Stirring the Ashes
As I sit here at Joe R’s on Broadway smoking a fine Tony Borhani cigar, my thoughts return to the meaning of the phrase "stirring the ashes.” I never really understood the phrase before, yet now it seems to be only appropriate as I reflect on the end of a promising new friendship. I've been thinking about how my friendship with “Bill”, a fellow classmate at Pepperdine, had moved from friend and comrade, to disillusionment, and now even fear. Earlier in the week, I had resolved to write about it to help the healing process, as I started the essay, I realized I was actually stirring the ashes, looking for something smoldering beneath the burnt remains of our relationship. And, just when I saw a dull red ember, when a small spark of hope appeared, Bill reached across the electronic ether and pissed in the fire.
It was a subtle thing really. My instant messenger client’s buddy list showed an obscene screen name in stead of the usual Bob or Carol. As I watched, the screen name changed to another vulgarity, and then another. It was Bill of course, acting out some puerile fit of rage. He was sending me a message; "I hate you", "I despise you". I confronted him via chat and offered an olive branch he threw it back in my face. He continued to respond with increasingly more obscene screen names, until I could no longer play his game. Finally, I took control and ended the relationship by wishing him well, saying goodbye, and then deleting him from my buddy list. I will always remember the date, time, and place this friendship ended. I will also remember his last screen, it flashed onscreen as I deleted him from my friends list. "You too?” – Yes, me too.
The Tony Borhani is gone to ash.
I brush them from my shirt,
and feel the grit on my fingertips.
Why does it hurt so much to loose a friend, even an asshole?