I finally got asked for forgiveness after ten years of waiting

Uh, no. Actually, no, I didn't wait for forgiveness or anything really. It's just kinda washed away with time, and I don't even remember what the event was that led to this forgiveness being asked, until... the message popped up.

I don't want to turn this post into an emotional or sappy story, but here's how it went: I was chillin on the edge of the afternoon, it was in the middle of my Pomodoro break when the notification chimed in. For the record, I took my break seriously; I didn't immediately check my phone. Nine minutes in, then I picked up my phone and I automatically cursed in my native language “******!”. I'm still wondering why I reacted like that; had a buried memory suddenly awakened?

The notification didn't even show the sender's name; it was an initial, a familiar username to be exact that I hadn't seen for the last ten years. In my confusion, I proceeded to unlock and carefully read the message ONLY from the notification screen. If you watch tons of movies or read memes, I'm quite sure you're familiar with the term "life flashes before your eyes" scene. That's exactly what happened when I read those two introductory chat bubbles, except it wasn't my life flashing; it was a treasured memory in the form of a Pandora-box-like already opened, showering me with tons of multiple-layered pictured moments when I was with her.

Life flashes before your eyes
Life flashes before your eyes

Yeah... it's a she, I know what you might be thinking right now, but don't worry, I'm avoiding making this writing an intimate story or some sort. To be clear, she was a friend that I had an entanglement with, a situationship. Okay, so I found the chat was too formal and stiff, all in all, it was weird.

The chat

She: Good afternoon
She: [Insert full legal name here] how are you?

"Yoooo, wtf?" I mouthed silently. I stared at my screen long enough until it was time for my next Pomodoro break. I needed time to process what was currently happening; I wasn't sure how to respond, so I got up and continued with what I was doing at my desk. I successfully focused on finishing my task that day, while still processing the question "What's happening?" Soon after, I gained enough information by discussing with my inner self, exchanging self-talk, and many rounds of monologues. I picked up my phone again and opened the message properly this time.

At this point, I had a 3840 × 2160 (4K UHD) worth fragment memories playing on loop in my head. A mix of relatable and unrealatable memories hopping from one to another; so basically, we grew up together and that alone has some memorable events plus some entangled moments, to sum it up, it's kinda messed up. I finally replied with:

Me: Fine.
Me: How about you?

I want to be more friendly and welcoming, like "Heyyy! Where have you been??? I'm shocked, tbh, to receive a text from youuu. I'm good, how are youuu? Blah, blah, blah..." You know that kinda text with many repeated letters in some words to express excitement when one receives a text. It wasn't without thinking though; I'm still processing.

She: Thank goodness, I hope you stay healthy and well!
She: I’m fine too!
She: How’s mom and dad?
She: I've been dreaming of you multiple times, that’s why I suddenly wanted to reach out 😁

Ka-ching! She finally reached out to me herself, mind you this wasn't the first time she was trying to reach out. It was at the end of last year when she started looking for me through an old friend and this old friend screenshotted and told me that I had been haunting her in her dreams. She said to ask my old friend how I was doing (I believe this old friend also screenshotted mine and sent it to her) I thought that would be it, but no.

Similar to my first encounter with her, she said the same thing again this time. All of a sudden, I appeared in her dreams after many years she hadn't thought about me at all. She decided to reach out personally because apparently the same dream was happening again when she took a nap the same day she finally sent the text herself. That's what triggered it. I'm not sure where she got the courage or if she had consulted this with someone else before she eventually made a move. Good thing it wasn't a nightmare though, she said it was just a normal dream when we were hanging out together.

This one was funny, since she asked about my parents I responded with "My dad passed away last year" then she replied "😭 Sorry, I didn't know, when did dad pass away?". Ooohhhh, the audacity and loudly crying emoji ugh I immediately felt furious and hilarious. I wanted to reply with "How tf could you possibly know? We've had no communication whatsoever for the last ten years and all of a sudden you popped up digging and bursting ancient memories that I no longer have in touch with because you're annoyed that I kept haunting you in your dreams that made you question what's wrong now, not what was wrong ten years ago". Sorry that’s kinda rant, but I didn't reply.

Judging from my seemingly cold responses, she proceeded to tell me her meaning of these abrupt chats:
She: I’m sorry for all the mistakes I’ve made in the past.
She: I hope you can forgive me.
She: You’re a kind person.

She should have stopped at "I hope you can forgive me". What kinda apology was that? Adding "you're a kind person" seemed entitled, insisting, and condescending, especially after ten years of no communication (sorry I brought it up over and over again). Things have changed, the way I look, the way I learn, the way I handle things. Using the "you're a kind person" tactic just doesn't cut it anymore. You might think I overreacted, but I should add that "you're a kind person" is a rough translation of what she actually said; originally, it was emotionally brutal.

Intellectualizing as a coping mechanism

To be fair, I still think about her from time to time, not in a sense of "I want her back", but more of wishing it didn't happen, wishing it didn't end that way, and wishing I was still in contact with her so that I would at least have someone to talk to. Given all the memories and stories we made, it would only make sense if she was still here. Hush now, I could go on with several what-ifs, but the fact is that it did happen, c'est la vie ~

It took me days with a daily hum of "What just happened?" and "Why now?". Since it's in my nature to intellectualize things that I can't comprehend so I can understand them better and acknowledge my next steps, this writing was born.

First of all, the same dream with me in it keeps happening and it actually bothered her to the point where she had to question why and asked around about me. I'm not that superstitious, but there were some coincidences regarding dreams; when it came true or when I dreamed about her, she also dreamed about me. However, I'm more on the side of believing that a dream is a manifestation of unfinished business. It's not necessarily interconnected; it's your subconscious telling you that you have a thing with them. When a person dreams about someone, it usually means they have unfinished business with them, kinda.

According to Deirdre Barrett, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, explains why some people have recurring dreams “Recurring dreams are usually thought to be themes that are more important for that person. … if a dream occurs over and over it may be activated by events of a particular day, it may make a long-term issue more salient but it's certainly going to be about something that's a kind of long-term character logic issue for that person.” (source). Simply put, If someone has the same dream multiple times, it could be caused by something that happened that day, or it could be a reminder of an issue that has been around for a while. The dream is likely to be about something that is important to that person.

Second, I want to address the "I've never thought of him before and all of a sudden he keeps appearing in my dreams" - this is aligned with her core belief that what's done is done. She usually cuts all of the strings, no loose ends. For example: everyone was invited to (I could say) all of her major life events except me. I knew this because one of the friends who got invited asked me if I got invited too. It's totally okay that she didn't want to involve me in her life anymore, I didn't want to either.

Third, I'm paraphrasing, "As a kind person, you should forgive me, because that's what a kind person does." Was she hoping for a reply like, "As a kind person, I forgive you, yay!"? Could she be so wretched that I haunted her and just wanted to get rid of it quickly by saying that? Again, the translation from the actual language didn't really do justice. I wish she hadn't said that; I wish she had taken the time to get to know the current me and not who I was ten years ago, because I found it demeaning.

I forgive you

I will occasionally be upset that it did happen, but I forgive you. Sometimes I'll curse you, but I forgive you. I wish that forgiving was like a mantra; whenever someone said "please forgive me", all of the wrongs and undoings, feelings and memories would also be gone, kaput, puff, disappearing from one's heart and mind. But that's not the case, is it? Perhaps we could have had a conversation if you hadn't been so quick to get rid of me by shoving an apology, but I forgive you.

Me too,
I'm trying to find some closure for some dreading life events, but I never quite have it. Maybe I can give it instead:

I hope you find your peace and live a meaningful life, and that it no longer haunts you in your dreams.