I used to be in love with this girl, Chelley. She was awkward and funny and crass and beautiful all at the same time. I won't go into the specifics of what transpired between us, but she pretty much abandoned our friendship. It took me a great deal of time to get over this. So, why am I bringing it up now?
Because she is tied to one of my most cherished memories.
It took place around two years ago, Thanksgiving weekend.
I hadn't seen or heard from her since July then. She up and left one night. I called her every day from July to September, clinging onto hope that maybe she was sick or had been hospitalized and wasn't able to return my call due to some horrible tragedy. I couldn't accept that she just didn't want to deal with me. I eventually gave up, facing what I didn't want to admit to myself.
I was rummaging through my closet that Thanksgiving and found a present I had bought her that was never delivered. It sparked thoughts that I knew wouldn't leave my head until I resolved them somehow. So I did what came natural: I tried to call her.
This time it wasn't as easy as before. I dialed her number carefully, allowing my head to fill with doubt. She made it clear with her actions she didn't want to hear from me, so why try? At some point during this internal conflict, I had put the phone to my ear and heard a voice.
It was all I could manage to say at the moment. I had planned out exactly what I wanted to tell her beforehand. Of course, this was before she actually responded. I don't quite remember what else happened, but the conversation was mainly about how she was doing and how good it was to hear from me. The only thing I remember was how it ended.
"Okay, so we'll hang out tomorrow. I miss you."
"Uhm, yeah tomorrow. See ya."
It took me a few minutes to realize that I had just made plans with her. I instantly felt nauseous.
The next day, she called me around 6. She was on her way to my house. I felt a little more nauseous. After all, the last time I saw her was July, outside of my house and in my arms. I was still very hurt and somewhat bitter, so I wasn't sure how I was going to react.
She knocked on the door and I braced myself.
The first thing I noticed was that her hair had changed drastically. The left side of her head was shaved down, and the rest of her hair was a wild mess of teased hair, with bangs. It looked amazing. Her glasses had changed too. She had on grandmother chic eyewear. She was dressed in cut off shorts and a red jacket, with her usual shoe of choice: Nike dunks. Normally I couldn't stand the sight of that kind of abrasive style on girls; but she made it look graceful and elegant.
Before I opened the door, I had spent the better part of the day thinking about how I would confront her. I had laid down a plan of attack. I was going to make her cry like I did when she disappeared. I wanted to make her as broken as I felt. After I got a look at her, I knew this was not going to happen.
We hugged and stared at each other for a moment. I didn't know what to say. The air fell thick with tension. I pulled out a cigarette. I couldn't think of anything else to do. We smoked and sat on my porch. After 5 minutes, we had become close friends and couldn't stop talking. When you see someone you really care about again, it doesn't really matter how long it had been since you saw them. The conversation picks up as if you had spent all day together.
We went to South Beach, where we spent the majority of our friendship. We walked around Lincoln Road, talking and laughing and enjoying each others company. We had decided to see a movie previously, so we headed for the theater.
It started to rain and we had a few minutes to kill, so we stopped under a roof in front of a bank. There was a ledge that was high enough to sit on. We both pulled out or respective pack of cigarettes, and lit up. I took a drag and let it out slowly. Then I looked at Chelley.
This is my most cherished memory of her.
It's the first time that whole night that we sat in silence. That weekend we went on to get drunk together, confessed how we felt for each other, and kissed. That kiss was one I had prayed for since I had met her, but that's not my most cherished memory. Sitting in silence with her while it rained was. It's like what Uma Thurman's character in Pulp Fiction says. That's when you know you've found someone really special, when you can share a comfortable silence. This memory came rushing back to me today while reading a Don Miller book.
While I don't have Chelley around anymore, that night taught me something very valuable about my life and something about God that I hadn't realized until tonight. When I turned my back on God, I often felt completely alone. I don't feel that same way anymore. Life isn't any easier and I slip up now and then and hit a severe block of loneliness and depression. I've cried, I've screamed, and I've sworn. But the most important thing I've done during these times is mourn. The difference between how I mourn now and I mourned then was before I mourned alone.
Nowadays, when I mourn I feel God mourning with me. Sitting in comfortable silence with me. Not quite telling me things will be better, but just letting me know I'm not alone in my pain. It makes all the difference to me. A lot of people think that you can't feel God; but I think they just don't know what to look for. I saw and felt God in the eyes of Chelley then, and I feel God whenever I'm alone too. People are what God uses to show himself to others. Once you've had your comfortable silence memory with someone else, I think God will make sure you have that comfortable silence when you're alone with him.
Sorry for this being so long. I just felt I had to get this out there.