I met up with my ex best friend. It was everything but scary. It felt good, weird, intimate and warm.
I’d let fear hold me back for nine years before reaching out.
The lost years
‘Hey,’ I said to her. I didn’t know what else to say. Should I ask ‘how’s life’ or should I say ‘sorry’ for the past?
She smiled and said ‘hi’. I felt a surge of relief deep inside.
I told her frankly that I didn’t know what to say, but I asked her one question that kept coming back to me through all these years — do you still hate me?
She laughed it off.
It took a while to warm up, but we started to fill the gap between now and then.
She lost her dad and grandfather. I lost my uncle. I told her that I cried the day before thinking of letting go of the company that I built. She said she gets that, she gave up two years of post grad studies due to system and human factors.
We talked about family, regrets, future and love.
Fear is our biggest foe in life
I dated my best friend’s ex- boyfriend when I was seventeen.
It was inconsiderate and destructive; maybe this is an arrangement of life so that it could teach me an important lesson.
Both of us dealt with it the teenage way — she felt betrayed while I felt rightful of my choice. We stopped talking to each other ever since.
Even though I cared so much that I dreamt about her many times, pride got the best of me.
I was afraid to reach out thinking that what if she still hates me? What if she rejected me? What if she said something mean to hurt me?
Life has its way of humbling us
I used to think that we will never cross each other’s path ever again, but life has its way of humbling us.
One day, we’ll learn that even the biggest moment in life became a piece of memory sitting somewhere in our mind. It doesn’t matter that much after all.
Eventually, pain goes away, hatred goes away, anger goes away.
Life prepares you step by step to the moment when you realise that you are strong enough to come face to face with fear and rejection. You give your best shot in things that matter and move on with your head held high.
We have the choice to rewrite our stories
‘Thank you’, she texted me afterwards.
Thank you too, for the best years of my childhood and adolescent.
We would not and could not go back to being what we used to be, but I’m thankful for what we had.
Instead of the sour ending from nine years ago, we set aside ego and extended our story with forgiveness and love.
I am proud of the person we have become today. I admire the softness and compassion in her eyes.
I have never hated her. Pride built a wall so high it took me so long to overcome it.
I ticked off a ‘what if’ in life
On the way home, I grabbed my favourite green tea ice cream and savoured it with a big smile on my face.
It might seem like an ordinary night, an ordinary catch up, but my world was exploded with love and gratitude.
Happiness could be so simple, so real, and so affordable.
All it takes is to open our heart and make the right choices.
Isabelle Thye is a coffee enthusiast based in Malaysia. She co-founded a café consultancy business and started her own coffee label CHNO. Besides building her coffee business, Isabelle enjoys writing and backpacking around the world.
Image courtesy of Seth Doyle.