Those who know me may be aware that I am a secretive person in many areas of my life. One very personal area concerns a woman who I’ve hurt so immensely, that for over 12 years she has refused to talk to me. Her name is Joan, and I won’t go into the details other than to say in late 2005 I used private conversations I had with Joan along with very intimate personal details to manipulate her into doing something she would more than likely not have done otherwise.
I knew what I was doing was wrong and even though at the time I believed I had a valid reason, I still did this thing to Joan. While I was undertaking my emotional fraud I am quite sure after some time she knew it was I who was perpetrating this horrible act, and in one moment I had even started crying while manipulating her. I knew this was wrong and If I had the kind of “balls” a man like me likes to think he has, then I would have just told her the truth long before this manipulation killed our relationship, any possible future intimacy, trust, hell this killed everything her and I had ever shared together and to this day she hasn’t directed more than few dozen sentences at me since the last time I saw her in 2006.
Shorty after she discovered it was I who had been playing with emotions, Joan clearly expressed her immediate thoughts to me in a two-word sentence over the phone which was clearly understood.
So why would I wait 12 years before owning my selfish act? While I am ever hopeful that something more than my anonymous public disclosure might occur, I know that at the very heart of my message there is truth, honesty and a sincere willingness to fully set right this despicable act as Joan rightfully deserves.
What was to be a trip to the west coast on business with a long-awaited layover to spend time with Joan, and some of my other friends turned into a hurried business affair following a brief unannounced visit to Joan’s workplace to look her in the eye, admit I was wrong and take whatever happened afterward.
The fact is that before this emotional nightmare took place, she and I had been planning on spending some time together when I came out to the west coast. Mind you, she and I were not sexually involved, rather we had a very personal, deep emotional bond that slowly grew out of our individual and collective experiences and that is the only reason I would even consider making such a bold act over 12 years later!
This was a new all-time low for a man like myself. I had never felt so intensely lost, confused and deeply ashamed as I did this day, and the only rational thought I could muster was recounting the whole foul story to a very close friend who lived close to Joan and taking his advice no matter how distasteful it might become.
The words my trusted friend gave me were more than I could even fully own or appreciate at the time, but remembering them helped me make the journey to Joan’s workplace to make my amends to her, as well as, provide some gentle healing fuel for afterward.
The path was clear. What I would do was simply stand face to face with Joan and admit I was wrong and then ask her how can I make this right? From there this was no longer about me, MY perceived feelings, or anything that pertained to me. This amends was only about me owning what I did to Joan, and what she wanted in return.
I remember her looking at me the moment she realized who was walking up to her. Her gaze was quick, hot, angry but as quick as I felt her anger, it was replaced with such pain, sadness, and disbelief. She was no longer looking at me, but rather through me. She refused to look directly at me, but it felt like the entire world was staring at me when she quietly uttered: “Why?”
Years before I had adopted a 12-step lifestyle, and in such matters what I wanted to say was not the reason I was now standing in front of Joan. I was there to own the wrong I had done to her, and the only honest thing I could say was, “I do not know, Joan, I am not a smart man”.
The remaining minutes were agonizingly silent, and while Joan continued to emptily look through me, I sheepishly said, “see you later”, got in my car and drove away. That was the last time I physically spoke to or saw Joan again.
I’d love to give you this warm, loving postscript with some chicken soup for the soul story but there isn’t one.
All I know is how I feel & the words I hear when I close my eyes and think about any of the beautiful moments she and I once shared.
There is far more to this than words can explain…..