The parts in italics are fantasy. It never happened.
“Today I was stuck in an elevator. That was bad enough considering I’m claustrophobic. But when the pretty woman in front of me turned around, I was mortified. She wasn’t someone I ever wanted to see again. It’s not what she did to me, it’s what I did to her.
That was the worst part.”
When we were in high school, she was my friend which considering she was very popular and the local beauty queen, kept me off guard in the beginning days of our friendship. I figured she was playing with me and that eventually, I’d catch on that it was all a big joke. But nope. We remained friends. Maybe it was because underneath her charming appearance she was just like me.
From the wrong side of the tracks.
I was the only friend ever invited into her home. Once I had been there, I realized why. Her mother was an alcoholic. Her father had vanished years ago. The place was a mess. Her mother was a waitress and did her best to dress her daughter fashionably so she could enter one that was the beauty pageant after another. They both knew it was the only way she was going to have a better life than her mother’s. No one but me ever knew what her home life was like. I always wondered how she kept it a secret.
She convinced me I had a shot at not only entering the next local beauty pageant but possibly even winning it. I figured she was kidding. She wasn’t. She found a coach for me and then gave me a “make-over”. From hair to make-up, to the way I walked. It was the make-up that was my undoing.
She bought me a lot of it. She had a part-time job by then. I protested and told her I couldn’t afford it. She was generous and said I could pay her back in the future. Whenever I got a job.
I did well in the pageant making it to a runner-up position. Not bragging. It’s just what happened. Remember, I didn’t win. Anyway, she went away to college telling me to take my time paying her back. Well, I did, take a lot of time.
In fact, never.
Our paths never crossed again. Early on, I probably could’ve found her if I’d wanted to. Her mother would certainly have given me her address. But I never even tried. I heard about her over the years. She had made it kind of “big” in California. I remember seeing her in a commercial once. She was only in the background but at least she was on the screen. Someone said she was performing in dinner theaters. I was glad to hear she made something of her life. I know how important it was to her. She had always wanted to “shine”.
Years passed. High school reunions came and went but I didn’t. Go to them, I mean. What would I have said when I saw her? There was no excuse for my behavior no matter how young and stupid I was.
“She turned and looked at me. “Is that you, Rebecca? I can’t believe it. After all these years!” She was as kind and generous as she’d ever been which was just about the worst thing she could have done. I needed her to be mean so I would feel properly chastised and could put it to rest. But no. She had to be nice. Just when I really wanted to be kicked in the butt. Apparently, she had long forgotten or simply forgiven the debt I owed her.
The elevator doors suddenly opened and she got off, giving me a hug before she went on her way, saying how great it was seeing me again. I wanted to hit her and hug her at the same time. I did neither. I returned the fond farewell because it was good seeing her again and knowing she had forgotten all about the incident.”
I thought of the things that I’ve begrudged others, debts that haven’t been paid me. Hmmm, maybe what goes around does come around after all.
I learned some things from pretending this happened:
- I can forgive myself. But if I were to see her again, I would most certainly repay the debt whether she brought it up or not.
- Graciousness is something we should practice when a “small” debt hasn’t been repaid to us. (Obviously, a large debt is a different story.)
- Make sure when we give something to someone we are clear whether it’s a gift or not.
- Pay back your debts immediately. Write it down if you have to.
God bless and I hope you have a good day.
P.S. Yes, I have tried finding her via Facebook. No luck yet.
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