Apr. 9th, 2017 10:11 pm
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Things are getting better, I would say. Spring Break was really when my mood started to return to normal. Going to SXSW, going to All-Con, and hanging out with friends again reminded me that not every night had to be full of grading, boredom, and loneliness. Pretty much every weekend since then I've had stuff going on, or I've made something happen. I haven't started any costumes yet like I wanted, but I probably won't until I move into my own place this summer. (I would've moved out during Spring Break if it hadn't been for an unexpected $3000 truck repair bill. :T) Then it'll be a mad rush. But that's okay, since I'll be on summer break.
And as soon as we get out for the summer, I'll be heading off to Turkey for two weeks. A lot of people are nay-sayers telling me I shouldn't go because it's not safe or it's financially irresponsible, but there are dangers everywhere and I'd spend the money on something else even if I didn't go. I'm really looking forward to it. I'm a bit behind on my Turkish lessons. I almost think learning Japanese was easier. At least Turkish has a similar alphabet, but so many vowels and odd phonemes and those words are so long too! I don't even know pronouns yet. But anyways, it's going to be awesome. The exchange rate makes it really affordable and allowed me to stretch what I thought what would be a 10-day trip into a 15-day trip. There's a chance I may get lonely or homesick after traveling that long on my own but I think I've got enough planned to keep me occupied. Maybe my next trip abroad I'll actually have a travel partner for once.
Work is . . . moving along. Even though it's the second semester which should just be a repeat of last semester, I'm still so busy every day that when I finally look up, it's the weekend again. I don't know if that's a good thing or bad thing. The year will be over before I know it. And the assistant principal that's over the science department let me know in a roundabout way that I'd be welcome there next year. Even though I had no concrete reason to doubt my continued employment, it's good to know that I'm not totally worthless at this teaching stuff. I wish they'd discontinue that one stray “Earth & Space Science” class that I'm solely responsible for. The counselors have turned it into a dumping ground for lazy/challenged students and I neglect planning for it in lieu of my dear physics classes. But . . . I got this job because my civil engineering experience made me uniquely qualified to teach ESS. So if it goes, then so does part of my worth towards the school.
Also, Bamboo and I are talking again. It's limited to texting, since I'm holding to that “respect my need for distance” request until told otherwise, but we talk easily and fairly frequently. And she's re-friended (?) me on various online outlets too. These developments have really helped to cut through that knot of unease that's been living in me for months. I'm eager to try and restore that friendship of course. Yet, I know that that's not up to me. So we'll see.
I guess I'd say I'm almost content with how things are going right now.


Mar. 11th, 2017 04:30 pm
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Today was the Friday before Spring Break, meaning that this semester is already halfway over. Considering how distracted from work I’ve been lately, this came as a bit of a surprising realization. This morning came another odd development.
During first period, the kids are taking a test and I’m not even really in teacher mode anymore. I get a text saying, “Check your door,” from B. I was dumbfounded for a moment. I really didn’t even think it was a real text at first, since I assumed she’d blocked my number long ago. After I double-checked that the text was truly from her, I could only guess that she must’ve dropped off some of my belongings at my door. I’d asked her to return some things weeks ago and never heard back, so I assumed she’d thrown them away or kept what she wanted.
Instead, on the front of my door was a post-it note that said, “I really miss your friendship . . .” This confused me further. Did she really leave that, or was it maybe Anna, or maybe a student who knows enough to try some sort of prank? It just seemed like such an odd way to get in touch. If B still had my number, she could’ve just texted that, instead of leaving a note in plain view in the hallway. It just seemed so . . . roundabout.
Once I concluded that it had to be her, the words sank in. It meant a lot to me, to know that her feelings towards me aren’t 100% pure animosity. You wouldn’t write a note to someone to tell them you miss them if you absolutely hate them. I told myself not to read into the message though, to not get my hopes up about reconciliation. I only began to get over this incident a couple weeks ago, when I finally gave up that things could be fixed between us. I’ve been low-grade miserable since then, but this is much more bearable than the emotional weeks that preceded it. If I got my hopes up unnecessarily I’d just go back to that agonizing limbo. One short note doesn’t change anything.
I wanted to respond, “You never lost my friendship,” or, “It doesn’t have to be like this,” but all I replied with was, “Me too. Like whoa.” I’m certain her note wasn’t an invitation for dialogue, but neither could I not respond to it.

I tried not to read into the note, but here I am a day later wondering, “Why would she even write that?”, pondering this note like it’s something significant. Up until now it seemed so clear that all she wanted from me was distance and silence. If she wanted this friendship dead and buried, why visit the grave? At this point we’ve been strangers longer than we were friends. The only way I’ve been able to get over this friendship is by trying my best to forget it. Don’t remind me of what I’ve lost. Don’t show kindness to me.
I don’t get it.


Feb. 5th, 2017 04:30 pm
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She finally spoke to me this week. She stopped by early before classes had started. She had been reading my letters after all, it seemed. She said that she believed me that this had been an accident, but that she still felt hurt, betrayed, and violated. She would probably never feel completely comfortable around me or ever be able to fully trust me again.
From past relationships, I know that I misunderstand or underestimate people’s emotions often. All along I’d been thinking that if she believed me, we could find some way to save our friendship. For the past month and a half, this belief had sustained my hope. I brought that point up somehow and she responded, “It’s not a matter of whether I believe you or not, it doesn’t change how this made me feel.”
The other important thing she said was that she needed me to respect her need for distance. Weeks of silence, telling me that she can’t trust me, and that she needs distance … all of that can only mean one thing. We’ll never be friends again. This final answer broke my heart for a third time. The first time had been the night her neighbor contacted me and I began to fathom the pain she must feel. The second time was a few days later, when I realized she didn’t trust/believe me enough to give me a chance to explain. And now this.
I thanked her for speaking to me. The silence had been agony. This wasn’t the outcome I had hoped for, but at least I now knew.

I never thought I could love a friend, but this pain is evidence that I do. This has been as painful and difficult as any romantic break-up, made worse by how suddenly and accidentally it came to be. I’ve never regretted a mistake as much as this one. Last weekend I actually prayed, that’s how desperate I was. I haven’t talked to God since my Confirmation when I was 16. I would do ANYTHING to correct this, but there’s absolutely nothing I can do.
So I keep carrying this pain around. In the week since we spoke, I feel that I have a bit of a handle on things. Slightly less emotional, but still utterly devastated. Since I can’t do anything to ease it, I try to distract myself from it. But nothing works. I haven’t touched alcohol this year; I’m afraid to drink when I’m this depressed. I’ve tried marathoning shows but can’t evade my thoughts; is this why people marathon Netflix, so they can ignore unhappiness in their life? I try to bury myself in work, but I just can’t bring myself to care about it anymore. I haven’t seen any of my friends since this happened. It would probably be good for me to spend time with them, but I know I’d be terrible company so I’ve kept to myself for the past month. I have no one to talk to about this. Not even my brother and sister-in-law care. When I told them about this outcome, I got zero response from them.
I can’t do anything for her. I can’t do anything for myself. I hate this unending helplessness.
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I had said I’d given up, but I couldn’t. None of my letters had gotten a response. I caught her in the hallway as she was leaving her classroom for the day. Either this would be the conversation that began the healing, or the last one we’d ever have. A student was accompanying her for a few steps. I thought she might allow us to return to her room to talk, but she kept moving; she wouldn’t be stopped.
(It was a hurried, freighted conversation and I can’t even accurately recall all of it. There’s gaps, but it’s not missing much.)

“Ms. B, can we talk for a minute?”
“Sorry, I really have to go.”

Student: “I’ll go this way.” *departs*

I drew closer so that we wouldn’t be overheard, but a couple or so teachers still passed by during our exchange. “I really need to speak with you.”
“I don’t want to speak with you.”

“I have to know what’s happening.”
“Nothing’s happening. I told you that I would respond when I felt ready.”

“I know, but the longer this drags on . . . I don’t know what happened. I only know half of what happened. I don’t understand what’s going on. I gave you the truth and I thought if you read that, you would understand that this was an accident.”
“That doesn’t change how it made me feel.”
“No, it doesn’t. I know that. That will never change.”

At one point she mouthed, “Stop this,” and anger flickered across her face

“We have to have this conversation.”
“This is not the right time and place for this.”
“I know, we can do it anytime, anywhere. But we have to . . .”
“I really don’t want to do this.”

By that point she was at the exterior door and I couldn’t follow her out without making an obvious scene.
I know I was being selfish but after three weeks of not knowing, I couldn’t bear the silence any more. Her anger was apparent. The fact that she didn’t deny that this was an accident didn’t feel like a victory or vindication for me. This was a rotten way to find that out. It’s probably made things worse and crushed whatever infinitesimal chance I had. Or maybe this first dribble of anger will open the gate on what she’s been holding in. Even a torrent of anger . . . or hate if she doesn’t believe me, would lead to some conversation, some understanding, some catharsis. I just couldn’t bear not knowing any more.
But I do know one thing now. I don’t dare do that again. It’s clear that I crossed the line, but there was no other way I was going to get an answer.

Giving Up

Jan. 13th, 2017 10:32 pm
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The tears had almost stopped and I knew that was a bad sign. When the tears stop, you’ve stopped grieving or stopped caring. The wound is closing over with a scab, to be replaced by unfeeling scar tissue. Monday I’d forced a “conversation,” but her reply had been limited to a couple of sentences. And whatever hope and optimism I gained from those non-commital answers faded quickly. This morning I wrote what I knew would be my last message. If I’ve reached the point where I’d rather not care instead of hope, then … it’s almost all gone. This week was the end of our school’s semester. We’d have 3 (4 if you count staff development) days off. A 3-day weekend would be plenty of time to consider my last plea, if she’s listening at all.


I keep waiting, hoping for a conversation that I know will never come. My heart continues to hope, but my mind tells me it will never happen. The conflict between the two continues to hurt me and I’m tired of crying about this every day. I could end that turmoil if I knew one thing.

Do you believe I did this intentionally?

If you do, then I must have lost your trust long before this, or somehow planted the seeds of distrust in your mind early on in our friendship. If you believe I’m a piece of shit and I should go to hell, tell me that. I need to know what you feel and think. I need to know definitively that there’s nothing left of our friendship other than memories and regret, if that’s the truth of things.
If you believe me when I say this was an accident, but the pain you felt was too great for you to ever trust me or consider being my friend again . . . I can understand. I can only hope that with enough time, we could once again be something more than strangers to each other.
If you don’t know, then that’s a question that can only be answered by talking.
Any time I’ve lost someone close, a friend, a girlfriend, or a fiancé, it always began with silence. By the time I realized that silence was permanent, any chance at healing and understanding was long gone. I’m not reaching out to you to make myself understood; I’ve already forced my words upon you too much. I want to understand you. Even if you hate me Brittney, I believe you would feel better or unburdened if you told me how you feel, what you think, and what I did to you.
I continue to do wrong in order to do right. I know it was wrong of me to force the conversation in your room the other day. I know it’s wrong of me to ask you for an answer. I know I’m breaking my promise not to contact you. I’m probably only making things worse rather than better.
But I can’t leave it like this. I’m stubborn AND an asshole. If I don’t know your side of things, if I don’t know the truth, then I can’t fully give up hoping. And that hope drives me to seek understanding and reconciliation with someone who is very important to me. Not knowing is agony because I can only assume the worst.
I wish we were talking. I miss you terribly.


Part of me felt this message sounded too beta, too supplicant, too pathetic. But time is not on my side. I can’t spend days finding the right words. The words don’t really matter, just my message. I don’t know why she won’t believe me, why she never gave me a chance to explain. But after two weeks of depression and crying, I’m just so tired of it. Hope just hurts now and I have to let it go.
Worst of all, I didn’t even have to wait through the weekend for my answer. Since today was a short school day, the campus hosted a free lunch for all the teachers in the cafeteria. I sat at a table with the science teacher whose room is next to mine. As the other teachers eventually showed up, a nucleus of science teachers sat at my table and the neighboring one. Brittney eventually showed up, made herself a plate, then left to eat in her room. The most gregarious person I know was secluding herself.
A staff meeting immediately followed the lunch. She returned for that, but sat tables away from the science group even though there was room. As the meeting concluded, she stopped by my table to talk to the department head, who was two seats away from me. I didn’t try to make eye contact or talk to her, but she had to have been aware of me. She was practically within arm’s reach. And then she left that room faster than anyone else. She must abhor my presence.
I’ve told her the truth, bared my heart to her, forced a conversation, and tried to reach out one last time. If all of that doesn’t warrant a response, then the only explanation is she must truly hate me now. I’m not even worth the breath or the text for her to tell me to get lost. I just don’t …
If we were friends, why didn’t I get a chance to explain myself? Did I over-estimate what we had? Was it easier to throw me away or hate me rather than consider my side? Why don’t I deserve a chance? I know I have many faults, but goddammit, this isn’t one of them. Why don’t I deserve a chance to save this friendship? I’ve lost her and all the people I met through her. I was beginning to discover new people and new outlets and it was so exciting and I felt that I was beginning to discover new aspects of myself through that. But I’ve lost all that. How did I manage to fuck it all up so quickly and totally? Why can’t I fix this?
I’ve never regretted a mistake as much as this one. Losing a fiance, losing girlfriends, in those cases I could feel it coming on, I understood why and saw the inevitability, at least in hindsight. This hurts so much more though, because … I lost it all instantly by accident and I can’t save it.

In the last letter I wrote her, I promised I wouldn’t contact her again, because I felt that was the appropriate thing to do. I didn’t need to promise this time. I’ve run out of words and hope. There’s no point in trying any more. I’ll never have answers or closure, just silence and hate from the person who was my best friend.
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So that’s something, at least.
A new Monday, a new school week. I never heard back from Brittney this weekend and my brief feeling of hope faded within a few hours.
This morning I contacted Anna. I still had Brittney’s statue that I’d repaired over the Christmas break. Whatever happens between us, she needs to get this semi-family heirloom back; my belongings at her place are inconsequential in comparison. I hoped that Anna could be the courier and return it to her so that I wouldn’t have to deliver it myself. But when I contacted her, I discovered that she’d de-friended me on the internet as well. That briefly stung, but I still had her phone number and dared to try that.
I was surprised that she came to my room to pick up the statue. I was expecting no response at all. She was cool towards me, almost unreadable. I have no way of knowing how this fiasco had affected her, so I told her as best I could, that if I had ever done anything intentionally or accidentally to hurt her or make her feel uncomfortable, that I was sorry for it. She seemed almost indifferent to my olive branch. She essentially responded, “I don’t have any problem. It’s between you and Brittney.”
I hadn’t asked her there to try and win her to my side, but I couldn’t help but take a minute or two to try and explain that whatever had happened, had been a mistake. And then I thanked her for being Brittney’s friend through all of this. She didn’t seem interested in discussing this matter at all, so I gave her the statue and she went on her way. Along with the statue I attached a flashdrive with various photos and videos of her and her friends I’d taken during our time together. If I wasn’t going to see her again, the photos were more useful to her than I.

I had thought something would happen that morning, or that day. I’d sent my explanation to Brittney via work email on Saturday. So even at the latest, she must have seen my email by that morning. If my missive was going to have any effect, it was going to be now. And maybe with the help of the repaired cowboy statue and the photos, that might help thaw her feelings towards me. I was probably being over-optimistic, hoping against hope that my heart-baring message would stop the door that was closing on our friendship.
I didn’t hear from Brittney.
By late afternoon I resolved to talk to her directly. Even the email wasn’t a guarantee of communication. If she was deleting my messages out-of-hand, then there was still a chance that she didn’t know the truth. I had to know that my words weren’t falling on deaf ears. Even though the advice of my friends had been unanimous: Give her time and she’ll give you a chance to explain, I couldn’t heed it. Every time I’ve lost someone close, a friend, girlfriend, or fiance, I always think the same things towards the end. “I don’t want to hurt them.” “I just want them to be happy.” “If that’s what they really want, then so be it.” etc etc etc. And I back off in order to be gentle and undemanding, to give them “time”. But everytime one of those close relationships end, I inevitably wonder, “Did I hold something back?” “If I’d been more open and honest, would that have been enough?” “Did I not fight hard enough for them?”
I’m not willing to entertain those doubts this time. I’m tired of losing people by being passive and just accepting it. I’m not going to lose someone else without fighting for them. I know I was crossing a line by approaching her at work, the one place she can’t avoid me, entering her space without any sign that I was welcome there, but I HAD TO KNOW. I can’t just lose her without knowing.
As soon as I entered her room, Brittney’s expression was hard. Not angry. “Wary” might be a better term. Anna was there, but she was on her phone. She gave us some space as I approached Brittney’s desk.
Although I’d been working out my thoughts for the past hour and picking over my letters for the past week, I almost couldn’t begin to broach the subject. I hardly made eye-contact; I didn’t want this to be more confrontational than it already was. I definitely wasn’t eloquent, but at least I didn’t cry.
From the jumble of my thoughts I expressed regret that I’d come here, but that I had to know that she’d received my message. How I was willing to accept any decision she made, so long as I knew that she had at least considered my side of things. If I was going to lose her as my best friend, then she needed all the information before she made that decision. I just needed to know that she’d received it.
Brittney had been working on her tablet when I came in and as I spoke it came up to cover the lower half of her face. I don’t know if that was a defensive or pensive posture. In a careful manner she replied that she had received my messages, but that she would only reply in her own good time. She said she needed “a break” to think about it.
That was all I needed to hear. I told her I wasn’t asking her to trust me, or believe me (those decisions are wholly up to her), all I was asking for was that she consider what I’d written. Nothing more. I could give her all the time and space she needed, so long as I knew she was at least willing to consider it.
It was a short conversation, over within 4 minutes. I wish I’d spoken better, but all my rehearsed words and critical points went out of my head the moment I entered her room. Besides, there’s no way a blitzkrieg conversation like that was going to do anything more than barely scratch the surface.
I don’t know if going there made things better or worse. No, actually I do know. It was inappropriate of me. But so often when I do what’s “appropriate,” I feel that I’ve denied my true self. For better or for worse, now I truly believe I’ve done all that I can. I probably went farther than I should have, but now I have my answer. This is a huge weight off of my shoulders. Now, whatever she decides, I can live with.*

*Yes, the rational part of my brain says I may be reading too optimistically into a non-commital answer as she gave. Maybe she just had the good grace to spare me an outright rejection. BUT this definitely wasn’t the worst possible outcome so I’m taking encouragement from that.
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It’s been a long, miserable week. Depression, little sleep, little appetite, and nausea. But by Friday the emotional jags began to diminish in number and length, enough that I could move beyond sadness and shock and begin to think more constructively. Plus it helped that I talked to Cameron and Katherine and some friends about what I was going through. They all sympathized in their limited way and their advice was essentially unanimous: give it time, if she’s a true friend she’ll forgive you or give you a chance to reconcile. That made sense to my thoughts. Really, what else could I do but wait and hope? This was beyond my control. But in my gut, I couldn’t help but think that the longer I patiently suffered in silence, the more it would look like I was slinking away in guilt and shame. The longer the silence drew out, the more her heart and ears would close to me, if they haven’t completely done so already.
I resolved to contact her one final time today, Saturday. Last Sunday was when I sent her my explanation of things. I hadn’t heard from or seen her at all since then. This morning I texted her:
I don’t fully understand what has happened between us. I have so many things to say and questions to ask, but after a week of silence I don’t think I’ll ever get the chance. But I have to know; Did you ever read my last message?
Brief and to the point. All I wanted to know was if she had received my explanation. If she had and still didn’t believe me, then there was nothing more to be said. If she hadn’t received it, then maybe there was some hope. If she told me “yes,” “no,” or “go to hell,” it would be a conclusive answer one way or another. It would end this agonizing limbo.
Six hours later, she hasn’t responded. I thought that this direct question would have warranted some response, if only to get rid of me permanently. Then it occurred to me that maybe she blocked my number when she discovered the camera-clock. If that were so, then she never would have received my explanation. There might still be a chance that I could redeem myself. I know it’s a thin hope, but at this point I’ve decided that I have to do everything I can to salvage this friendship or else I’ll always wonder what more I could’ve done.
The only avenue of communication that I have left and that I 100% trust will reach her is our work email. That can’t be blocked. I know it’s not the wisest way to communicate personal matters, but this isn’t the time for half-measures. So I sent this brief email with the same Explanation from Sunday attached.
I’m sorry I had to resort to using this channel to talk to you. I couldn’t tell if you were ignoring me or if you had blocked my number, in which case I’ve been speaking to thin air. Your friendship is so important to me that I can’t risk that chance.
I beg you to read the attachments.
I know this email will reach you. From now on I’ll know that your silence is intentional and not accidental. I won’t bother you again.

Besides the Explanation, I attached a Goodbye message, in the event that she couldn’t bring herself to believe or trust me. In it, I’m not trying to defend myself or persuade her or beg for forgiveness. It is my goodbye to her.
This letter isn’t meant to convince you of my innocence. I thought our friendship would have granted me a chance to explain myself, but your silence has told me you’ve already decided. At this point you probably never want to hear from or see me again, but if this is the end of our friendship then I literally have nothing left to lose. I need to say this in order to let you go. This letter is to say thank you and goodbye.
From the first night we met as people, you gave me your trust. I never knew someone who was so free of insecurity and confident without being arrogant. For the duration of our friendship, I marveled at how freely you gave your trust and honesty and heart to other people. I couldn’t help but wonder, “How has the world not taken advantage of her trust, of her generosity? Why isn’t she more protective of herself?” I tried looking for your cracks. I couldn’t believe you were that strong and whole after all you’ve been through, but I couldn’t find them. It made me want to emulate you. To stop being sarcastic and evasive and defensive, old protective habits that I’ve always had. I admire you, not only as a friend or colleague, but as a person.
That’s your gift. That’s why you’re so successful with your students and the world at large. Hell, that’s why you were willing to befriend an asshole like me. You give of yourself without hesitation or thoughts of gaining advantage or protecting yourself.
Even though it was just for a few months, your friendship became one of the most important things to me. I can’t remember forming a friendship as quickly or as strongly as I did with you. You are someone I never had to be different around, or had to second-guess myself with. You quickly dropped all pretenses between us and showed me who you really are and I was deeply touched by your openness and I tried to match it.
But I couldn’t adapt quickly enough. I know I was unnecessarily rude to you at times. Only recently did I realize my rudeness stemmed from my jealousy of your ability with people and how you flowed amongst them, winning jewelry from strangers or phone numbers or friends as easy as breathing. I couldn’t match your talent and I wrongly blamed you when I felt left behind. I should never have faulted you for having those qualities that allowed us to even be friends in the first place. But I was insecure and lonely.
It wasn’t just the new lifestyles or the new people you exposed me to; your very behavior gave me a glimpse that it was possible to approach and see life differently, with less anxiety and more trust and faith. I wasn’t trying to flatter you when I said I had never met anyone like you. You led me to reconsider who I could be as a person.
Throughout it all I couldn’t help but feel that I was a poor companion. I don’t dance, I barely smoke, I’m not that funny, and I’m often downright dull. That’s why I leapt at any chance to help you. When you were bored, when you were hungry, when you were cold, when you were grieving, when you were injured, when you were wasted, when you were stranded, when you were lonely. I may not have been the best company, but I wanted to repay you in any way I could for the gift of your friendship.
That is why my biggest regret and shame is that in the end, I repaid your friendship with an apparent betrayal of trust and the pain that goes with it. I couldn’t convince you that this was all an accident and frankly . . . it doesn’t matter anymore. The pain that I’ve caused you is reason enough for you to excise me from your life. I can’t forgive myself for that and I can’t expect you to forgive me either.
I’m sorry that George and possibly Anna ended up involved in this. They should not have to help pay for my recklessness, but I am truly grateful that you have them close by to help you through this. I would thank them if I could.
I take some small comfort in knowing that you’ll soon be able to replace me and forget me entirely. I won’t be able to replace you. It took me 37 years to meet someone like you. I don’t think it will happen again.
Brittney, I’ll never forgive myself for losing you as a friend. More than that, I hate myself for being the one that makes you trust the world a little less, of dimming the light that you bring to everyone. I wish there was something, anything, I could do to save our friendship, but all I can do for you now is spare you any further discomfort. I promise that I will not contact you again or approach you socially or professionally.

You deserve a better friend than me.
Thank you, and goodbye.


I’ve put it all out there. My explanation, how I feel, and how important she is to me. I’m afraid that baring my heart to her still won’t be enough. But it’s all I could do.
Somehow, sending her this message has eased my burden a bit. I’m still terribly depressed, but now that I’ve done everything I can and held nothing back I feel a bit of calmness and courage to face whatever comes next.


Jan. 4th, 2017 03:20 pm
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Today was our first day back at work. I’m still torn up about this and a student almost caught me crying in my classroom before the day started. As depressed as I was, once the bell rang, I had no choice but to go through the motions of teaching. Even though I was hardly in the proper mindset, the demands of work at least held my feelings at bay while school was in session.
During the passing periods, when we’re required to stand outside of our door, I couldn’t even look down the hallway in the direction of Brittney’s room. I was both dreading and hoping that I’d run into her today. But I didn’t see any trace of her. I couldn’t even tell if she was here at all. After-school, I half-expected to see her arrive at my room to dump my belongings and vent her hate at me. But there wasn’t even that opportunity to explain myself.
This is extremely painful for me. I can’t bear the thought of someone who is the closest friend I’ve had in decades thinking that I’m scum. I’d hoped telling the truth would have counted for something even if it came late. I can’t bear to think I’m losing my best friend over an accident. I don’t even know if she’s read my admission or if she already made up her mind beforehand and has ignored it. I’d do anything to fix this but I don’t know what else I can do. Pushing my case any further would be selfish. She’s suffered so much more than I have from this incident, my pain right now is nothing compared to hers. I just … can’t accept this loss. How can I lose this great friend over a stupid mistake?
At the absolute very least, even if I do lose her entirely, I just hope that she knows that I never meant to hurt her like this. If I could convince her of that, I wouldn’t ask for anything else.
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This all started a couple days before Christmas.
Brittney and I went out to a Mexican restaurant as a belated celebration of the commencement of our winter break. We had margaritas, 2 or 3 each, I think. On the way back to her place, she stopped at a nail salon to fix her nails. I wandered and browsed at the Spy Shop next door. As I was looking at the gadgets, I got the idea that one of those spy cameras could help me figure out how my students were cheating on tests. Of all the things that my students do, cheating is the one thing that I can’t forgive or ignore. And yet, they keep doing it. It burns me up. If I’d been sober I don’t think I would’ve bought the clock with the concealed camera. But it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Back at her place, Brittney felt like taking a long bath and left me alone. I plugged in the camera-clock to my laptop to figure out how it worked. It was much more complicated than I thought. I could get it to work through motion-detection, but I couldn’t figure out all the internet/wi-fi stuff. Brittney came out unexpectedly and asked me what I was playing with.
I didn’t want to tell her that I had bought a camera to spy on my students. I don’t think it’s technically prohibited, but it would have been shaming to admit that I needed to resort to this to combat the problems in my classroom. Especially to her. Even though we’re both first-year teachers (and I have roughly a year of experience substituting), she is a superior teacher. Her failure rate and cheating problems are virtually non-existent. I try not to be envious when we compare notes on such matters, but I am. She has personal skills that I don’t and my teaching suffers as a result. So in that moment, I couldn’t bring myself to admit what it was. I mumbled some reply to the effect of, “It’s a wi-fi clock that my brother bought me for Christmas.” She said, “Oh cool,” and returned to her bath.
As I sobered up I started to have second thoughts about this idea so I put the camera away in my bag with the rest of my belongings I keep at her place.

Both Brittney and I had separate plans on Christmas Eve and Day. On the 26th we went to the BBQ. The 27th was the next time I visited her place. In the mean time I’d tried looking up a better translated manual for the clock online. One resource pointed out that I needed to charge the battery before using the clock the first time. So when I went back to her place that evening, that’s one of the first things I did. I took the clock from my bag and plugged it alongside my charger, where I kept all of my things. This was in her bedroom.
We went out to dinner, sushi with beer and sake, like last time and then came back. Anna came over and we realized we were out of smoke so Brittney suggested that she take a power-nap while Anna and I went to get more. So we did. When we got back, George soon came over and we continued drinking and smoking. But Brittney still seemed tired so after an hour or two, it became clear that she needed to go to bed. George left. I assumed Anna would be spending the night so I headed out. Between the beer and the grass, I forgot the clock was still plugged in in the bedroom.
I didn’t really hear from Brittney the next week. Considering that we hang out virtually every other day and talk to each other daily, after three days of not being able to get a response from her, I started to wonder what was going on. On the rare instances when she would reply, she’d simply say she was “just chilling,” which was an odd response since she’s almost always “bored af” when she’s stuck at her house. My first thought was that she’d gotten tired of hanging out with me and just didn’t want to say that she was having more fun hanging with other people. Or maybe David (her glass-blowing friend) had made her that rig she wanted and she was just getting high as fuck. Or maybe she’d met a guy and they were having fun together. That seemed like a stretch, but I could only guess. My best guess was that she was mad at me. I kept trying to remember if I’d said something offensive or treated her badly at the BBQ. The night hadn’t ended well, but it hadn’t ended badly either so I couldn’t figure this out.
She hardly responded on New Year’s Eve. But the next day we’d made plans to go to a Bloody Mary Brunch together at Katherine & Mark’s, 2 of the 3 people that she actually clicked with at Courtney’s party. She’d asked me to get her an invite weeks ago and I had. So Sunday morning, when I asked if she was still interested, she turned it down. At that point I could no longer deny that something was wrong. I asked her if she was feeling okay or if she was mad at me or … .? I got no response.
Then that night it all came out. George texted me, angrily, with a picture of my camera-clock, essentially saying, “WTF is this spy shit doing in her bedroom?” That caught me off-guard. I hadn’t thought about the camera-clock in days. He proceeded to tell me that it had been recording her bedroom. I don’t know how long, but apparently it had been running. He demanded answers. It looked really bad for me. I’d never meant to use that camera on Brittney, but there was a camera that I put in her bedroom, that had been recording video. How else did it look? My stupid, panicked response was to stick with that lie I’d told weeks ago, that it was from my brother. I said I didn’t know it was a spy camera, that it must’ve been his idea, to get a look at the “secret girlfriend” that I never talked about. George didn’t respond after his first few statements. I could only assume that Brittney was witness to the conversation. I knew my story sounded stupid and paper-thin, but the moment to tell the truth had passed and I wasn’t thinking straight.
I couldn’t sleep at all that night. This explained why Brittney had been giving me the cold shoulder. She thought I was a peeping tom. It hurt even more that she hadn’t confronted me at all during those days. At least then I might’ve been able to explain myself directly. She must have just believed the worst and cut me out of her life. After a few hours of dwelling on it, I realized I had to tell the truth if there was any chance of repairing this. So early that morning I sent her what I’ve written here, with this preface and ending.
I told you a white lie two weeks ago that has led to this moment. And in a moment of panic last night I maintained that lie. This accident was all my fault, but you paid for it and I’m so very sorry for that. I lied to you because I was ashamed and I caused you unimaginable pain, so I don’t deserve a chance to explain myself but I want you to know the truth.
I got the camera-clock not to watch you, but to watch my students. I got it the day … [etc.]
… I’ve been up all night thinking about what you must’ve been going through the past few days and I couldn’t hold onto that lie any more. Of course, at this point you may not believe a damned thing I say any more. And I have to accept that.
I can never apologize enough for what this has done to you Brittney.

I know I should’ve told her the truth at the very beginning, or if I was doing something I was ashamed of, then I never should’ve bought it to begin with. Or I never should’ve left it at her place. Or I should’ve told the truth when George confronted me. Any of those choices could’ve averted this disaster.
It’s crushing me to be losing my closest friend. I told her the truth, or sent her the truth at least, three days ago. She hasn’t responded. If I had told her the truth from the beginning, we wouldn’t be here but I was trying to hide something else I was ashamed of. And now that white lie has grown into something even worse than the truth would’ve been.

August 2017

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