An old friend of mine died today. We were not close. She was only in my life for a few years and that was over twenty years ago. We did not keep in touch and to be honest I was really not a very good friend to her.
We met through common friends and hung out as a group for the most part. Our bond, for lack of a better word, was that she had a big crush on me. It was not something she ever directly expressed to me but for our common friends it was a constant source of conversation and amusement.
At that time I was young and stupid (age has made me just a little less stupid) and though I knew she was a special person, someone that could have been such a wonderful friend, maybe for a lifetime, because I was not attracted to her romantically I did nothing to maintain our friendship.
As I have done with most people in my life, I simply let the friendship expire without any attempt to renew.
So why am I sitting here crying like a baby as I type this?
I wish that I could say it is because I have lost someone I loved but that would be a lie. I never gave myself the chance to truly be her friend, to love her as a friend, to let her love me as a friend.
My emotional connection to her is not one of love but a reminder of lost potential, of a life, my life, so often wasted.
I cry because her death holds a mirror up to my life, a life that so far has avoided, deflected, sidestepped and rejected love like it was some kind of poison and my very life depended on not coming in contact with it.
I cry because though I accept I have done this for emotional survival reasons I also realize this so-called survival has been at the expense of any genuine happiness.
I cry because I am only now starting to realize that you should accept and cherish all love that comes in to your life in any form or fashion and to never take it for granted.
I cry because I realize that love is not something you can fill up on, its not something that overflows down your body on to the ground circling down the drain when there is too much of it in your life.
I cry because I realize though you can never have too much, you can definitely have too little and my gauge rarely rises above empty.
I cry because a life without love is not a life.
I cry because I wish I could talk to her one more time, to tell her that she is still special to me, to ask her forgiveness, to thank her for trying, to ask if we can still be friends.
I cry because, well, to put it bluntly, I realize I have lived the life of a complete fucking idiot.
I cry because I know that if I said that to her it would make her laugh and she would completely agree with me and that would make me laugh.
R.I.P. Emma Bunker (as I knew you) but with all due respect to your family, that accepted, needed and will miss your love, R.I.P. Emma Wheeler.