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an old lesson
Friday, Jul. 19, 2013 @ 10:25 a.m.

Once, in a time before cell phones, my mother didn't pick me up from soccer practice when she'd said she would. The phone part is actually the hinge here: a little communication could have spared me from feeling helpless and abandoned (although, in fairness, maybe not from melodramatic wording). However, as we all know, when someone you trust tells you they'll be there, you expect it. It's more than hope, it's something that you rely on. It's solid ground.

After I asked the janitor to let me back into the school and called my mother from the payphone, she came to get me. She didn't apologise, either Ė itís my mom. My mom. It was my fault for not reminding her. This is a pattern, sheís always blameless. But Iíd carefully written the dates on her calendar weeks in advance which was, in fairness, more than should reasonably have been expected of a preteen. So I did something else I deserved to do, and started an argument. My unrelenting mother, bless her soul, invariably ended it by threatening to pull me from the team. And since sheíd threatened me with something I didn't want to lose, I let it go.

That's how I learned not to threaten. You either do something or you don't. But, just like her, you always knew exactly how to scare me: in your case, by threatening to leave. Faced with losing you I had no choice but to relent. I used to chalk that up to my general inability to completely sever any tie, pushing away the nagging feeling that maybe it was because you meant something more to me than I meant to you. Until today.

We live in an age of readily accessible instant communication. I didnít want you to pick me up from soccer, I wanted you to call me Ė I wasnít allowed to call you. I wasnít even allowed to be upset that you didnít call to wish me a happy birthday. And when no more calls came, I was patient. After a few weeks, all I got was an occasional message. Now, months later, after clinging to the most minimal and inconsequential interactions for support and encouragement, I finally figured it out on my own.

You don't need me.

You would have left a dozen times if I hadn't clutched you like a lifeline.

Fully, completely and in all ways, I am replacable.

It was cold (borderline heartless) of you to finally oust me by text, and then to not answer your phone or my messages. But hereís the silver lining: you canít hurt me again by threatening to leave. You left. Youíre gone.

I didnít fade away. I was everything you asked of me. Faithful, accomodating. So very patient. Iím going to try not to feel humiliated by that. Iím going to try to forget about picnics on horseback and learning to shoot a gun and Iím going to try not to think about whether youíre planning those things with someone else instead. Or about who I replaced, whose plans I usurped. Dollars to pesos, nothing we ever shared was just between us.

And although Iím sure my replacement already has a name, itís completely irrelevant. If it wasnít her Ė if it wasnít me Ė it would be someone else. Weíre not special. There is nothing at all that either of us have, that any of us have had, that you couldnít find somewhere else. No ultimate value. Not a single thing to prevent you from continuing to hunt for the next. Maybe that means itís not about me (since it speaks volumes about you), but itís still difficult to imagine that I meant so little when I thought Ė when you told me Ė I meant so much. Why would you say it? That was the lie that took the ground out from under my feet.

Enjoy your new friend. Enjoy the one after that. Take comfort in the fact that some of us can figure it out for ourselves, leave you to it. Youíll never know what itís like to be lonely like this, to lose something you feel like you canít go without. But for the sake of the next girl, whose upbringing might not have prepared her for abandonment in the same way mine did (thanks, mom!) I hope you do discover what it means to be honest.

Because you're not replaceable. I didn't lie to you about what youíre worth to me. What you would always be worth to me. What you are, even now.

And that hurts.

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