I have always admired passion in a person. The unwavering ability to believe in something and to feel so strongly about it that nothing else matters.
Soap-box preaching crazy heads in the town square? Passion.
Conspiracy theory touting evangelists? Passion.
Belting out a song about the ‘Mighty Fraser River’ to a small crowd in an out-of-the way bar while wearing fishing boots? Passion.
Crazy ex-girlfriend calling every night? Passion.
That’s what drew me to N. She was everything I wasn’t. Smart as a whip (don’t get me wrong…I do okay!), edgy, tall, outgoing, dating-a-musician, and just-this-side-of-crazy passionate.
We drank together, laughed together and studied together (we met in school). I was testing my new found freedom; learning who I was outside of the small town I came from and giving voice to philosophies and ideas long held in check. She thought me to be wise and full of good advice; I thought she was passionate and loved the way she embraced life in all her craziness.
She introduced me to Jason.
Not long after Jason and I started our life together we received a ‘Dear John’ letter from N. She was unhappy with the turn our friendship(s) had taken and thought it best if we no longer contacted each other.
I know! Unusual, to say the least, but in-keeping with who she is. We didn’t respond preferring, instead, to focus on building our lives together and moving forward.
Jason and I often talk about N and the influence that she has had on our lives. Without her, we wouldn’t have met. Without Jason, would I have found the courage to travel the world? To continue to step out of the conventional and live an unusual life?
It’s funny how one person can be a driving force in your life even when they are no longer in your life.
Another letter arrived a few weeks ago. It’s been ten years.
In it N says that she had been thinking of me, had plugged my name into the all-knowing Facebook and there I was! She gave me a quick update on her life in the past decade and wondered how I had fared.
And therein lies my dilemma.
I’ve never been one to dwell in the past. I am pragmatic and just don’t see the value in facing backwards when the future holds so much promise.
So…do I reply and start the often insincere catch up exchange? Or let sleeping dogs lie and keep moving forward?
Does someone who has so profoundly affected my life deserve more than for me to ignore her letter? Am I beholden to respond?
Our decision. We have decided to leave well enough alone. We will keep N in our thoughts and continue to credit her with our meeting and the passion she injected into our lives but don’t feel that opening that backward facing door is the way to continue forward.
What would you have done?
[Passion image courtesy of Juliana Coutinho]