I called CB today. I called to see if she wanted to hang out with me tonight because I have been feeling sentimental about her and because my prolonged absence from her is sometimes startling. Terrifying. I notice I sometimes feel a sudden panic -- I should be home, I suddenly think. What's CB doing?? She'll be sad! She'll miss me! As though I've only been gone a few hours and she's been home that long, waiting for me. This is the way people often feel months (even years) after the death of a loved one. I still sometimes am panicked to realize I didn't send my brother a birthday card, though it has been four years now since his death. There is an intense feeling of loss and regret in this feeling of panic. An urgency -- as though there is an action I should be taking right this minute to solve it, save it, fix it, now! The challenge is to relax into the loss and regret, even the panic, to recognize that there is no action necessarily to take.
So I called CB and left a message and she called back within a few minutes. She did not sound drunk. She sounded hurt, cold, angry. She declined to hang out. It was a stiff, uncomfortable conversation. It ended quickly, brought tears to my eyes and I walked aimlessly down the sidewalk outside the coffeeshop, staring into my cell phone screen, blinking, and blinking.
This is the experience. This is the whole experience.