(Sidebar: so this is all armchair quarterbacking, right? It sounds good, but how the hell do I know if what I'm saying is true? I realize now that I know less than I thought about a woman I considered one of my closest friends for almost five years. This could be because I wasn't interested in her story; but it could also be that she was careful with what she showed me. I've put this idea together with what little I know of the social and religious scars she bears from the community she was raised in, and while it sounds good, I don't know if it holds any water. I do know that when I went to her and her pastor, seeking an opportunity to find a way wherein my husband and I could remain a part of the worship community now that we were no longer friends and was denied, I felt soundly rejected. The heavy oak door of a house of worship shut profoundly in my face, and it was fucking cold in that street, man.)
So now all this time has gone by. I have all this lovely, worthwhile perspective. I know more about myself than I did then. I can say, with some certainty, that I am not invested in any kind of relationship with this woman that is even remotely similar to the friendship we used to have. For years I felt like Timothy to her Paul--protegee to her mentor, the diminutive, slightly awkward and always in need of correction and guidance sidekick, for whom friendship is a favor. I am no longer interested in the pursuit of relationship that feels so unbalanced and unequal. I also want to be in friendships where I can be vulnerable and still be safe, where I can feel supported in uncertainty or fear, where I can be the soft, easy, quiet parts of myself without risking ridicule or chastisement. There are a number of reasons (my twisted pathology) why I sought a kind of friendship that wouldn't permit this in the first place; and there are also reasons why it worked so well for her, if in fact, it ever did. But if she's still served by this kind of friendship, well, it won't come from me.