As if it were yesterday

friends

Forget it? no chance…

This daily prompt caused me to do  some soul-searching before I found it, hidden in the murky depths. Long forgotten save for when it occasionally resurfaces, stinging my conscience, the regret welling up from within, Horrible consequences which stem from the one horrendous act. I’ve just counted up how many years it is since it happened – 18 long years. oh how I wish never happened.

I had a few best friends at primary school, one who died when we were 12, between primary school and beginning at the local comprehensive. Most of my friends were, obviously never the same after that. However, the incident of my making was the year before.  A sweet girl had made me a best friend card. I half remember it now.

Which path to take?

I was in the corridor at lunchtime, the area on the right hand side where the benches were, along with two boys. I don’t remember why. What I do remember is the taunts, telling me it wouldn’t matter if I wrote something nasty. I don’t know why I didn’t just refuse and walk away, be the better person. The toss of a coin, or the fork in the road, which path to take, left or right. Anyway, I veered right. I don’t remember how the girl saw the card, if I was so callous as to hand it to her. I don’t remember the rest of the afternoon either, except a friend of the girl running after me, threatening to thump me. Nothing less than I deserved.

Repercussions…

Next thing I remember is how I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I think I told my mum I’d done something terrible and I hated it, the tears welling. My mum isn’t huggy particularly, but I remember she just held me while I cried. I remember my mum taking me round to the girls house. I was desperate to apologise, to make everything okay, or at least as okay as it could get. The girls response the next day, that she couldn’t forgive just like that.

I don’t remember us ever really talking after that. I remember her in the comprehensive though. I caused trouble for her then, stirred the pot. I heard her slating my old headteacher who had been very good to me. Instead of deciding it was nothing to do with me and leaving well alone, I went to another girl who shared the same religion as my old headteacher, and told her what I heard so she rounded on the girl. The first girl approached me in the playground, her eyes flashing with anger, telling me she wasn’t talking about our mutual friend but the old headteacher. and running off again. Why oh why, what is it about teenage girls, most of us have to gossip about this one and that one, separate in to cliquees to keep out one and not the other, and more besides. I remember my current bestie being by my side, who stuck by me even that day, and is still my bestie now, though many years have passed and we are many miles apart, and I have moved several times since then.

What now?

I still wonder about the girl I originally hurt. Where is she now? What is she doing with her life, is she happy, does she have children, a partner. Hoping and praying she is happy. The worst thing of all was the way I brought my Saviour into disrepute, No way for a Christian to act. I have done many hundreds, perhaps thousands of bad things since, thought this one of which I have written is the biggest regret of my life. Had we staying best friends, there’s every possibility I may have led her to Jesus, transforming her life and her confidence levels for once, and pointing her to the loving Saviour, to the love she was seeking. But all of that is history. I will never know. until one day, I will search for her in heaven, hoping someone else was a far better witness of Christ than I. Until then, I feel haunted by the mistake. Forgiven by Jesus but I cannot forget. I don’t think I ever will.

For the record, this, and one or two other incidents made me always decide to be a better friend than I was that day. I have tried, as far as possible, to use it for good. I guess that’s as much as I can do. The damage is done. Erase it? Yes please!

 

Three doors, one nightmare?

This Daily Prompt is the original inspiration for this post. It’s difficult for me to write, as I don’t normally remember my nightmares. I’m on such heavy medication that I have deep foggy sleep where I barely dream, nevermind have nightmares, so until recently, I didn’t know what they felt like. Anyway, here is my best shot…

The beginning…

There are three doors, all of equal width apart, and all the same shade of blue, which white numbers on the door. Which do I pick? I close my eyes, spin around, and stumble vaguely in the direction of the doors, entering the first one I find. Disabled people are begging in the streets, painfully thin and stinking. There is a person with a disability trying to go the wrong way through the Christmas Crowd. Pushing, pushing with all their might. I can see the effort they have to put in. They are pale, sweating and exhausted. I reach out to try to help, but they cannot see me. Yet I cannot take my eyes off their struggle. I wonder, where is their support worker, why such struggle on their own? People in the crowd tut and glare at the person, swearing under their breath at the persons stupidity in trying to fight the crowd. The do not see the person or their struggle, merely the incontinence. I stare, helpless to do anything.

Memory of struggle

Slowly, a memory comes back to me. I was that person fighting the crowds. Sweating and fighting to stay on my feet, determined to push on. I hear it, I cannot miss it. The person does not try to hide their contempt. They shout at me, swearing. Supposedly under their breath, but loud enough for me to hear. The memory is but that. Part of my nightmare… long enough ago not to remember the words, near enough to remember the swearing and the contempt. They, and the crowd, and the fight was the reason I finally gave in. I’d had enough. The next time I went to fight the crowds, I had a weapon. Not a very secret one, but a weapon. One capable of inflicting harm, nipping ankles and causing more trouble. I do not care, I am only relived that I do not have the same struggle, I have a new struggle but it is not the same nightmare as the old one.

Exploring my surroundings

The memory disappears as quickly as it came. I wonder, what else is there here? I do as the person with a disability I saw, and fight the crowds. They cannot see me, yet are aware of an inconvenience.  Irritation upon irritation. I find a shop, filed with food and good things. Freshly baked bread, warm from the oven. Cakes of all kinds, glistening icing, full of shiny fruit. Chocolate cake, dark and indulgent. Lovely fruit juice, something to quench my thirst. I feel in my pocket, searching for money. I find a few coins, not enough to buy anything. I find my wallet, go to a cash machine, reaching the buttons with difficulty. I check my balance. There is nothing. I wonder when I will have more, and with horror realize I have a few days of not eating, meaning a hospital visit for dehydration. My money for that month had gone. I wonder, how have I spent it? Perhaps on my mobile phone bill? My connection to people, to help, an antidote to the aching loneliness which sometimes haunted me. Or my food shop, supposed to be for food, but spent on washing powder, cleaning products. I could go on, but cannot bear it. I feel it afresh. Deep and Raw. So, what do I do? Join the other beggars, it’s them who shout the loudest, and yet no-one hears me, so no one gives me anything, I am invisible to them.

A Nightmare?

I wake up shivering and sweating, struggling for breath. The pain rises in my chest, breath is harder to find. Eventually the feeling passes, and I drift into a sleep which gives no rest, fighting and fighting till I lose the duvet. I am freezing, yet I do not wake. In the morning, I go to put on my trousers. I used to have help to this. I reach into the pocket, and find a few coins. This was no nightmare…

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At the moment, this is just the stuff of nightmares. And yet, the present reality is bad enough. See my previous post. Who knows what will happen when “Universal Credit” comes in?