Average Jane



Being Left

The saying goes “No man is an island.” I agree to an extent.

However, I believe that I happen to be a thinly attached peninsula: connected, but barely.

When I was growing up, maybe around 5 or 6 years of age, I was left in JC Pennys. I went one way around a hat rack, and my parents went the other. As I came around the far side of the hat rack, prepared to surprise my parents with my stealthy maneuvering, I was stunned to find them gone. Desperate, tears welling in my warm, almond eyes, I was panicked. “Mommy? Daddy?” I called, thinking surely they would answer to their names. When my calls came back to me like a boomerang thrown into the silence of the store, the tentative tears began to fall. I remember talking to an employee, my name being called over the loudspeaker. It’s strange. I remember so many details about that day, but I don’t remember my parents ever coming to get me. I think, in some ways, I left a part of me in the store that day: I left my trust.

My mother is my hero. Juggling a disabled son, an overworked husband, a household, a job, (and a daughter) left her spread thin. So thin that she wasn’t able to meet me at home after school, leaving me a latchkey kid at 7. So thin that for as long as I could remember, she was the last parent to arrive to pick me up from all of my activities. I have been apologizing for my mom for as long as I can remember. “I’m sorry you have to wait for me. She’ll be right here.” But she wasn’t, and sometimes she’d never show up. To recount all the tears I cried, worrying that I had been forgotten, would take hours. Every time I was left behind, I left a part of me there, too.

This past weekend, my dear new friend Val invited me to this absolutely fabulous party in DC. She called me on Saturday afternoon to solidify plans and out of nowhere I broke down crying. But why? After hunting for a few tense moments, I realized I was crying for the same reason that I often cry: I was worried that if we went to the party and I wanted to leave early (as I tend to do… which I’m finally ok with), I wouldn’t have a way home. Traversing a dangerous neighborhood on an icy cold night scared me, and for a moment or two, I thought that I would rather not go than risk… being left. She said, “surely people don’t just leave you places” and with those same tears falling down my cheeks as fell in JC Pennys 20 years prior, I said “yes, yes they do.”

I told her about the times that there was supposed to be a designated driver, but they decided to get drunk and I had no way home. I told her about the time I almost got left alone at the airport because the girls I was with took off to catch a plane leaving me at the ticket counter praying my bags would make it on board. I could have told her about being left alone in DC when my friend decided to go home with a guy rather than go home with me.

If we ever make plans, you will notice, I will always drive. I will always be on time. I will never leave a friend anywhere. It seems such a waste for me to be so trustable, and to not be able to reciprocate. I am the best friend you could every ask for, but expect nothing of my friends. I cannot be disappointed anymore. I have no trust left to give.

My trust has been scattered across my memories. Shattered by friends who lie, and cheat, and scheme. By family who could have been there but weren’t. By men who said they would call but didn’t.

It’s not that I don’t want to trust, but rather that I have no reason to trust. Further, that I don’t know how to trust.

I do want to trust. And there are some new people in my life, my darling Val included, who not only want to help me learn to trust, but are slowly showing me that it’s ok.

This weekend was incredible. The party was amazing. I saw old friends and new. I did what I wanted when I wanted it. I played by my rules. I felt liberated.

Perhaps no man is an island, but at least when you’re alone, there’s no one not to trust.

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Comments

  1. * Matt says:

    That’s John Dunne, buddy.

    I was totally gonna give you a ride home but we just got high and… kind of forgot about you. đŸ™‚

    You know, I still remember being left for 3.5 hours after school one day in the first grade. At first, the Catholic school playground was full of after-school activity. Then, the public school kids came for their “CCV” classes, when they’d go through our desks and steal our pens. Then, nobody was there. My dad showed up w/ no explanation and I was never one to say anything.

    Anyway, it was a bitching party. I hope to throw a rager this summer and the keg’s probably going through the front window. It’ll take no fewer than FIVE sheriff’s deputies to take me down.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 6 months ago
  2. * Matt says:

    No man is an island, entire of itself;
    every man is a piece of the continent,
    a part of the main.
    If a clod be washed away by the sea,
    Europe is the less,
    as well as if a promontory were,
    as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were.

    Any man’s death diminishes me
    because I am involved in mankind;
    and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
    it tolls for thee. . . .

    from Meditation 17 by John Donne, 1624

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 6 months ago
  3. * 123Valerie says:

    I can’t really beat Matty’s literary nod, but I am glad that you felt comfortable and welcome-that’s what it’s about, my dear.

    You will never be left, nor will you ever be held down.

    That’s the beauty of true friends. They understand when you need to run, and they understand when you’re paralyzed. We may be a raucous bunch, but we’re honest.

    And we love your glasses.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 6 months ago
  4. * Hey Pretty says:

    We were all very sad that you left. Laura and I especially. The brunette trifecta dissolved with your absense.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 5 months ago


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