Sunday, March 15, 2009

Closure and Second Chances

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea...
~Edgar Allan Poe

I went to Savannah today and spent the afternoon with my ex-boyfriend from over 15 years ago. My mind has been working on overload all evening trying to sort through the aftermath of feelings that resulted from our conversations.

Most of my friends don't keep in touch with their ex's for many reasons, mostly because their significant other does not "allow" it, which I have never understood. For the most part, my ex's have understanding partners that have the intelligence enough to know that ours was a relationship that just didn't work out. Most of my past relationships ended on friendly terms, or eventually ended up on friendly terms after the hurt feelings settled. As an adult, I have always said that I would never stop my partner from seeing or having a friendship with their ex, nor would I ever be in a relationship with someone who dictated who I can and can't have as a friend.

Since I came back to Charleston I have been going through some sort of radical reconnection with my friends. I have missed them dearly and it's time to build on what we've lost since I've been gone. Being back in town has conjured up memories of people from my past like you wouldn't believe. As I drive around town I see parks, businesses, streets, etc. that inevitably remind me of someone I once knew. I've found several of those people on Facebook but some have remained elusive, especially one... until this week.

When I was around 22 I moved back from Columbia to Charleston and got a job at Piggly Wiggly. There were several baggers that were friends from high school named Lonnie, Jody, Jimmy and Bobby. Upon meeting them I immediately had a crush on Lonnie, but sadly, he had a girlfriend and they were both headed to USC. I eventually started dating Jody, who I thought was adorable.

Last month, when I came back to Charleston from Ohio, Jody was one of the people that I thought about frequently. After we broke up many years ago I started dating Lonnie and had a relationship with him that lasted about 7 years. Being that Jody and Lonnie were friends, Jody was around for the first bit of that relationship. The last I knew of his whereabouts was that he was dating a high school crush named Kim and then he seemed to fall off the face of the Earth... this was about thirteen years ago. I have thought about him over the years and even tried to look him up to no avail. A week or so ago my curiosity got the best of me so I called his parent's house.

Jody's Mom and I always got along well and I always thought highly of his parent's. When I called her it was like we had just spoke the day before. We talked for an hour about Ohio, South Carolina, Obama, Cancer, Life, Death and even a little about Jody. She told me that he and Kim were living in Savannah and gave me an update in a nutshell. I told her that I thought of Jody every once in a while and would love to hear from him. She told me that I shouldn't hold my breath and knowing that I once hurt him, I said I definitely wouldn't do that.

Yesterday I was recovering from one of my Ambien hangover's when the phone rang. Being that I never know who is calling my Mother's house I always check the caller ID. It was Jody! I actually stared at the phone for a second in disbelief before answering it. His voice sounded exactly the same and I was so happy to hear from him. We chatted for a while and I told him that I was probably going to start work next week and this week I was planning on doing a cemetery trip to Savannah... I asked him if he wanted to get together and luckily he had today free.

Jody and I had a great afternoon catching up. We walked around Colonial Park Cemetery and then went to have lunch at a Mexican restaurant and later traveled to Bonaventure Cemetery. Over lunch he reminded me of so many things I had forgotten about, or that I had intentionally blocked. I was nervous about seeing him so I am sure I did my usual overcompensating babble. We talked about when we dated and the years following when I dated Lonnie. I knew that I wasn't the best girlfriend in the world and I told Jody that I was incredibly sorry for all the wrong that I did. I have never regretted any of my past relationships, or how they ended, except that one and I wanted to make it right.

After all of this talk, I was completely overwhelmed with all of these thoughts and feelings about the "Lonnie Years." When Lonnie and I broke up it was abrupt and I don't think I ever got closure about it. The way I handled it was basically like "Okay, that's done... file it away and don't look back!" Revisiting the past and REALLY facing how I handled my relationship and eventual breakup with Jody forced me to face the harsh reality of the person I used to be. It devastates me to know that I hurt someone the way I was hurt, or even had the capacity to.

While driving home I played our conversation over and over again in my head and all I could think was that the person Jody knew that was me, back in the day, no longer exists... I am sure he is a different person today, as well. I hope that with this opportunity we have been given we can rebuild the friendship that we once had and also realize, in each other, the adults that we have become.


Clytie said...

Wow. You are an amazing person.

Beth Niquette said...

What incredible writing skills you have. You are a natural born story-teller.