It isn't so much that I have stopped speaking. . . It is more that I have ceased to communicate. At some point I threw bars up around my life, as much to lock myself in as to keep others out, and thus far it has been incredibly effective.

If you had asked me a month ago when my life took a turn down this particular path, I probably would have told you that I didn't know, or that I couldn't remember. A week ago I might have told you that I thought it had something to do with the night my friend Karl proposed to me. Now though, I think it goes a little further back (to just before). Back to when I finally figured out that he didn't just want to be friends any more.

There was a point in our friendship where we stopped being two different people. We bonded together in a way that formed us into a single entity. I, being the younger, less experienced of the two, adopted his opinions and interests, while he continued to provide them for me.

I'm afraid that I finally figured it out; I was losing my individuality to a person that I knew deep down was not, and will not ever be, the person I am meant to spend the rest of my life with. I told him this, and he pleaded with me. . . "Give it a chance!" he said. "I can change."

He didn't.

It is probably at this point that I first realized that I did not want to give it a chance. The first time that I realized that we had lost our ability to communicate as two individual beings. The first time that I acknowledged that we were no longer equals with valid opinions. We had become a machine. . .I couldn't have dated him at that point, even if I had wanted to.

We had been having this conversation about the future of our friendship on the way from a store in Spokane to my car. . .Me struggling to make sense of my thoughts, Him trying to make sense of my thoughts for me. Finally, in a desperate attempt to make me stop walking away from him, he dropped to his knees (in the middle of the parking lot) took my hand, and asked me if I would marry him. He was crying now, and I just stood there, at ten o'clock at night, watching the way the heat was making the street lights seem to shimmer. The tears were running down his face, and at long last, when he realized that I wasn't going to answer, he dropped his head to his knee and just sobbed.

I am not proud that I couldn't tell him no, that I didn't want to marry him, that I was only 18 and had never even dated anyone. I am not proud that I couldn't tell him yes, that I would spend the rest of my life with him. . .

What I am, is sorry that I couldn't love him.

He still calls occasionally, to tell me he is dating someone new. . . "Well, I am dating so-and-so now. . . She is so perfect. . .I keep wondering which of your qualities she has."

I want to tell him that he is wrong. Maybe she is perfect for him, and he is so caught up in making me miserable that he can't see that She doesn't have MY characteristics. . . I have hers.

Maybe I did love him in my own way. . . but I am glad that he is gone now. He is gone, but his memory still exists. . .

And I am still Living in Silence.

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