There are moments in my life that flash by, others that stick like glue to my guts and my bones and the insides of my heart. And then there are those long forgotten, only seen in a dream – and then lost all over again. Some things fly away and some things stick forever. What moments we allow to come inside, well, that depends on how much we open our window.
Let’s go back to a time involving two people – one getting real, and one doing everything but that.
You know how this goes…
INT. ROOM – NIGHT
I sit on my bed snuggled in between a few blankets. Cozy is the word that comes to mind. A cell phone is to my ear as I talk to my FRIEND on the phone.
Me: “Thanks for coming to my party and basically doing everything.”
Friend: “That was basic. Cooking comes naturally to me. I’ve hosted Thanksgiving on my own a few times.”
Me: “Wow. That’s inspiring.”
Friend: “Yeah. So how’d your session go. Figure anything out?”
I gulp. That gulp that I do when I get a little nervous.
Me: “It went well. Just talked about my feelings and what my boundaries are right now.”
Friend: “And what was decided?”
Me: “Uh, not much. It’s a process.”
Friend: “Look, let’s get real, you know like your book. I mean I get where you’re coming from, wanting to be ready but I’m about to put you in the friend category. Just being honest.”
Me: “It hasn’t even been that long.”
Friend: “Doesn’t matter. My feelings are starting to get hurt and it’s making me feel sad. I’m a physical person who needs affection. If that’s not there, we’re just friends, which is okay. But it can’t be in between.”
My Friend’s clear needs take me by surprise. I’m not used to such frankness, such a lets-get-real approach. It feels grown and very scary. I straighten and rub my neck – another nervous quirk.
Me: “Uh, whoa. I didn’t know it was having this affect. I just want to be sure before doing anything on the romantic end.”
Friend: “I’m not trying to be rude but I don’t have time. This year I’m not putting up with any B.S.”
Me: “I understand that, trust me. But don’t you feel like it’s important to live in the moment?”
Friend: “Absolutely. This is different. I don’t like feeling like I’m not good enough or like I’m constantly being asked private things when you have no right, as a friend, to do so.”
‘Not feeling good enough’. My Friend’s words hit me and I suddenly understand what she’s saying and where she’s coming from. No one deserves to feel that way.
Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way. So, I’m basically going to be on the friend list forever if I don’t figure it out soon?”
My Friend laughs one of her easy and sweet laughs. I smile, too.
Friend: “Not to give an ultimatum, but yeah. I feel like you’re special so I’ve been patient...I mean even having this conversation for an hour. My time is limited with work, reading, fitness, and my other goals. It’s all an investment to me.”
Me: “Got it. I understand where you’re coming from because I do believe that certain things have a window period. Sometimes it can shut quickly and can’t be open again.”
Silence. My heart starts beating a little faster as I feel fear creeping closer. What ifs run through my mind – no one likes to get hurt.
Me: “Okay, relax. Everything’s going to work out. You’re spectacular, the best, and deserve to feel nothing but appreciated. We will talk in person on Friday and get on the same page. Don’t worry.”
Friend: “Hopefully it won’t be too late. Just kidding, I’m looking forward to it.”
I close my phone and sit there, puzzled and floored all at the same time. After a minute or so, I start to wonder: Can someone be forced into walking inside the window and going in? Do some people need to feel a nice, cold chill in order to realize it’s better on the inside where it’s nice and warm?
At first I thought, “No way! It’s not possible to be cornered, to be pressured into a decision. But, then I thought about it more and realized that IT IS when the potential loss of something great is the other option. Suddenly, the thought of the window going down defeats the fear – sort of like a survival mechanism. (Don’t leave me out here all alone! Extreme, but you feel me). What seems blurry may become clear within minutes, seconds, hours, or days.
Perhaps the real issue is FEAR and learning how to quiet its thoughts. Perhaps when the focus isn’t on fear and it’s pushed to the side, only the truth is left. I think certain folks need to be pressured, thrive on it in fact; sort of like needing a deadline for a term paper in college. Sometimes, this brings out the BEST in people. On the other hand, there are those who can’t step up and continue feeding the fear when the pressure comes. One isn’t better than the other, right or wrong – just reality.
In one way or another, love has a window period. I could feel it through the phone – my friend’s truth – and knew this person would close the window without hesitation, rightfully believing she deserves the best.
Then, shortly after getting off the phone, my heart stops racing and I slowly sink back into my blankets, realizing that I deserve the best, too.