I forget where I learned that Shreve’s name implied he was supposed to be giving pardon for all the terrible things about the South. Probably in some journal or another.
And, at one point, I felt like K was that to me. That the very act of her listening to all my guilt could smooth it over.
It’s funny though…all the terrible, terrible guilt I felt was over nothing that I had even done. It was all in my mind. And yet I felt it so keenly. One of the most intensely real emotions I have ever experienced. And for such a long time. My god, I thought it would never end…
And now? Well. I can’t bring myself to speak with her, because I feel that our conversation will force me to tell her about these new things. Things that I really have done (or, rather, did not do and by my inaction brought guilt upon myself) and, by extension, should feel infinitely more guilty about because they are concrete things that happened. And, if I can waste so much time and energy on things that did not happen…surely I should feel something about that which did, right?
Or. Maybe I am tricking myself. Maybe I think I’m being smart, and by not talking about it, I can pretend that it didn’t happen, and continue with the delusion that I feel nothing about it.
Except that I do. I certainly do. See, there is a song (isn’t there always?) that I really enjoy. Except I can’t now. Because I kept listening and listening to it when she was dying. And I test myself sometimes…I play it and dare myself to sing along, but I cannot. I start to choke. And weep. And have to skip it. But I listen every now and then to see if I still feel guilty about not coming back when I said I would. Because I did say that. It was the very last thing I said. And then I didn’t come back. And then she died.
And the other thing? I let him hurt her. And I want her to forgive me because it is so very much my fault. But she only sees herself as being to blame, so how could she ever forgive me when she thinks I didn’t do anything wrong? I did. I did. I did.
I kept saying to myself that I didn’t love her. That I certainly did not. Because what good has that ever done me? Loving these creatures who I call my friends? So I said I would not do it. And I would not even consider it. And I would act like I felt nothing. And that’s just what I did, and by doing that, I let him hurt her and now I know why she spent all that time crying and alone, and why she wouldn’t tell me why she was crying alone, when it wouldn’t matter if I had just allowed that other voice of mine to say, “you know, I love this girl. We have to look after her…”
But I didn’t let him say that. And it’s done. And she tells me in little ways how it’s hurting her still, and it kills me because I could have fucking stopped it.
So now what? I keep busy. Busy busy busy. So I never have to think about it for too long. So I won’t have enough time to write to K and tell her the terrible things I did. So that, this time, I really don’t feel the terrible guilt that I know awaits me. Because it’s there. I know it is. It’s made up my mind for me to ask her to be in my wedding, because I care so much and I’m so so sorry for not looking after her, but I don’t know how to even begin to express that to her.
Not that she would see a correlation between the two things…but…I don’t know. I want her to know that she’s important to me, and I hope that she’ll interpret the gesture that way, even if she says no or even if I never manage to explain myself.
I don’t know.
I suppose what I want is to be free from feeling all these things, but to also be free of the necessity of talking about it, because in the moments like this where I do think about it…I also feel like I’m being ridiculous and melodramatic. Even if they are some of my best qualities…I find it increasingly difficult to take pleasure in that knowledge.
…sometimes I just want it to be over.