I dreamed last night that I was lying in a living room watching an action flick with several friends, and I was right next to a friend with whom, in real life, things once were quickly and briefly romantic but went sour and with whom I haven't spoken in a while. No contact, no looking in each other's direction, no connecting in any way. Just the awkward awareness of each other on the living room floor.
At one tense point during the movie, I moved my hand in a startled motion and accidentally bumped his hand, and instead of jerking his hand away and accusing me of some ulterior motive, he simply clasped his hand very gently, almost imperceptibly, on mine, as if to leave open the possibility that it was just my imagination in case I rejected the gesture. I might not have noticed except for the gentle pressure of his finger tips on the sides of my hand. I relaxed my tense fingers, letting them drape gently over the edges of his hand, without clasping back, returning the gesture in a way that left it open to interpretation that I might or might not have noticed.
Our hands stayed like that, embraced, somewhat insecure and tentative but clearly intent on connecting, and the movie continued, but I was so relieved that he really did want to connect again and show some small kindness and sincere desire to "hold on" to what friendship we had left that I didn't notice the movie. I was feeling so much relief that after all that has happened between us, this tender gesture proved a persisting desire to repair what we could.
This dream was just another indicator of my feelings towards a couple of such friendships. I'm not used to romantic friendships gone bad. It's probably old news for most people, something they went through in years much younger than mine, the confusing phenomenon of thinking someone is a total jerk and not ever wanting to see them again while, at the same time, feeling so much affection and wanting to be close again, albeit without the romance.
Well, it probably should be embarrassing for me to admit that this stupid dream meant something to me. Or that I felt a tinge of disappointment when I awoke to find it was only my imagination. Not chagrined enough to get bent out of shape, I sighed and chuckled at my emotional persistence in holding on, for several months now, to some hope for reconciliation, then I shrugged, climbed out of bed and got ready for work. So I still haven't completely "let go" of things, apparently. Dang. But hey, I'm genetically flawed.
I've experienced something similar with a couple of other friendships, but we were able to talk through it, and we each gave a little and worked things out or are still doing so. These others are different somehow.
How is it I can think someone was such a dirtbag to me and feel a desire to kiss and make up at the same time? It's weird, and it's wrong, and I'm not used to it, and it's not on my top ten list of fun emotions. I'm used to making and keeping friends, albeit slowly. I'm not used to losing them. I'm a pack rat. Pack rats don't lose things, we might set them down for a while, but we fully intend to keep them. *shrug* I'm also not used to wondering how I'd react if I ran into someone, whether I'd feel casual and indifferent, or I'd want to hug them, or I'd have to force a smile and some civil greeting while cursing them under my breath with nasty words. Being a puzzle-solver, I want to believe there's a way to solve this. I hate when I can't solve a puzzle, but I'm learning to let go when I realize the pieces I need are in someone else's clutches or when solving it is maybe not priority number one.
So I'm left wishing things were different, wishing that a couple of friendships were better for me than they are, but unable to see a way to get there and refusing to go back to things as they were. Trying to talk things through only went so far. It seems a couple of friendships are possibly beyond repair, at least for now, and to some degree, I've come to terms with that. So it seems all that's left, for now, is to wish. Or to let go completely. Damn my genetic flaw that makes it so hard to let go completely and makes me dream of holding hands tenderly with putzes.