I went to college in the deep, deep South of New Orleans as in if you went any further South, you would be in the Gulf of Mexico. Well, you had to still drive a ways, but that was more a function of the shitty roads down there than distance. I moved there at age 18 years and six months to embark on my illustrious collegiate career after living for 14 years in the uptight, frigid (temperature and otherwise) and all around wretched mid-Atlantic.
In choosing Tulane, that illustrious alma mater of such luminaries as Jerry Springer, Newt Gingrich and Amy Carter, I yearned for the following: a) warm weather; b) warm weather and c) warm weather. It was indeed warm – saunas were cooler – and I was Dorothy in Oz having been deposited there at my wish by the good folks at US Airways. The same bastards who lost my luggage. I flew Aeroflot to Moscow in 1992 and they didn’t lose my luggage. There was duct tape on the wings of that lovely little Aeroflot jet and an engineer looking at parts of the engine quizzically, but they still managed to handle the bags. How on earth did US Airways manage to do it on a domestic direct flight, the flight that took me to college? Almost 18 years later this still annoys me no end.
It was at Tulane during my sophomore year that I also came to know an honest to Gawd Cajun Boy. He had the accent, the cooking skills and the dance moves. He was so exotic to me being from the frigid uptight Northeast, yet by Louisiana standards, he was pretty normal. Provocateur that I was, I let slip very early in our conversation that I was an atheist and he, being the Good Catholic that he was, reacted as if being hit with holy water. I think he called me a heathen which made me laugh and just flustered him even more. I was immediately smitten and I knew that he was interested too. We got to know each other, he managed to look past the atheist thing and we sort of started to date, although it was more me chasing after him and him playing hard to get. I knew deep down that we were never going to be together in the normal, boy/girl way because he had issues and I didn’t have the patience to deal with it. But, the time I spent with him was some of my happiest in college. After graduation, we kept in touch, but I was still harboring feelings for him and he had even more issues at that point, so I let him go.
I also let him go because I was embarrassed at how I had treated him sometimes in those days. I see now that I was a very normal, typical 20-something who was still a little stunted socially and had trouble navigating the muddy waters of being friends with other people. I never did anything cruel, but I wasn’t what I now consider to be a good friend. So, I continued to feel badly about how I thought I had treated him.
We reconnected last year on Facebook and I had the opportunity several months ago to finally apologize for how I had treated him. I didn’t know if he would respond, or if he did, what he would say and to be honest, I didn’t really care. It was more important at that point to tell him. He did respond, and rather than accept my apology, he gave one of his own for what he claimed was leading me on all of those years. I just had to smile at this. It was such a good reminder that what we consider to be a fault or problem is usually not even noticed by others. Here I had spent several years not wanting to contact him because I felt badly about how I had treated him and he had spent that time thinking that he had led me on in college.
I thanked him for his apology while making sure that he understood that it was completely unnecessary because I knew that he was like that from the beginning and I accepted it. I also told him that I knew he was hard to get and I eventually became happy just to be with him as a friend rather than anything more because I just enjoyed his company (oh, and did I mention that the boy could cook?). I didn’t hear anything further from him, but I had to hope that his heart had been lightened a little just as mine had.
Has telling the truth brought you similar experiences? Please share.