I have prayed for many months now for the simple opportunity to see her again after all these years just to tell her that I know now. I see now how much I took her for granted, how much I under-appreciated her, how much I belittled her and how very much I never deserved her friendship at all. She was literally the most incredible person I have ever had the good fortune to have shared my life with and the greatest mistake I ever made. Despite her ever so small and irrelevant shortcomings that I spent so much time and energy obsessing over, she was the greatest friend I ever had. I never disliked her company, she was amazing in ever important way. We enjoyed going places and engaging in any number of activities together from walks in the park to personal interests in music, friends and social events. I've never had more in common with any other human being and it tears me apart on a daily basis that I was such a douche bag that I don't even get to talk to her any more. I would give the world to just see her smile once more.
She is rarely in town and I would not have this opportunity to offer my amends for another year at the soonest. I don't know what I was expecting our first encounter after five years to be like, but I had hopes which were ultimately dashed. When I made the journey after that exhausting sunburned week of work to the hotel through bus and train and every curious variety of person, I was without words and filled with just as many colorful emotions tearing me every direction upon gazing at my long lost friend. More than anything I was filled with remorse and terror, yet somehow I managed to raise my hand in a friendly wave. I wanted to do so much more, I wanted to cry and beg for forgiveness, I wanted to embrace her the way we used to with every fiber of my being, I wanted crucify myself before her and offer any kind of hope to make amends for those terribly ways that I took her for granted. All that came through that petrifying moment of emotional turmoil was a hand and a slight smile of hope.
The terror was satisfied, the remorse took over and engulfed my entire being bringing me to tears as I was turned away with her own words. The voice I had longed to her for so many years, the sound of the angel before me cut me deeper than any blade as she told me to leave before a word could slip from between my lips. "I'm so sorry...God forgive me..." echoed in whispers through my lips as I staggered for what seemed like hours in a walk that took me a mere 50 feet. Even now as I type this in my ever so meaningless journal with so few remaining friends, all I can feel is the sea of sadness that I have swam in for so long.
I was by no means in the proper psychology for any more rejection when I was asked to meet another friend whom I have also owed amends. Eric and I haven't spoken for many years either and I frequently recalled my abrasive behavior in his presence so I had similar intentions for him this weekend. Yet all I could dwell on was how much I deserved such a reaction from Melody and how very terrible I felt for causing her such grief. "I did that!" came from me over and over as I cried like a fool before my old friend. "She is still hurting after all these years and it's my fucking fault!"
Perhaps it was pity that he expressed, perhaps it was genuine, but after I told him how I felt about how I had behaved in stupid drunkenness in front of his friends and family so many times, he insisted that no apology was owed. My new found sobriety alone was amends enough. Were I not unable to cease dwelling on the damage I had caused the most important person in this years plans for redemption, I may have been able to feel more gratitude in his forgiveness.
In the end though, his integrity may have been an illusion. During our conversation, he inquired about Jen's drug use and postulated that she doesn't deserve to parent her children. More disturbingly, he solidified a number of my suspicions about her affairs. I had found numerous condoms, we haven't made love in months and our relationship has been crumbling to ruins for years so I had already assumed despite Jen's repeated denial that she was sleeping around on me. Eric would then tell me with whom, how often and quite in-ragingly, how she bragged about it with complete disregard for what was once left of the relationship we no longer share.
There are no words to express the sheer hatred I felt in the hours following this conversation. I focused on as many different things as possible doing everything in my power to forget and to enjoy myself, but ultimately I had to find a place to put that pain. That night I meditated in solitude under a power line where I directed this frustration to a darker place where it could swelter and froth until I would later be willing to confront it. The day however, had only just begun and this wouldn't take place till well on into the evening.
I focused on a great many things and people, every time I would feel the sting of this pain creeping back into my mind, I was blessed with a distraction such as an old acquaintance or friend greeting me and inquiring about my life. There was no shortage of costumes to admire, themes to experience or snack food to gorge upon, but what kept this pain at bay was primarily another. I could not stop bringing myself back to places where I could admire my previous love. I would glance upon her again and again with obsessed worry. "She's having fun right? My presence here hasn't ruined the Con for her has it?" Thoughts of guilt continued to plague me, but somehow I found guilt more tolerable than hatred.
This went on all of Friday until she left and did not reappear for the rest of the Con. There was as much joy as there was pain during those small hours but in retrospect, I always seem to forget the joys and dell on the pains.
I had invited a new friend along and he arrived a few hours after I did so showed him around and introduced him to those that I knew. After several hours of allowing him to tag along though, we broke off and went our separate ways for a time. I found comfort in the arms of another friend of many years who's been there in my darkest hours while he enjoyed his freedoms.
This man was sober like me until this time. He had managed to acquire 9 months of sobriety but when I encountered him again that night after Melody's departure and my meditations over Jen, he was drunk with abandon. I knew that I was not responsible for his relapse, but still could not stop myself from feeling responsible for introducing him to the situation. The pain had returned in full and found myself on the brink of relapse again and again, it was both the terror of where it would take me and several small prayers that saved my sobriety in those moments, but I have my friends to thank in no small amount for keeping me there. I met with Gerbil and we were catching up when Gizmo came to me in a drunken stupor and congratulated me for things that I have never done.
Apparently I was the talk of my peers, everyone in one circle of friends knew that I had flushed some drugs down a toilet keeping a dear friend from using cocaine, I had had sex with her, and had gotten into fights with numerous people that day. This was all news to me and though I stressed the truth, it was clear that I was not going to be heard. The fallout of these rumors continue to plague me today. There is no gossip in the world like that which transpires among con-goers. I only hope that none of these lies have reached the ears of Melody, but I'm not foolish or naive enough to believe for a moment that they haven't.
I fought in utter futility to control the damage, but the fight was lost the moment it began. Ms. Brown was livid about the rumors regarding sex and drugs about her and seemed to have made up her mind about leaving the state as she had already been contemplating. Another old friend, Dan, was in utter dismay as he reflected upon the decisions he's made in his life and I sat with him in awe as I compared myself to him. We were not so unalike, I kept realizing that had I pursued my addictions as he does I would have found myself in his shoes by his age. A 19 year old girl confided in me her obsessions with a boy that took her virginity the previous year, never called and was now avoiding her at this year's. Her tears reminded me of my own when love seemed to meaningful and enticing at that age. She truly loved this boy with all the passion of a high-school sweetheart, yet couldn't stop blaming herself for his lack of interest.
Then I made the mistake of inserting an unclean contact in my eye. I had not changed the fluid since I used them on Halloween mistakenly thought that the fluid was still effective. Some bacteria had apparently grown in the case and then infected my eye, what I thought was a simple scratch would later bring me to the emergency room in sheer agony where the doctor told me I may never regain full eyesight again.
The pain was indescribable. The night before, I had been kept awake with what felt like shards of glass stuck to the inside of my eye lid abrading my cornea. After several hours, I finally drifted off and awoke feeling better Sunday morning. It still hurt but the pain was remarkably lessened. That is until I opened my eye.
A spoonful of tear fluid poured out releasing the cushion it had formed under my lid raising it off the surface of my eyeball and the pain returned in abundance. I was immediately rushed to the emergency room and walked in complete blindness to the doctor. She gave me a drop of eye numbing solution and I moaned in blissful relief as I could once again open and peer through my blind eye. The world appeared as if I was seeing it through a frosted glass window only able to make out the blurry silhouettes of the people talking to me. I could only recognize the professionals of Fairview hospital by their voices. After some prescriptions for antibiotics and pain medications I was sent on my way with three more doses of numbing drops for the road.
I returned to the Con one last time to grab the last of my belongings and say goodbye to the few remaining friends.
For every down there was an equal up and for every low, a high. I will remember this weekend as one of the best experiences of my life. Perhaps next year I will have another opportunity to talk with Melody and tell her how much I still love her, don't blame her for a thing and am nothing but grateful that I got to enjoy having her in my life if only for a brief time. In the mean time, I pray that whatever pain I've caused her subsides and she allows me to do whatever I can to take the rest of it away. I truly am sorry.
It has been nearly two weeks since ConVergence 2011, my eye is all but back to normal, my friends all on their separate paths once again and the memories and emotions of a crazy weekend racing through my mind like the withdraw from drug. I can't wait to do it all over again next year!