There is a time period in our relationship about which Simon and I do not speak. Scratch that: I speak about it; he does not. We broke up for 7 months from Thanksgiving of ’04 to June of ’05. It was not pretty. We talked on the phone about once a week and, every time, it ended in tears for one or both of us.
Apart, it was so easy to be angry. From 3,000 miles away, it was easy to hold on to pain, to wrongdoing, to hurt, to bitterness. I knew, somewhere deep in my heart, that if we could just see each other again – if I could hold him and bury my face in his neck – it would put all the pain into perspective.
I was right.
He flew to the US in June to see me, to “get some closure, one way or another,” and a couple of days into his trip, all the anger we’d been holding on to melted away. Together, laughing at each other’s jokes, seeing each other’s smiles, the stuff we’d been grasping with a white-knuckled grip didn’t seem so horrific.
I’ve had the same experience with friends and family members since then, and remembering how things were for us during that seven months helps bring everything back down again. If someone hurts me, and then leaves; if you say horrible things to me, and then hang up the phone, and I don’t hear from you for weeks, it’s all too easy for me to hate you until you call me back again and I’m reminded why I loved you in the first place.
I talk to my little sister every day. We fight like sisters do – screaming one minute and laughing the next. It’s because I can see the amazing in her as well as the horrific, and vice versa. She offends me and impresses me in equal measure, and we have learned to love each other in spite of all our imperfections and brokenness, because we have to; because we’re family.
Shouldn’t it be so for all of us?