Moving Forward  
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Moving Forward  

Rachel Stein is a contributor to the AJT.

Toco Hills resident Rachel Stein writes about spirituality and, working with readers, tries to help community members deal with dilemmas.

“HOW-COULD-YOU-DO-THAT?” I sputtered, spewing arrows of venom at my erstwhile friend.

For a sizzling moment, we locked eyes, and then she looked down, drawing circles on the floor with her foot.

“I’m s-sorry,” she stammered. “But- I didn’t realize I was hurting you. You see …”

Her justifications bounced violently against the stone wall of my heart, ricocheting right back towards her with ferocious speed.

“Don’t you dare excuse yourself!” I commanded, surprised by the volcanic fury that engulfed me. “You’re just making things worse. You did something terrible and you can never take it away!”

Her warm hazel eyes, eyes that I knew so well, filled with tears. She blinked and turned away.

“But,” I heard her whisper, “I thought we were friends.”

“Not anymore,” I hissed.

There is no way I will continue our relationship after what she did. How could she treat me like that? After so many years of trust, confidences, giving, sharing. Conversations that lasted for hours, soothing me like a warm blanket on a wintry night. And then THIS, a hard, jolting crash into reality. I guess I never really knew her. Perhaps our whole relationship was a farce. She’s not the person I thought she was. Oh, well. I sighed. I never subscribed to the dictum “All good things must come to an end.” But I suppose even sister-friendships are not inviolable. Perhaps nothing in this world is permanent?  We give and give again, I sighed. And where does it get us? Are we reciprocated with love? Appreciation?

I shook my head. No. Only a stab in the heart.

Downcast, I turned away. As I walked, feeling her eyes boring into my back, I lifted my head high, attempting to bolster my downtrodden spirit. You’ll be okay. You’ll manage without her. You’re strong. You’ve weathered storms before. But then my shoulders sagged with a weight too heavy to bear, and the tears began to fall, a waterfall gaining momentum. I’ll miss her, I admitted in some place deep inside. She really was a good friend. I don’t know if I’ll find anyone like her. What a loss.

I turned my eyes heavenward, gazing at an azure sky, astounding in its vastness. “Thank you, G-d, for the gift of friendship that lasted all these years. It hurts right now, but I’m grateful that it was in my life for so long. I suppose I had it when I needed it most.”

I sighed and resolved to stay strong. I can continue my journey, even without her. No one needs a friend who will stoop so low. And then I heard a whisper, and I turned around.

“Please,” she begged, her eyes streaming with pain and regret. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Can you forgive me?”

I froze, uncertain. Could I relegate her betrayal to a one-time mistake? Was it even possible, after this altercation, to start anew?

I took a step closer, then two, until I was face to face – with my reflection. I nodded and gave a small, hesitant smile. “Yes,” I whispered, gazing into the familiar eyes that were smiling in response. “I forgive you. Let’s move forward, together.”

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