Every second an opportunity to turn it around.
It sounds easy. It is easy. In principle. All it takes is a little courage. A little understanding.
My courage and understanding failed me last night (actually two nights ago). I could have changed tacks. Stayed on the line, been my charming self. I did love this woman—I do love this woman. I knew it was her the moment she picked up the phone and spoke.
All I could remember when I heard her voice last night was just how bad the situation between us was: this woman hated me so badly she wanted to forget me. I didn’t, until that second, realize just how angry and afraid I was. Angry at our choices, terribly afraid of the day—this day— that we would speak again.
I wanted the conversation over and done with quickly before I said anything stupid. By default, she wouldn’t believe me anyway. And what new thing was I supposed to say, to add to this stilted conversation? She’s already heard everything—
“I’m sorry I hurt you. I’m sorry we turned out badly. Life just isn’t the same without you in some way shape or form. I miss you, your mannerisms, your jokes.”
That night there was something I wanted to add: I am so afraid of displeasing you any more than I already have, that I have exhausted your capacity to even listen to me. I wish I could get past this. Despite what you feel about the actions I took and the choices I made, everything I did, since you decided we were over, I did because I value you.
The moment passed—
In the real world she asked for the caller’s name. My name. The name that finally came out in a rueful breath. There was no way to give it without her finding out that this voice belonged to the man she hated, the man who "used her," the man who "frightened her." Never mind that this voice belonged to the man she once loved.
In the end I can only pray for similar moments, for the strength to cut through the bullshit and reach that dear friend I once had.
Every second an opportunity to turn it around. Every day a litmus test to see if this is true.