Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Tuesday, And I'm Feeling Okay

J and I met on a public transit bus on the way home from school one afternoon in 1998. He sat down beside me and started talking to me, just like that. Our friendship developed mostly during the morning rides to school after that day. Though I was mostly intimidated, vaguely creeped out, and always sat away from him at the front of the bus, he'd get up from his seat in the back and settle down beside me. One particularly cold and windy morning, he gave me his hat as we got off the bus and walked to the school.

Since we broke up in 04-05 I've had a faint, but recurring fantasy of one day sitting on a bus and having him get on and sit down beside me to talk, just like he used to. Every now and then I wish for someone else to get on, another prince charming to sit with me, but then I think to myself that the bus is a venue that J has forever claimed in my life, and that no one else could ever sit on that bus in my heart like he does.

It's been just about three years since The Badness started. To everyone else, on this here blog, he's been nothing but "J" for all that time. To this day, the only person I can comfortably say his full name to is my counsellor. And even then, the comfort is slight at best. My heart takes a quick breath the second right before it comes out. I wonder sometimes if she notices my hesitation and thinks that it might mean something.

Not that it doesn't mean anything because, of course it means something. Thinking back, those few months of turmoil that we went through really did change the rest of my life. I told Em pretty much the full story one evening in December, and I could hardly believe what was coming out of my mouth. When I was done all I could do was shake my head, sigh a little and say, "It's funny, those things that will affect you forever. You just never know it'll turn out that way at the time."

I can see now that I was too young. Too young to know exactly what it was that I was doing, too young to know what real responsibility was, too young to know how to love someone (particularly him), and how to be loved in return. In the years since, I know that I've grown and changed an incredible amount, but there's always been the nagging feeling that I wasn't fully "over it", that I wasn't dealing with the after-effects of said Badness well-enough. It still loomed over me and I felt like I would forever be stuck under this shadow of I'm-a-terrible-person. At a few points, I thought I was over It. Turned out that it was just repression.

When I saw J at a conference last term, I reacted to it so terribly that I knew I had to go back to counselling. I saw him once not too long ago while I was waiting at a bus stop and I literally ...froze. For a few minutes, all I could do was stand perfectly still and stare ahead across the street as he approached on the sidewalk. I'm pretty sure I stopped breathing for a minute. I think he may have said hello as he passed my statue-like body, but I didn't hear him because everything, even the air on which his words would have been carried, seemed completely immobile. My life had gotten to a point where it was just a waiting game; I just wanted it all to go away and had no idea what to do about it, so I just stood there and waited for it to pass.

This morning was the first time in three years that I did not react in some negative way to seeing him. And believe it or not, it was on a bus. Apparently he's on the same bus route as me, just like in high school. I got on this morning and completely breezed right by him as I found a seat in the back. I didn't even notice him until he got up and walked out the back door at his stop. I was stunned. I couldn't believe that it was I who didn't see him (granted, he might have not seen me either, unless he was ignoring me). In the past, I'd practically be able to sense his presence in the same vicinity as me. Now, this probably doesn't mean that I'm any more "over it" than I was a month ago, but I'd like to think that it means something. That there must have been another element of closure that I didn't have a few months ago, that maybe the counselling helped and has led to increased self-awareness, that maybe I'm actually ...better. Because it's not like I'm numb to It - I still have loads of emotion about the whole situation, but the difference is that I remember it. I don't feel it anymore.

It's been over three years since. And though I can't necessarily tell when It will completely end, it's Tuesday, and I'm feeling okay.