Me in Matera, Italy

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Reasonable doubt

Trust is a difficult thing for me.  I don't trust people very easily and I don't often give the benefit of the doubt.  When it is reasonable to doubt a friend?  An outright lie makes it easy but what about an omission?  Omissions make me extremely suspicious, especially when I follow the path of omissions and they lead me to that scary placed filled with reasonable doubt.

When I was in high school I had only one friend, Charlotte.  I had transferred from private to public school and moved to a small town where everyone had been together since Kindergarten.  I felt like an alien, I didn't fit in, I didn't understand their world.  I was endlessly bullied and harassed but I did have this one friend and she stood by me even though it clearly wasn't cool to do so.  I looked up to Charlotte, she WAS cool and we were inseparable.  We spent all out time together.  We talked about anything and everything.  We even got our first boyfriends around the same time, lost our virginities around the same time and both moved away from home the summer before grade 12.  Our plan was to move in with our boyfriends and have this "couple" friendship.

Well Charlotte moved in with that first boyfriend who she soon married and had a child with.  I deviated from the plan and moved out on my own.  We grew apart for a period of time but happily found our way back to our "couple" plan two short years later when my daughter was born and we lived in the same apartment complex.  Over time I developed doubts and suspicions about Charlotte.  She was too flirtatious with my boyfriend but I convinced myself that I was simply insecure and jealous.  Unfortunately I was right to distrust her and I was crushed when she proved herself to be the person I secretly feared she was.

Why did this girl who faithfully stood by me in high school betray me now?  I've never been able to understand and I never gave her the opportunity to explain because for me, there was no acceptable explanation and the friendship was over.  Just two years ago, I got a phone call from her sister, she was asking me to attend Charlotte's funeral.   I said I would go, I wanted to go but I didn't want to go and ultimately I did not go. 

Forget about high school; fast forward a million years ... well maybe not a million, about 20 years actually, but it feels like a million.  I'm not the same geeky social misfit with just one friend; I'm funny girl ~ not everybody's friend but I have a few precious friends.  I select my friends carefully; I treasure loyalty and trust.  I have one close friend who I spend a significant amount of time with and lately I have had trouble trusting her.  It's nothings she does or says but it's the occasional thing that she fails to say that causes me worry.  I don't know for sure whether she is being haunted by Charlotte's ghost or if she will also prove herself to be the person I secretly fear she is.  Is history repeating itself OR am I foolishly ruining a friendship over historical insecurities and doubts?

It feels like we had this strong connection and unbelievable friendship but there have been things here and there along the way that have stirred fears and anxieties within me: nothing big, nothing earth shattering but nagging doubts. I'm trying to practice loving with my whole heart but I haven't been, not in this friendship.  If she's worthy of trust than I am certainly not being the friend SHE deserves.  Is the friendship wrinkled like the paper or broken like the glass?

I like things to be clear cut: black or white, right or wrong, yes or no.  I don't like living with doubt, whether its unreasonable or reasonable, it doesn't feel good.  As I sit here, there's a voice telling me that the easiest thing in the world would be to write this friendship off and walk away, just cut my losses.  There's another voice, an unfamiliar voice of reason, telling me that real long-lasting friendships are not easy because people are complicated ~ we all have stuff going on in our lives ~we are all burdened by our baggage that we carry ~we are all imperfect. 

I am going to take a chance.  I am going to keep my heart open to this friend.  And I am going to work on being the best friend I can be.  Maybe I will get hurt, I guess there is always that chance, but then again maybe I won't.  Maybe this friendship will be worth it and I won't know unless I try.

"The truth is rarely pure and never simple".  Oscar Wilde

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