Well, I received a call yesterday from someone I had not heard from in a long time.
(October it seems, is the month of reunion for me. I even dreamed about someone that I had not seen in three years last night.)
Said person told me about attending her high school reunion and having found out that a person that she was apparently in love with for most her teenage and a lot of her adult life was there. She never told this object of her affections that she really liked him and wanted to go out because she was sure that she would get rejected (apparently there is history to back this up of her asking guys out that rejected her for a laundry list of reasons, the most common being that she was a good friend, but they were not attracted to her but they really thought she was great). Well she is a bit older (this reunion was the 15 year reunion) and so usually at there is the expection I suppose that everyone is married, mated or otherwise occupied (I haven't had my 15th yet so I am guessing here. All I have to fall back on are the lame episodes of family sitcoms that do a "high school reunion" episode.) Well, she saw HIM there. She had emailed and written here and there to him through the years but only in the last few months had they been in constant touch. One or the other had been too busy to get coffee but both decided to go to this thing and not tell the other. She said that she saw him and all of the feelings came back. They found a quiet corner and talked about everything. Then, as if scripted by someone from All My Children, his girlfriend comes up.
Girlfriend. He negelcted to mention that he was dating but to defend him a bit, it never came up in conversation. She held it together though as it was told to me "she was dying inside." They all had a nice conversation and saw some of the others that bothered to show. People who were older, fatter, sometimes smarter, sometimes dumber and many who were legends in their own minds.
The leavetaking came and each went to their separate corners. Our heroine apparently went home and decided that the person that used to volunteer with a lot on the same projects was the best person to open up with because I always "seemed to be good at listening and I managed to fix things."
I listened and empathized as far as I could. I did understand that she was upset not because this guy seemed so perfect for her now as he had been then or because he had a girlfriend and she did not. She was upset because it was the end of THE DREAM.
Yeah. THE DREAM. This guy was her "Ashley."
(Info dump: "Ashley" refers to "Ashley Wilkes," the handsome, dreamy, noble Southern gentleman that Katie Scarlett O'Hara spent her whole adult life in love with in both the novel and movie, "Gone With the Wind." So strong was the DREAM of life with Ashley, that it outlasted three husbands, the Civil War, fractious family relations and Ashley's wife Melanie. At the end of the novel once Melanie dies and entrusts her husband to Scarlett's care, she realizes that well, she was in love with the DREAM and not the man himself, who disappointed her at many turns when she tried to make the DREAM come true.)
Her DREAM-our heroine's-ended when faced with the reality of the girlfriend who was without a fault and who carved out a life that was definitely a bit more of a fit to his and definitely a bit more glamourous. She even found herself liking her.
Understanding what the problem is doesn't always help in finding the best remedy. I did a lot of listening and a lot of "there, there" especially when she asked what was wrong with her.
The best I could come up with was that life sucks and unfortunately we have to participate in it when it does suck. I told her that if she feels that it would be too painful to keep the friendship then "let time lapse" again. He has a girlfriend, while I am sure he will wonder about her from time to time, he will be too preoccupied to push.
I also said that it's okay to mourn the loss of THE DREAM but then get over it. As you get older, you do realize that life is short. Sometimes it is shorter than you think. You can spend your time eating your heart out over a lost opportunity or you can create new ones. Sometimes quickly and sometimes by just putting one foot in front of the other.
I also told her that there is a place in hell for people who calls someone out of the blue after a year, while the other person is listening to their favorite episode of "Dr. Phil." (Wouldn't everyone like to know that is!)
She liked that. She promised not to let so much time go by. She did go on a bit more about the loss of THE DREAM and I let her. Sometimes "Dr. Phil" just has to wait.