I froze when I (thought I) saw her. I was walking into the wine store, like any other day ending in "y" and, standing at the counter was a woman I thought I knew. Long story short, it wasn't her, and I realized that within about two seconds, but the variety of emotions and memories that slammed me in the space of those two seconds was incredible. So, how about the long version.
In early summer, four years ago, I had just met my boyfriend and fallen topsy turvy in love with him. We started hanging out just as friends even though I had already made up my mind that that wouldn't be enough. At that time he was involved in a, "friends with benefits," situation with a girl who was in a long-distance relationship, herself. Whether she and her boyfriend had an, "arrangement," I don't know, so I won't pass judgment on that point. But they were hooking up and, naturally, when I learned about what was going on (which, to be perfectly fair, wasn't kept from me in any way) I was crushed. I knew it was siphoning his affection away from me, however fetal those feelings were at the time, and my heart was broken. And it is not an attractive thing to admit, but I hated her with a fury I had never before felt. I was jealous down to the pit of my stomach; it physically hurt me to imagine them together.
My problem, obviously, was not with her, or even with my future boyfriend, but that I had fallen in love and it had addled my brain. No one was keeping secrets or intentionally hurting me. I was just a friend who had gotten in a little too deep, and was a little too attached for my own good.
But I still hated her.
(Now I'm going to skip over the part where I run into her on the street and she taunts me, and then tells mutual friends how pathetic I am, because this post is really more about my own neuroses rather than a f*@%ing chinless bitch with the body of an adolescent boy.
I beg your pardon.)
Anyway, getting back to today (taking into consideration that years have passed. My boyfriend and I are now, obviously, together, and have been for a while) when I thought I saw this girl I was overcome. The first rush was of panic that I would have to talk to her, but then, there was an unexpected acceptance. I thought, 'It wouldn't be a big deal at all to have to talk to her.' I even felt like I'd be able to do it pleasantly, to smile and ask her how she'd been and kind of mean it. I didn't want to slap her face, or shake her, or scream about how hurt I'd been. I thought, just for a second, that if we had been in a different world maybe she and I could have been friends. We probably would have been friends. I remembered that she'd had excellent taste in music and was self-deprecating and smart. I didn't hate her anymore.
I don't hate her anymore. That's a huge, self-imposed weight that has been lifted from my shoulders. It probably wouldn't mean anything to her, but I feel better. Rest assured I knew (and know) that the burden of jealousy is a burden you shoulder alone.