I can't remember how exactly I started
talking to this girl, but I think she commented on how one of her really
good friends had just died of cancer recently. Upon hearing this, I got
a bit concerned (and I don't even know why, since I didn't know her at
all; guess it's just my nature or something). So I started talking to
her, and eventually the conversation got off of the depressing subject
and onto more cheerful stuff (favorite hobbies, how old are you, what's
your location, etc). Before I knew it, I had made yet another
cyber-friend named Heidi.
When I announced that I had to leave, we added each other to our contact
lists and decided to stay in contact. Over the next couple weeks, Heidi
and I must have talked for hours upon hours at night. During these
talks, I found out that she had cerebral palsy that affected her in such
a way that she couldn't walk and had to travel by a wheelchair. Now this
kind of spooked me, because the only relationship I've ever been in in
my 18 (at the time) years involved a girl who was similarly stricken
with cerebral palsy. Finding out about her affliction didn't change how
I viewed her, though: having had a girlfriend with CP, I had a little
experience with the affliction.
One night (think it was maybe the third or fifth night we'd known each
other) she started calling me stuff like "cute" and "sweet." Now for me,
this just made me go nuts for her. I've never been lucky in the love
department, and when a girl calls me stuff like "cute" or "sweet," it
makes me feel really happy. She confessed that she liked me, and I
realized that I was falling for her as well
Needless to say, our talks got a little more...intimate, I guess you
could say, over the next few days. We got kind of sappy with each other
over the voice chat line (on the rare occasions when we COULD voice
chat. Damn roomates!). I would check my e-mail in the morning and find
an e-mail message from her saying stuff like "Take care sweetheart,"
"love you" and things like that. Even when I wasn't talking to her or
reading an e-mail from her, it felt like all I could think about was
her. I was falling pretty hard for her, and from the sounds of her
e-mails and chats, she was feeling the same way about me.
Then, one night, the "idiot gear" (as Silent Bob would no doubt put it)
kicked in. One night, when I was thinking about Heidi (after having yet
another sappy chat session) a question popped into my mind: "Chris, do
you like Heidi for something that you see in her, or do you only like
her because she likes you?" At that moment, all the warm feelings, all
the warmth that was in my heart just thinking about this girl seemed to
just vanish as I tried to resolve that question. I seriously began to
wonder if the only reason I was falling for Heidi was because she fell
for me first. The more the question ate at me, the more the warmth
I tried to play it off for the next few days, thinking that the feeling
would somehow return. But it never did. No matter how much I tried to
think about her the way I did before, I could never recapture the warm,
sappy feeling that I always got whenever I thought about her. I knew
what I had to do: I had to confess to her what had happened. It wouldn't
be fair to her to continue with the charade that I had been putting on
for the past two or three nights.
Thursday night, during one of our chat sessions, I told Heidi that I had
something to tell her (I remember it was Thursday because of what was on
the TV that night: it was the ER episode where Mark Greene and Elizabeth
Corday got married. How ironic...). I confessed to her that the feelings
had just...vanished, is the only way I could put it.
Now I didn't expect her to take the confession very well. But what she
typed next was absolutely stinging. She said "fuck you." Not even a
warning, not even a preliminary sentence. Just "fuck you." I tried to
explain things: the questions that had popped up in my mind that night,
the mental turmoil I had gone through trying to resolve these doubts in
my mind. Her response: "FUCK YOU!" At that point, I expected her to end
the conversation and put me on her ignore list. Amazingly, she didn't.
After letting the sadness and anger out of her system, we began to talk
about exactly what was going on - which, truthfully, I didn't know any
more than she did. I thought I had resolved the question in my mind, but
the intensity of my feelings for her just wasn't there anymore. It was
as though that one measly doubt in my mind had obliterated the feelings
that I had for her.
Over the next several days, Heidi and I talked more. We tried coming up
with theories as to what happened, very few of which seemed to make
sense. The only one I could come up with was that I had gotten scared of
falling so fast into a relationship, and those doubts had started
plowing into my mind. So we tried to remain friends, hoping that if we
took it slower the second time around, those feelings might return.
After the first night, it was clear that neither of us could handle
being just friends. The problem was, we couldn't get back together
because the emotions were still gone on my end. We decided that the best
thing to do was to pull the plug entirely. Or at least, I thought we
decided that. It seemed that every time we were about to go our separate
ways, she said "wait! Let's work it out." or something like that. I knew
that the only way this could go would be to pull the plug, but I just
didn't have the heart to pull the plug unless she went along with it
too. So the whole "retreat, advance" pattern continued throughout the
next few days.
Finally, a few days later, I was getting tired of the "retreat, advance"
pattern, and I did something that, in retrospect, was really heartless.
At the time though, I thought it was necessary for both of us.
I pulled the plug.
I abruptly ended the conversation and logged off of Yahoo Chat.
Heartless? Yes, incredibly so. And I regret it now. I know that I hurt
her badly, but at the time, I was getting incredibly frustrated, and I
just snapped and pulled the plug.
I haven't heard from Heidi since then. Quite frankly, I deserve that. I
did something heartless to her, and I don't even know why. Maybe I was
afraid of taking the long path down to a possible relationship (or
possibly just being friends in the end) or maybe I was too busy pining
over what we had before to appreciate what we had in the present and
might have had in the future.
I haven't heard from her since I hung up on her. But every now and then,
something reminds me of her. I was working at my summer job, and on the
radio came the Gordon Lightfoot song "If you Could Read My Mind." These
lyrics brought back memories of Heidi:
"And if you read between the lines you'll know that I'm just trying to
understand The feeling that you left I never thought I could feel this
way and I've got to say that I just don't get it I don't know where we
went wrong but the feelings gone and I just can't get it back"
Another time, soon after I started my sophomore year of college, I
bought the movie "Chasing Amy." One of the scenes in the movie made me
think about how I had handled the relationship with Heidi: the scene
where Silent Bob relates his story of how his insecurities ruined his
relationship with the girl of his dreams, and how he's spent every day
since then "chasing Amy." I realized that what Silent Bob did was
exactly what I had done with Heidi: I let my fears and insecurities get
in the way, and in the process destroyed what could have been a
I guess what I'm trying to say is not to let your fears and insecurities
get the better of you. No matter what, don't let that negativity control
you. Don't be afraid to take the more difficult or more lengthy path.
That might be the path that leads to the best relationship to ever
happen in your life.
And Heidi, on the slim chance that you ever come across this story and
read it: I want to say that I'm very, very sorry about what I did. It
was heartless, it was selfish, it was cowardly, and I feel horrible
about it now. I don't expect absolution. I don't expect forgiveness. I
don't even expect you to accept this apology, assuming you find it.
Hell, I'd understand if you didn't believe a word I just said. But I'm
being completely, 100% honest with you when I say that I'm terribly
sorry for what I did.