Monday, June 13, 2011

A Letter to Seb

There's been a lot of talk about dealing with baggage of late. It would be remiss of me if I didn't clear some of my own.

Being a long weekend, I've managed to put a heap of stuff on ebay, send a bag down to St Vincents, do a bit of tidying and get things ready for what looks like a busy week. As Ah-Sole, my work nemesis, is being let go at the end of the month (yes, the Project Manager saw sense) my workload is about to increase so it's a good chance to do all this and have a bit of a rest before all hell breaks loose .

Then comes the other junk that has to be dealt with. The hard stuff.

Something came up last night which gave me something to sort. And sort quickly.

Whilst chatting to a friend on facebook last night I did a bit of looking around, as you do. I'm no cyber-stalker, but there are times, once in a blue moon, when I'll have a quick look around and see who's about from my past - just look, I'd never contact the people involved. I'm not the sort to make too many waves.

So last night, I tapped in the name, Sebastian Smith, not thinking that anything would come, but there he was on facebook, small child on his hip, smiling for the camera. Current location, Sydney, Australia.

Sebastian, or Seb, is the only man I've shared a home with. Three torturous months in a North London share house. Twenty years ago. Once I left the flat we remained in contact - a sort of friends with benefits arrangement - for another three years, seeing each other fairly regularly until we both moved house away from the district. The last time I saw him was on a tube platform in 1997.

With all the navel gazing I do, I almost never revisit the Sebastian years, or the relationship with Sebastian, even though he was the guy who was in my life the longest. Some of it has been effectively blocked out - and the rest I'm pretty comfortable with. It wasn't a good time. It wasn't a great relationship. He no longer blights my psyche. It wasn't him. It wasn't me - it was just never meant to be.

Besides the arguments, the acrimony, the not wanting to go home, the tears and the tantrums, there were good things about Seb. He could be kind, he could be funny. He was really intelligent. And despite the torturous relationship, he always held me while sleeping - which looking back, was lovely - and probably the thing I remember about him most fondly. He's also the reason I fell into banking, discovered the Pixies and the Violent Femmes - so I have that to thank him for.

I spent the rest of my last night having a chat to my former self. My twenty-four-year old, tortured, miserable, prickly self. We needed to have a chat. Over the past ten years, inner child work has really helped me. This time it was more work with my inner young adult - time to get to the bottom of some stuff. The poor girl was a wreck - but we had a great chat. A lot of it was talking of the future - soothing her frayed nerves, giving her something to look forward to. It was okay. There was no need for tears.

But to clear the last of Sebastian, I thought of writing him a letter - more to clear my own head than to reach out to him. What would I say to him? What would I want to say?

Well, here goes.

Dear Seb,

It's over fifteen years since we last saw each other and this is very out of the blue. I've often wondered where you ended up. Last time I saw you, you were still talking of returning to South Africa - though from the gamut of South African friends over here, it seems to have become less a viable option. To see you're in Sydney - hope you've made it home. From the photo, you look happy. Cute child.

I rarely think of what happened twenty years ago - there isn't much point in rehashing the past. It wasn't a good time and there was a heap of stuff going on that I had really no idea about. But I will get to that later.

Since seeing you last - from memory that was somewhere around the mid-nineties, lots has changed. I now live in Melbourne. I now work in IT as a Technical Writer, Quality Analyst and sometimes Change Analyst - yeah, go figure - me who hated computers. I've had short stories published. I've travelled the world a couple of times over. My proudest moment have been running a couple of half marathons - yeah, I know, go figure that one too and starting to get my writing out there. I've never married and I have no kids - but I see this as a good thing as well.

After wracking my brains, wondering what I would want to say to you, all I could come up with is to say sorry. Sorry that you had to know me when you did and sorry for what I must have put you through. Undiagnosed depression is a bitch - I have to apologise for having to submit you to that. I know I was a nightmare to live with. I had no idea what was going on - I think you had more of an idea but there was no way out then. Thankfully, after some great help, sought too late in some ways, but just in time in others, the worst of that is under control. I'll always have to manage the depression - but at least it's now under control and recognised. It makes me a lot nicer to be around.

Of my life now - I'm content enough. I have a great friends, a good lifestyle, lots of variety and travel. For a woman in her forties I can appreciate it for what it is. It's a freedom I didn't have in my twenties. The ability to take on opportunities.

I don't dwell on what would have happened if things were different - I'm not even looking to get back in contact. I just needed to get that off my chest.

May life be treating you well - from the photo, you look happy - and you really can't ask for any more than that.

Best wishes,


I will never send this to Seb. I know that I was contacted by an ex-flame seeking forgiveness for the stuff he put me through as he was in the middle of a 12 step program for sex addiction. I flung back an email which read "Thank you for your email. Now fuck off and never contact me again." Seems I'm willing to forgive some, but not others. This bloke was a complete waste of space.

As I said, I don't want to make waves. I did ping him a small message which read "I occasionally pondered where you ended up. I can see that you look happy. Cute kid."

I think that I've laid the ghost of Seb to rest. I feel at peace.


River said...

I'm relieved to read that you will never send this.
The short note you pinged him is a better option which leaves the ball in his court. He may not want to dredge up old memories.

Kath Lockett said...

Your letter is great and shows how far you've come and how much you've got to be proud of. The seond letter is also good and, as River says, leaves the ball in his court with any pressure for either of you.

Makes me think about a couple of letters that I'd write.....

Kath Lockett said...

silly iPad keys - that was supposed to be 'without'

Pandora Behr said...

There is no way I'd ever send this to him. But as you say Kath, if he were to restablish contact, I'd say it then. Just not feeling any angst is relief enough for me. And I truly am pleased he looks happy.