She said the words that, maybe thoughtless and unintentional, felt cruel and vicious and ripped my heart to shreds. I was back in high school again, feeling betrayed and ostracized and alone. All my yesterdays came crashing into my tomorrows. And I’m left to pick up the pieces and slowly put my life back together, minus one good friend.
(A little late for this word prompt)
As I stood in front of the bathroom mirror, I stared at my reflection it wasn’t like me to primp for a date. I was normally the type of girl who didn’t play up her looks for attention, relying instead on my natural wit, intelligence and charm. If a man didn’t like me for what was on the inside then he didn’t deserve to be seen with the outside, which I must admit could be quite impressive with the right amount of effort.
So it was more than a little troubling that I would go to such lengths, so early on, to impress a man I barely knew based solely on my looks. I stopped applying my eyeshadow and ran through my memories. What had he said when we met? He loved the Cubs. Well, I would have pulled my hair in a ponytail and pulled on a comfy pair of sweats so that wasn’t it. Continuing with the mascara, I carefully laid down the first layer. Then, holding the wand just above my eye it hit me. He told me, “I remember when my mother used to sit at her dressing table getting ready for dates with dad. She told me that women could achieve anything, but the sign of a true woman was not one who would do anything to prove that she could, but one who would prove that she would do anything for her true love.” He went on to tell me that his mother raised four successful, well-adjusted children and died four days after his father, her true love.
This man had learned about true love from a mother who knew the value of women and still primped for her lover. That kind of love isn’t the shiny outside wrapper our eyes are immediately drawn to, but the prize inside the wrapper, the one you savor. She had achieved something that is rarely valued these days, not getting an advanced education or having a stellar career. She raised decent children, she helped create the future. If putting on makeup for date night made her any less of a woman in someone’s eyes, they’re the fool for not seeing the truth. Women are strong, not because they want to be and not because they have to be. They just are.
She had a decision to make. It wasn’t going to be easy. Things like this never were. It would break every single fiber in her heart if she turned away and said good-bye. But what choice did she have? She could pretend it had never happened, that she hadn’t heard the malicious words said by her so-called friends, take the high road once again and pretend that being left out of their activities, something they thought was a secret, didn’t cut her to the core.
Or she could face the truth head on and admit to herself that although they told her she was a cherished friend and a vital part of their inner circle, their lies were only meant to assuage their own guilt. The irony was that she had no trouble being alone; they had insisted on including her in their group, one in which she never felt comfortable, never quite belonged.
It’s only when you open your heart that you allow it to be broken.