I saw him in a dream

What the FUCK is wrong with you?!!

His sheepish smile instantly transformed to injured horror.  “What do you want me to say? I can’t DO anything about it now.”

You could say you’re sorry.  

He made a choice, took a breath, and decided.  “You’re right. I’m sorry.”

And you could tell me I’m right.

“About what?”

You remember how we used to argue – err, discuss things – and I would tell you that you ought to be more sympathetic to people who seemed from the outside like they make bad choices?

“What does that have to do with anything?”

Seriously?  Where the fuck are you now?

“There’s no need to swear.”

Bullshit there isn’t.  And fuck you.

“Okay I can see you’re really angry – “

No shit, Sherlock.

“ – so I’ll come back another time.”

No!  Please – wait! Come back.  Please stay for a bit. Please. I’ve really missed you.

“Are you ready to be nice?”

…. Yes.  Maybe. I’ll try.  I’m really angry with you, you know?

“I can see that, yes.  But I can’t do anything about it now, and being mean to me isn’t helpful.”

(Silence.  Tears drop onto my cheeks.)

“So – what were you trying to say?  About sympathy? I don’t see what that has to do with me.”

Oh yes.  You always had zero sympathy for anyone who made less-than-perfect choices.  You seemed to be incapable of empathizing for anyone’s particular difficulties that were outside of your experience.  Even difficulties that you were witness to, you never empathized if your friend / acquaintance thought about their options differently than you would, or had different priorities, or pressures that you didn’t understand.  Particularly people who (insert meaningful glare here) take their own lives. Do you understand what I’m getting at now?

That’s what you wanted to talk about?”

Is there something wrong with talking about that?

“It’s just that I thought you would be happy to see me, so I made the effort to come see you.  You look well and I’m glad you are happy.”

(Crying)

I miss you.  We should have been friends for a long time.  You and your wife should have grown old together.  Did you think about her?! About how you left her alone?

“She didn’t want anything to do with me anymore.”

That’s bullshit and you know it.  She loves you more than you realize and misses you more than you know.

“No she doesn’t.”

Yes she fucking does –

“Language.”

Too fucking bad!  Yes she loves you, and she blames herself.  I called her last week and just listened for as long as I could spare while she worked on processing all this shit.  She. Misses. You. And. Feels. Like. Half. Her. Life. Is. GONE.

At this, he looks shocked, and on the verge of tears himself.

“… I had no idea …”

Of course you didn’t.  Because you have no empathy.  You know, that thing that I’ve been trying to get you to develop so that you can make the world around you a better place.  But you were resistant and dismissive, and now this particular character deficiency has come around and bitten you in the ass.  Your lack of empathy kept you blind to how much you matter to everyone else, and in your despair you did something that you can’t undo.  You fucked up big time.

“…. I … I … I don’t know what to say …”

You could go visit her next time, tell her you’re sorry, and just let her yell at you.  I would tell you that now you know for next time, but that’s a bit of a moot point now.

(He hangs his head.  I reach out.)

I miss you and I love you.  Yes I’m angry at you. I’ll be angry at you for a while, and she will be angry, too.  Please understand that we’ll forgive you eventually, but as I said – you fucked up and you’ll have to wait a while.

(He fades.  He’s gone. It feels empty.  I cry.)

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