I checked off "forgive" on my 2007 to-do list. Maybe that was premature. I wanted to let go of any residual anger, I wanted to clean the slate. I thought that I needed to replace a horrible ending with something less unpleasant. A couple of months ago I'd said i didn't care to maintain a friendship with a certain someone who had wronged me. I didn't feel my usual need to hang on to something, remain positive, think the best etc. But it didn't last. I made that stupid list and decided to extend my forgiveness. I was back to my old way of thinking. Be positive, give people more chances, be friendly with people instead of hating them. So I sent a text message saying I hated leaving things so ugly, hoped he had a happy new year, and perhaps some day we might be friends again. He replied saying he hoped so too, happy new year, talk to you in the new year. I felt good about it. I thought i was able to put that nastiness behind me. I felt happier.
But tonight i saw him unexpectedly. I walked into a restaurant with a friend and there he was, sitting at the first table. My first reaction was to avert my eyes, pretend i hadn't seen him. But i could see in my peripheral vision that he'd noticed me and was looking at me. It really would have been impossible to miss him. So I looked at him and said hi as we walked past. It was a very awkward moment, and I can't even describe the look on his face. I think neither of us knew what to do. It was awful. Oh, one reason it was so terrible is that he seemed to be on a date, possibly back with the ex-girlfriend. If he'd been with a friend or something, i may have gone up to say a real hello. But there was no way I could walk up to that table. My friend and I sat down and i was shaking. My stomach was all in knots and all I was aware of was that he was sitting a few tables away.
I felt angry all over again. All those feelings I thought had been lain to rest were suddenly flooding back. All my noble ideas of forgiveness - bah! I don't have to give it a nice, neat ending. I don't have to try and salvage a friendship. I don't have to think good or bad or anything at all about him! I misunderstood the notion of forgiveness. It was for me, not for him. Forgiving him lifted a burden from me, but it all could have been done internally. Reaching out and acknowledging it was not a courtesy I needed to extend to him.
I did not like seeing him. That brief moment was all the discomfort I can handle. The only upside is that I'd just had my hair done and I was looking pretty damn good!