She stood in front of me for a moment and, briefly, our eyes met. I remembered how she'd said - wrongly - that I was controlling, manipulative and a narcissist. I remembered how she hadn't so much closed the door on her friendship with me, as slammed it shut and nailed boards over it. Looking at her, I knew that something was wrong. There are times when I curse my ability to see how someone is feeling, and this was one of them.
The look in her eyes; other little signs in her facial expression; the almost imperceptible trembling of her hand; the gathering tears that she refused to let fall - I saw all of them. She wasn't okay. I didn't know what had made her feel that way: only that she felt it. I wanted to ask her if she was okay, although I could clearly see she wasn't, and tell her that she could still talk to me, if she needed to, at any time.
I didn't say any of those things to her. I held on to the memory of how little regard she'd had for my feelings, how she'd completely misunderstood my intentions, and how she might take any kindness from me as a sign of a weakness to be exposed and exploited. I remained silent. The moment had passed. In an instant, she was gone.
If you ever hear me saying that I don't care, about anyone or anything, you're hearing a lie. I care about everyone and everything, as much as I sometimes wish it weren't so. It's a terrible burden, but it's who I am.