Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Melancholy Tuesday: Visit from a college roommate

I noticed that Aspazia dubbed this a Melancholy Tuesday, so I’m jumping on the bandwagon to share the melancholy part of my week. I’ve spent the past week visiting with “Melanie” my former roommate from college, who is on a whirlwind “tour” if you will, visiting friends in multiple states before her departure next week to Arizona to start grad school.

I met Melanie my freshman year of college, and found her to be an absolute bright light. I have allowed myself to share with her aspects of my own life which I had previously shared with no one. We have spent many nights sharing the details of our tumultuous past relationships. With her, I have never felt that I had to put on a façade of strength when revealing stories of a battered past and broken family. With her, I have never felt judged, never placed in a position where I had to defend my choices regarding such relationships, and I never felt that I had to leave out details out of fear for her reactions.

During college Melanie and I set aside one night a week to share a bottle of wine and watch a “sappy” movie. Inevitably the movie would bring us both to tears and we would often sit for extended periods of time after it was over crying together, although we’d rarely exchange words in these moments. I think that there’s just something to be said about feeling so comfortable in another’s presence that we allow ourselves to be so consumed by raw emotion.

My boyfriend always comments on the ritual being masochistic, and doesn’t understand why we would both look forward to the event each week. I think that part of his questioning comes from jealousy and I can admit that his jealousy is perhaps warranted… I can’t recall a time where I have ever allowed myself to cry in his presence, or anyone else’s for that matter. I have had previous friends and boyfriends comment that I am callous and icy, always in a half joking sort of way that stings with underlying truth.

I’ve always found relationships to be so perilous, they require such a huge investment with no way of knowing if the gamble will be worth the dividend when all is said and done.

I’ve been in relationships with men that have left me feeling so debilitated, and relationships with family that have been plagued with an unbearable heaviness and responsibility. I think that in the aftermath of dealing with such relationships I chose to play a part, invent a character for myself that was stronger than I knew I was, a character who was seemingly unaffected by the toils of life.

Hiding oneself in the confines of a costume can be tricky, for the threat of exposure is always there.

I came to realize this week is that my relationship with Melanie is so strong because she has been the only person in my life who has had the patience to peel away the sediment of my past to reveal the person that existed underneath the veil.

When I said goodbye to Melanie today at the airport, I was filled with grief. I know that circumstances won’t allow us to visit each other for another year at least. Plane tickets cross country are difficult to muster on my salary and she’ll have a difficult time balancing work and school in a new environment as it is. But I am comforted by knowing that we will always share a friendship that is based on trust, allegiance, and pure expression of emotion, and will always be grateful for that.