The Alphabet

Our protagonist – let’s call her X for now – didn’t understand why someone so close to her – we’ll let her name be Y – found it so easy to hurt her with regard to this…  issue. It used to be bigger, more embarrassing actions; it felt that way to X, though she conceded that these fell largely within the realm of “inappropriate comments.” Nonetheless, they had pained X as she struggled to maintain what had been a fragile emotional state, and an unstable social situation (X would never admit that she had once exhibited typical teenage melodramatic qualities, but the intensity of the mood swings had indeed quietened since those years). Years later, the emotions had at least been repressed to an extent, but Y’s continued flippancy – so thinly wrapped within some semblance of concern when X brought up events of the past, or events relating to events of the past – grated against X’s grasp on the depth of their friendship.

It was almost as if Y could never bring herself to accept that X’s feelings for – last letter, promise – Z were legitimate. X couldn’t help but laugh at that prospect, that somehow anyone else had the audacity to measure the legitimacy of her feelings, or that those feelings could be measured at all. But it truly seemed that way to her, with Y; it seemed like Y was always quick to change the subject if it ever got round to Z, to laugh off something that X had said in all seriousness, to relegate X’s recollections to the past as if it somehow belonged there by virtue of the events having happened when they were younger.

So what if Z had been that kind of person that one would never have expected anyone to fall in love with? X could not change the fact that it had happened. (Where in the world was Z now?) In any case, X’s feelings for Z may have faded, but him, or the significance of him, will never fade. Z, the person, drifts, but Z, the event, the First, had long been deeply embedded within her being. Z, or what he represented, was not something that could so easily be buried by a “yeah, but that was so long ago” or a “we were really young then”. Y’s perceived dismissiveness – X still wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt by blaming it on her own sensitivity – seemed to dismiss X’s very sense of self.

X wondered what it meant to have a friend that denied one’s sense of self. X wondered about friendships built on nostalgia, on need, on common ground, and on pragmatism.


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