Je Suis Prest

Even if we no longer have much in common, we would have always had the past, which, in some ways, is just as important as the present or future. It is where we come from, what makes us who we are.

-Emily Giffin, Where We Belong

Everything takes more energy when you have a broken heart, and mine is shattered. My connections to both Argo and Dana are gone, and in the words of Jack White, “I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself.” I go through the motions every day, bringing up jobs on Monster.com and applying for anything and everything, whether I’m qualified or not. It doesn’t matter. Just to get a call back on my resume is amazing. I have a head hunter that’s looking out for me, and my next step is to find my local Manpower or Robert Half. If that fails, I know I can get a job canvassing for a number of causes, because I am great at talking to people I don’t know. I can be quite perky at times, when the “Leslie Lanagan Show” is engaged.

With it, I can hide a lot of broken, as we all do.

In my silence, the broken is showing. Writing about it is the only thing that helps, especially since as I heal, I have a written record of how much pain I was in and how I struggled with the war up. It is horseshit to say that I am responsible for every wrong in this loss, but I feel as though I am. Dana and I shook hands on the fistfight, because she agreed to take 75% of the blame if I would take 25%. I would have settled for 49%. She was quite generous. Sometimes I wake up in the night, surprised she isn’t there, but those moments come less and less frequently as my electronics take up the other side of the bed and I remember that we liked having separate bedrooms just for that reason… well, and the whole naughty neighbor fantasy. That was hot. I smile in remembrance of that one all the time. Going to have to remember that one for future use. 🙂

I hate that our passion for each other is gone, in both cases really. Argo and I were intoxicated with our conversations at first, not going without talking even for an hour. We’d dash off quick notes and chat when we had the time, lost in a world of hilarity because witty banter was kind of our thing. She is a mastermind at witty banter. In the history of our relationship, I think I only shot the goal into the net once. I can’t tell you what the joke was, but I will tell you that it landed and I laughed for several days at having Kings full over Aces.

With Dana, the passion was real and it was deep. Because we’d been best friends for so long, we connected in a way that I’ve never experienced. Dana’s first words to me after we finally (FINALLY!) kissed were, “I’m amazing in bed. I just thought you should know.” She then smiled a little sheepishly and I will tell you that Dana *never* lies.

Now that I’ve stroked her ego (I hope), I will also tell you that it was passion at the other end of the spectrum. When we got mad, it was guns on the table and cutting each other to the quick. We needed counseling, badly, but for some reason we didn’t go. I do not know what that reason is, but if I had to guess it was overconfidence. We didn’t need therapy because after a fight, we were generally very good at making up. But there were some fights that were just never-ending, and the biggest ones had to do with my impression that I couldn’t trust her. I couldn’t say things in confidence and not have them repeated. It embarrassed me to no end, and in a sense, I got very tired of feeling betrayed because she always blamed it on her ADHD and that she “forgot” I’d said it in confidence.

When it got to the point that I stopped telling her things, I knew we were in trouble. Why I didn’t insist on therapy is beyond me, because maybe we could have saved a relationship that for the most part, was easy and unencumbered in the way that all long-term friends interact. I would give anything to hug her. Anything.

I would give anything to make Argo laugh. Anything.

I wonder if a little breathing room will help, and in the meantime, I am doing my best to move on in case it doesn’t. I am leaning on the people who said they would follow me, James in particular. I have never heard those words out loud, and they changed me. James said straight out, “I will follow you.” He supports me in my desire to become a shepherd, ministering to those in need. He’s been my friend since I was 17 and he was 16, the first day of chemistry class in my senior year and his junior. What brought us together is that he noticed my rainbow ring necklace, and he was ASTOUNDED that anyone had enough cojones to come out in a conservative suburb. We laughed and joked all the way through class, and then after school, we went to a coffee shop and laughed some more.

My first love, Meag, worked in the office during my chemistry class, so she came to pick up the attendance roll every morning. I told James from the first day of school that I had a crush on her, and it made my LIFE that I got the girl. So, she’d come to pick up the attendance and no matter what we were doing, NO MATTER WHAT, when she stuck her head in I would yell, “Hiiii, Meagan!” That was another thing James remembers fondly about that class, because he was surprised that I always got away with it.

James knows that I have the ability to lead people, which is why my church is named St. James and All Sinners. I named it after him, because he deserves it. The faith in James of Zebedee lives strong in him, because James was Jesus’ first follower as well. It’s nice to have a hand to hold on my journey, because no one is self-made. I love his willingness to walk beside me as I battle my demons to let them go. Ours is an interesting tapestry, filled with love and mutual respect. He is a true companion, and one that I value beyond belief.

I also revel in the love of Jonathan (Handsome Johnny) and Kara, atheists who cheer me on as someone who wants Christianity done right, instead of the conservative, fear-based beat down that the picture of classic Christianity has become. Their insights and compliments are invaluable on this journey, and I want them to feel accepted for all that they are… which, to me, are people that I can argue with to temper me by fire, but are always up for the idea that Christianity means caring for the least of us.

My past is slowly leading me into my future, and I wish I had begged more with Dana and Argo, before things got so fucked up in my illness. I wish I had said clearly, “please do not walk off when the best part of my life is in front of me.” Perhaps they are not meant to be with me, because this is something I had to do alone, in a sense, because even though I have companions, the majority of the time I sit in silence, preparing. I have to have a real job to pay for rent, food, tuition, books, etc… However, that does not mean that I am not constantly praying myself into existence. When I feel the weakest, I look at a notecard my dad gave me at the airport in Houston, when I was getting on the plane to come to DC. It says:

Leslie,

The new adventure begins…

The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord make his face
to shine upon you
and be gracious to you
The Lord lift up
his countenance upon you
and give you peace

Numbers 6:24-26

I believe in you.

Love,

Dad

I am so determined for St. James to be a reality that even my dad sees that I am unstoppable. That notecard means more to me than diamonds, because it shows me that someone who has done what I’m about to do sees that I am capable. In a sense, I have been preparing since I was 18. However, it took Argo releasing me from my past to really see the future as it could be and not as it was. She gave me the ability to fly when I was barely walking.

Where I come from has a lot of pain, and where I am going has a lot of promise. All I had to do was realize it, and that self-actualization came at just the right time, because now, I am ready for it.

Amen.

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