No, we can’t be friends.
You don’t see me. You haven’t seen me for over 20 months. I was better as the skinny new girl with long, wavy hair. I was better as the girl who wanted to move to Bali the minute she arrived in DC.
I don’t want to be friends. I don’t think I want you anymore, either. There is only so long you can look at someone looking at you like there’s a hole in your middle and a mirror on the other side. They’re more interested in the mirror. They’re most interested in what you reveal to them about them.
I would still be the one doing most of the listening. The last thirty seconds of thirty minute conversations would still be the ones reserved for me. You’d still be trying to tell me how to be better, more like you. You’d still think you were better than me, had it more figured out. While I was busy telling you that your worst was better than some people’s very best, you’d still be reminding me that my best was comparable to some people’s worst. The shame should fall heavy on both of our ends.
You don’t know me at all. You know the things about me I wedged into conversations about you. I’ve spent 21 months learning every piece of you that I could and I don’t think you know anything about me that isn’t directly related to you. My dedication, my patience, my kindness, my creativity—you only know them in the ways that they benefited you. Whether we stayed friends or not, you would never see me to know me or know me to see me.
You were the first person to be given the manuscript for my book and you lost it in a pile of papers. You never read it. You said you did not want a final copy of the book, but could I send along the story I wrote about you. You can’t even bother to learn about me when it’s neatly packaged and I’m never that.
So, no. We can’t be friends. And you can’t have the story. Are we cool? As cool as two people with a huge crack in the earth between them now with all of the bridge building supplies on my side. I don’t plan to rebuild and I don’t expect you to notice.