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I took my cowboy boots off and folded my socked feet underneath me on my armchair. I wish I didn’t get so distracted when I tried to work here at the local Starbucks. I wish I could find my headphones to drown out, with my own kind of white noise, the Jimmy Eat World or the Sara Barielles variety, the chatter and melancholy music in this place. I wish I could lasso my wandering mind when it screams for a lesson-planning break and goes traipsing around in my missed past. But, alas, my wishes are wished to a lesser god of the coffeeshop and go unfulfilled on this evening.

I remember making a choice, the background of which, too labyrinthine to relate here, gives little insight to the mess that follows anyway, that may have changed my company forever. I once had a friend, the memory of and impacting force of, I cannot seem to shake in my least focused moments. She was a good friend, committed. A fun friend, exciting. Funny. She had depth. She was serious about loving Jesus. There’s so much good wrapped up in being friends with this gal. But then there’s this decision. A whole history of us, and this one decision that I dwell on, I regret, I wonder…if it wrecked things.

A waitress and a student at the time, I was living in Chicago and my friend was coming to visit the big city with her family. As with plans of all kinds, the details were floating around like dust specks in the air. The light would shine through the window and they’d be clear for a split second, then a cloud would cover the sunbeam and, again, the times were unsure and nothing was nailed down.

I should’ve just waited. If she had been important to me, I’d have waited. If I were worth my two cents as a friend, I’d have waited. I should have waited, waited, waited.  You can imagine, I didn’t wait.

I planned a small trip on one of the days in question, figuring I’d be back in the evening and jettison right over to the hotel to see my friend. I thought I could do it all, accomplish everything, like life was a game to win.

Things slipped slightly out of my reach as the day grew closer, came, the sun rolled across the sky until night. The plans I’d made were outside the city, a ways North at an amusement park. I stayed too long, the traffic was heavy, never made it back on time. More than that, the man who was with me wasn’t a favorite of the friend who was being edged out. The tension of it all came to a point here. It all came to the climax peak on a plot chart, and from here the plot chart goes nowhere but down.

So, we went nowhere but down. I think she gave up on that day. Gave up on me, gave up on being friends.  I made a decision, and she responded with with one that was much bigger. One that left a huge silence in my life, a silence that I’ve been trying to fill, erase, ignore, or heal depending on the day for a couple years now.

Sitting in this coffeeshop next to my new old cowboy boots, my toes now cold from the customers carrying night air in on the heels, I can’t but wander and explore this silence. I can’t but figure and solve and wonder about erasing a silly amusement park date. I can’t but furrow my brow at this feeling of never being forgiven.