I stayed home from work today. I've a good half-dozen reasons why I opted to do so, but I won't go into them now. What's important is that while I was home and waiting for arphalia to arrive, I had something of a surprise unfold: I found myself in a lengthy conversation online (and then on the phone) with somebody I used to know a long time ago. I can't say that I ever really expected this part of my past to resurface in quite this manner. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say that this person and I have some very unhappy history between us. But still, despite all of that, we talked today. We answered questions for one another. I think we were honest with one another. We joked a little. Some of the events of the past were explained. Apologies for those actions and the hurt they caused were offered and accepted. I can say that, looking back on things, the events of all those years ago make more sense to me now. It had always felt like there was something just under the surface that was wrong, but I couldn't put my finger on it. All I knew was that "something didn't add up." Today's conversation has given me a glimpse of the puzzle pieces I couldn't see... and now the picture looks more complete and true.
There would have been a time (and it would not have been all that long ago) that I would have quite literally foamed at the mouth from the mere mention of this person's name. I would have told you in graphic, intense detail what I would say if I was ever confronted by this person again. I knew exactly how I would react, because I had reacted just the same in the past when they showed themselves to me. I knew just how deeply I would wound them as payment for the way I'd been wounded by them in the past -- I would serve as an instrument and would exact the pound of flesh justice I had been denied. I would teach there are consequences to actions. In all, I would live up to everyone's perception of me as a creature that's fueled by high-octane hate and high-tension booze. The opportunity to do all that was presented to me today. All of the anger, hurt and sadness that has been part of my history for so long could have been unleashed in a single heartbeat and I could have struck out at this person (and even, by some standards, been arguably justified in doing so). When the moment of truth came and their identity was revealed, that's exactly what I expected was going to happen. So did they.
But it didn't.
Sometimes I surprise even myself.
Now that I'm thinking it all over, now that I have the "downtime" to replay today's events in my mind, I can only find one way to sum it all up:
Things change. People change. Maybe, just maybe, even I have changed.
are you brave enough to see?