Track 1: “Where Does the Good Go” by Tegan and Sara
On a long, broken road to Nova Scotia, my soon-to-be-fiancé and I listen to songs I haven’t heard in years and, in some cases, had forgotten even existed. The songs, hidden in mix CDs that my former “person” and I had compiled implicitly speak to the lives we embodied during each season of each year of our friendship. They, therefore, contain messages of love and heartache, hope, anger, frustration, humor, victory, empowerment, simple pleasures and big dreams.
I don’t recall how she came up in conversation, but my significant other asks what went wrong between us, and without answers, I do my best to articulate memories and theories.
Track 2: “This is Me” by Keala Settle
We shared controversial opinions. For example, as independent, single women, we remained critical of the romanticizing of motherhood and the marginalization of women who (either by choice or by circumstance) are not mothers. And we felt dissatisfaction with the gluttony of the holiday season, and the ways in which it, too, marginalized people without strong social support structures. Unable to often find it outside of ourselves, for a while, we created for each other a safe space in which to experience and express our worldviews. For me, she indeed made life easier to navigate, allowing me to live unapologetically.
Track 3: “Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve
We became different people, and in a way that neither of us could predict, our tight bond seemed to leave little room for individual growth. As a result, I struggled to adequately support her through a family trauma, and felt left behind in many ways. She, in turn, perceived me as judgmental and as thinking that my endeavors were more important than hers. She put distance between us, and I did the same. And, as Tyler Hilton sings, “love is never in the same place that you left it.”
Track 4: “Fields of Gold” by Celtic Woman
In hindsight, maybe the friendship was doomed from its start. In our final days, she pointed out that we both had put a lot of pressure on the friendship. It was true; though I knew I could be fine without her, I didn’t necessarily want to be. I had her, and arguably, she had much more.
Eventually, I hurt her. We all hurt people. The best case scenario is that the pain we inflict upon others is unintentional and we get to continue our journey with those we love.
My journey with her ended, and her story is not mine to tell. While I had imagined years filled with shopping for wedding dresses, making fall trips to Patterson Fruit Farm, watching animated movies, eating pumpkin pecan cheesecake, attending medieval fairs, writing in libraries and coffee shops, talking about feminism and women’s issues, celebrating book publications, and traveling to Ireland, I am thankful for the memories I have. And while my significant other and I can fulfill some dreams together, he’ll never replace her. She was “my person” in a way that a lover can never be.
Track 5: “This One’s For the Girls” by Martina McBride
There’s an old adage that suggests that our relationships last only as long as some (often unknown) purpose we serve in another person’s life. I can certainly see where “my person” fit into my life at the time of our friendship; and I can see how no one else could have filled the role as diligently and gracefully as she did.
Unfortunately, hurting people often seems to be the way our stories with others end. So, I hope for redemption, even if I never again come across those that I’ve hurt. I hope that any toxicity I’ve unintentionally brought into the lives of others has been, or will be, cleansed by love and forgiveness.
But I turned out to be even more okay than I could have imagined during the time “my person” was in my life; she didn’t get to see the outcome of the grisly process through which she supported me, but I’d like to think she’d be proud of me–and happy for me. I hope that my person has gotten all that she worked and hoped for, that her days are filled with laughter, success, love, and empowerment. I hope that she finds the good, that the world is looking out for her arrival and that she has found someone who lets her live unapologetically, that she remains a bittersweet symphony, that she remembers me with the peace of a western wind, and that she’s vulnerable enough to love without holding back and courageous enough to keep dreaming with everything she has.