Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Story

i just wrote this to a friend, and instead of rewriting it here...which i don't have the patience or time to right now, i'm copying it (hope you're not insulted, bhd.)

years ago, when i was 17, i fell for this guy i knew for years, but didn't know well, as he was a good deal older than me. friends with my friend's brother, who i was very close to. anyway, we saw each other at a party or something and started dating. very innocently. however, he was 24, i was 17. i was just smitten. he was too, for a while. but then, took me for a ride. rejected me, hit on my best friend - trish, then would send me mixed signals...yadda yadda. this went on for a couple years whenever i'd see him (not often) at parties or out at bars. he'd hit on me, we'd make out, i'd forgive, he'd drop me. blah. anyway, last time we saw each other it wasn't pretty. he was a big drinker, big partier, big womanizer, kind of a jerk. but, thanks to him i've got a really great friend in another mutual friend, dinesh....and i also contribute much of my weight gain to the depression that began at the start of his rejection of me, and my broken heart. sleeping yet??

several years later, bill ended up marrying this girl from my church who trish and i hated (she actually called trish "trash" to her face once! lord how people change!) and, more years later, went to the seminary. turns out a couple years ago, he comes back to the home town, and now is minister of my church. also my mom's church. also trish's church, and trish's mom's church.

i have always wanted to run into him, because i wanted to see how he'd react to seeing me. i have always wanted some kind of acknowledgement of how badly he treated me from him. not an apology, of course, but i wanted to see in his eyes that he remembered how much of a jerk he was to me and how much he'd hurt me over and over (yes i have taken responsibility for my part in that saga...) and i always thought it would be at church, AFTER i'd lost a ton of weight, and felt confident facing him again.

turns out on tuesday, when i was at trish's mom's, helping them go through things, pack things for her move, and get things together for goodwill, etc...there was a scheduled visit from bill and the church's wellness advocate, who is a good friend of my mom who i haven't met before. so, i knew i would run into bill, but he didn't know i'd be there. the plan was to say hello, then leave them with trish's mom so they could visit, and we could pack. trish knows how weird this could be, and in the recent past has obviously had to deal with bill on many occasions. she says he's always a little awkward with her, but it isn't ever long interactions, and she doesn't really care, so it is fine. but she knows this is potentially big for me. she was with me through all the tears those years ago. and probably more aware than i am how those things molded part of my personality, and perhaps in how i deal with men to this day. (worth me exploring in more thought another time)

so, they show up. i'm in another room, there's all the greeting going on with trish, her aunt, her sister, her mom (of course) and then i walk into the room. trish is introducing everyone, and finally says, as i walk into the room, "and of course you remember becky, bill" and, with a little glimmer of shock, he looks at me, and says "yes - how are you??" we establish that i'm living in buffalo etc. very brief small talk. he's there to comfort helen-jean (trish's mom) and we all quickly turn our attention to her. and immediately, trish, her sister, aunt and i go upstairs to do our thing. i didn't feel weird. i didn't harbor any ill feelings or self-consciousness. but that in itself is weird!

bill looks so different. he is thinner (he runs now, and doesn't drink anymore), and has that disease where you lose all your hair (alopecia?) including eyelashes and eyebrows. so he's quite bald. he was a toehead before, and one of the things i remember the most was how soft his lovely straight blonde hair was. and he had a lovely long roman nose. and blue eyes. and a laugh!! oh my. we had so much in common when it came to music etc. i held him up as the ultimate for so many years. and i often thought my broken heart would never mend, in my early 20's. it did. but he was my first heartbreak. and i never got any answers as to why. especially after the things he'd say to me: compliments. plans made. promises never kept. it fucked me up but good. even though i held onto that for too long and gave it too much power.

and, you know what? he looks happy and at peace. i am able to see that now. see that people CAN really change. when i first heard he was in the seminary, i laughed. when i heard he was the minister at my church, i laughed harder and was a bit angry and disgusted. how can people change THAT much? i didn't believe it could happen. but i was hanging on to anger and hurt. and i needed some kind of recognition from him. some kind of acknowledgement that he had hurt me, remembered, and was sorry. i admit i'd still like that a little bit. but, we had this first contact. and it was ok. it really was ok.

so we were upstairs doing our thing, cleaning out helen-jean's closet, literally. when they were leaving, they called up to us. we went downstairs to say goodbye, and thank them for coming, which trish did. deb (the woman who came with bill, my mom's friend) said "it was really nice meeting you, rebecca. oh bill! you do know that this is annette moulton's daughter, right?" much blushing, and a little smile on his face, trish turned away, and a little smile on mine, too (no eyes connecting between any of us). he said, "yes." and deb said "oh. do you two know each other??" more blushing on his part, looking down on my part, with a laugh, and trish swallowing much laughter, left the room "yes." bill and i said together. and deb said "oh. ok." and then there were more quick goodbyes, nice to meet you's etc. etc.

then trish and i ran upstairs and collapsed in laughter like we would have at 17.

actually, i really think that this first meeting/seeing of bill could not have been set up any better. really. it was because of something we were both doing for someone we cared about, so we were outside our own agenda's, and because we weren't focused on ourselves. neutral territory. and quick.

i do wonder a little about what he thought when he first saw me. and if he thought of me later. if he remembered things...but i know he did think of those things. and probably felt remorseful, too.

he's a good man. a good father. he's well liked at the church, doing good things. and most of all - my mom feels that he's definitely changed. she was his worst critic back in the day. and remembers what he'd put me through. so, if she can feel that feeling that way probably isn't wrong.

it was so interesting! i feel kind of at peace about it. of course, i'd still love to have a conversation with him...about that time in my life. not sure what i'd say, or what i'd really accomplish by it. but i do think about that. it may never happen. and maybe that's ok.

regardless, i've seen him. first time in 15 yrs. things are so different now. and i feel ok about how i look, so i wasn't really self conscious about that (first time i can actually say that and mean it, in years!)

ok, so it may not be all that funny...but i thought that comment from deb "do you know this is annette's daughter" and "oh, do you two know each other?" cracked me UP!

oh, and the other weird thing about all this? my first "love's" name was William Henry. and i married Henry Williams. insert twilight-zone music, here.


tardparty said...

Those scenarios are lots of fun, eh? :lol:

But, in all seriousness, you don't need him to answer questions, because the answers don't really matter. You don't need Bill to tell you anything. You know how you feel about yourself. :hug:

bhd said...

No worries. It's a wonderful story. It speaks volumes. Tell it often and remember! :hug:

Melanie said...

Its interesting that even without words, you both probably found peace.

i love the juxtaposition of the names. WH & HW. everything happens for a reason.

thanks for sharing this. xo