I recently heard, through the vines of gossip, that we weren’t friends because I was in still love with you and I couldn’t accept that you didn’t feel the same.
This bit of fiction is a variation on the many stories I’ve heard about myself, by your mouth, over the past three months. Apparently I have made unwanted sexual advances, made you uncomfortable, read too much into us, and on and on into a web of feebly crafted lies.
In the beginning I was angry about the unnecessary slander. I had honoured your request for secrecy when we were together. I respected your fear of the unknown. Even friends were in the dark about us… until they weren’t: by your hand. I now know that what you wanted was deniability about us. I gave you that. I gave you time and kindness and gifts. You gave me heartbreak and I took it, understanding that you “weren’t ready.” I wished you well and remained a friend, as difficult as that was, until the stories began to roost. Then a huge new deception arrived. You made a sucker out of me. This is why we are not friends. Nothing else enters into it.
I’m not angry anymore. These words spill from the calm breath of acceptance. I chose poorly and misjudged your character. I am responsible for that. I have learned from it. I have moved forward.
Realizing that those who delivered your stories, to me, knew your words were lies, turned everything around. They came to me, separately, over the weeks; some I hardly knew. They didn’t come for gossip. They didn’t come for my reaction. They came to say, “I’m sorry and I know it’s not true.” They came to tell me to protect myself. And I did. I protected my self and my job. I spoke to the powers that be. I revealed the evidence of us together. Your written words of endearment toward me. I asked that they not make it official, not discipline you, for the sake of your children. Please don’t confuse this mercy with loving you. Truth is: I never loved you. I loved the person I thought you were, but that person never really existed.
I have loved someone deeply. In the waking, wee, hours of last night I thought about that love; how honest it felt. Thats what love is: Honesty. It can’t be one sided. I hope, in time, for your sake, you learn this.
For now, it is time you stop telling stories about me.