For the longest time, he was the most important man in my life. I adored him. I worshiped him. And I would have moved heaven and earth to make him happy.
As time went by, things became weird and the weirdness was uncomfortable. With hindsight, I know it was because he was from a predominantly male background and there were some aspects in my life that he didn't know how to relate to. We struggled along together and eventually we understood each other. Or so I thought.
When a tragedy struck, we clung on to each other. We didn't know how we'd get through the pain. But we did. We had each other. We'd be okay.
Then he was told he had to choose between the Old and the New. After considering his options (for all of five minutes), he choose the New. I was pushed away. Forgotten. Even so, I clung to the tiniest piece of hope that one day he'd let me back in again. The same way we once clung to each other for strength.
I'd never felt so alone before, and I didn't understand why this was happening. What did I do that was so wrong? Why was I so easily forgettable?
At first I convinced myself it was because I was a bad person. Why else would the man who I considered the be all and end all throw me aside? Why else wouldn't he accept me for who I was? For what other reason would he cleverly convince me I wasn't good enough without actually saying it out loud?
After a long time, my way of thinking altered. I knew I wasn't perfect, but I never claimed to be. If he had a problem with how I was, that's exactly what it was; his problem, not mine. I was now on the outside looking in. I'd allowed him to make me feel inferior for so long, that not only did I think it was the norm, I thought it was true. How could I have been so blind for so long?
I continued a relationship with him of sorts (whenever he decided he had time for me), but things were different now. My eyes were open. I didn't have to deal with his negativity anymore. I began biting back. He didn't like that.
A very dear friend of mine died after a long illness. My heart felt as though it was breaking, so I turned to him, the one person who mattered the most to me. I phoned him and told him the news as I sobbed. I'll remember his exact words for the rest of my life...
"Oh, that's sad... By the way, the birthday present you sent me got here two days too late because you put the wrong postage on it."
I haven't spoken to him since.
I get Christmas cards and birthday cards, and I send the same to him. He doesn't understand why I've distanced myself from him and I don't think he ever will. I have since learned that he sees it as my fault, as though I've thrown a tantrum and my stubbornness won't allow me to back down. Maybe there is an element of truth in that. But for the most part it's self-defence. I wouldn't want to have a friend that always makes me feel crap about myself, so why should it be any different with him?
Does he like me? No. Does he love me? Maybe.
Do I like him? No. Do I love him? Definitely.
And I do miss him. But not enough to risk letting him making me feel wrong, useless, and forgettable all over again. It's a chance my heart can't afford to take.
It just goes to prove the old saying...
Any man can be a Father.
Not every man can be a Dad.