you and me

I Hope You Know That You Broke Me.

 

There has only been a handful of times in my life where I truly felt alone, deserted, sometimes even worthless.

Everyone experiences pain at least once in their life, and like any other person I’ve met, the first time is always the one that hurts the most. The one that sticks with you, constantly reminding you of how foolish you are for thinking that everything will always be perfect.

The one that opens your naive mind to the cruel reality that is life, the kind of cruel that just thrives on seeing your innocence shattered and your picture-perfect world broken.

The first time I have ever felt my world collapse was when the first person I considered my best friend abandoned me. No warning. No goodbye. Nothing. I remember it like it was a distant dream. I was fighting off what seemed to be half of my class during my lunch break. This was a common occurrence in my third-grade classroom.

Between the punching and the kicking that seemed to come from all directions, I saw a familiar face in the crowd that gathered around the fight. A face that used to be on my side, punching and kicking the same people I was punching and kicking. A face that I would see during the weekend, so we could ride our bikes with my grandfather together.

A face that I trusted to always be there for me, as I knew I would always be there for her. As soon as I saw that face, her face, I stopped. I stopped throwing punches. I stopped kicking the boys lying on the ground. I stopped caring about anything and everything altogether. I felt my breath get knocked out of me, my lungs screaming for air. My body screaming for release.

Now, you have to understand. This was a person who I thought would always be there for me. A person who I thought would never care about appearances. I never thought she would pay attention to what other people said about us, the fact that we fought the boys in our class and didn’t care about being lady-like. A person who would fight against the world with me, for me, until the end. I guess I was wrong.

We were four years old when me met, and since then we’ve been attached at the hip. At first, it was because we realized our names rhymed, then we realized we found comfort in the presence of the other, but then we started relying on each other for safety. Why she left? My guess was that she didn’t want anything to do with me anymore. She was tired.

She probably just wanted to be a normal elementary student, the type that can get through one day without having to go to a battle. Just one day. But who knows, your guess is as good as mine. We were best friends, sisters. She was my family. Everyone else saw that I was trouble, she was the only one who saw that I was troubled.

She was there for me even in times when my own family felt disappointed in me for not being the top student in my class, or for not being thin like the other girls in my grade, or that I wasn’t pretty like the girls in our town, she would be by my side telling me that I’m beautiful and that I was enough.

Whenever the boys in my class wanted to see me cry and break down, whenever they would gang up on me because I wasn’t afraid to fight back, and when they would tell me over and over again that I was just a waste of space and that I should just die, she would be there fighting for me, even when I didn’t want to fight for myself.

She would pick me up in times when I just wanted to stay down and succumb to the hate being thrown at me. She was there for me, because to her I guess I was family too. But in an instant, everything I knew and trusted and loved was gone. 

Since that time, I never truly trusted anyone that came in and out of my life. 

For the past few years, I catch myself sometimes thinking of things that I would say to her if I ever saw her again. To tell her that she was my only friend and that I was sorry if I ever wronged her. To tell her that when she left, she broke me into pieces, and that to this day I can’t seem to find all the fragments. More importantly, to ask her, “Why? Why did you leave?”

If I was ever lucky enough and I got the chance to talk to her again, I would tell her, “Sam, ever since you left me to fend for myself, I couldn’t help but think why. Did you resent me for having to fight the people who hated me? After all, their problem wasn’t with you, it was with me. You just so happened to be the poor soul that was kind enough to give me hope.

We treated each other like sisters, like family. For you to just walk away from me without an explanation, or even a goodbye, broke my heart. But after everything that’s happened, all I have to say to you is:

I hope you know that after you left, I cried myself to sleep for what felt like forever because I realized I was the reason you had to fight all these years.

I hope you know that because of you I knew what being accepted felt like, but what isolation felt like too.

I hope you know that after you left, I had to keep fighting.

I hope you know that after you shunned me, I felt completely and utterly alone.

I hope you know that after you left, I never made another friend until I moved to Canada because I was scared. Scared that they would leave me the same way you did. That they would get tired of me the way you did.

I hope you know that after you left, I prayed and prayed that I would just die in my sleep because I didn’t want to be a burden to anyone else.

I hope you know that I truly cared about you, cared enough for me to let you go.

I hope you know that even when it was clear that you were never coming back, there was still a part of me that thought and hoped that it was all a dream and I would wake up and go to school and you would be waiting for me by the school gates. Hoping that all the betrayal, and all the tears, and all the heartbreak was just part of a sick and twisted nightmare and that you didn’t really give up on me.

I hope you know that you broke me, and I’ve never been the same ever since.

***

Pamela Padolina lives in Canada with her family after moving from the Philippines at the age of 9. She knows the feeling of sadness very well, but has overcome her hurdles with support she has received from her family and friends. She loves to write about her experiences and how it shaped her as a person in hopes that it will help others overcome their battles as well. She wants to be a person who will inspire and help the people she crosses paths with. She likes to think of herself as an ordinary person who has a strong desire to help others, and make sure they will never feel alone the way she did.

***

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