a long way since I was that depressed teenage girl, who could only think of one thing to be thankful for. As I sit at my parent's dinner table this Thursday, I will have a laundry list of things to be thankful for.
One of the things that I am thankful for is that I was able to make that decision 15 years ago, to end that relationship and move towards the life I wanted. I have always regretting hurting him, but this person that I have become, this life that I lead...it would have never been possible if I hadn't done what I knew in my heart was the right thing to do.
Sometimes in life, we face hard decisions. Sometimes people get hurt, even if we don't want them to. Sometimes we lose people because of the decisions we make.
But you only live once...and life is too short to spend it being unhappy.