Last night, I said no to someone I thought I could never refuse. And even though I knew it was the right thing to do, and really, the only thing to do, it still broke my heart and made me cry.
Staffy showed up at my front door last night, completely unexpectedly after six long months of no contact. I was totally blown away when I heard his voice through the telecom, and a flood of emotions rose to the surface as I let him into my building and back into my life.
The last time I blogged about Staffy was in February last year, when he asked me for help to stay on track with his recovery and rehabilitation as he took tentative steps towards making a new life for himself away from his past. At the time, I agreed to help him in every way I could, so it broke my heart when Staffy did his usual thing and stopped contacting me some time around September last year.
I still managed to keep tabs on Staffy, only because I knew where he worked and he had given his word to his father that he would stay with the job for at least 12 months. It was important to Staffy that he kept his promise to his father, with whom he was trying to rebuild a trusting relationship, and even though there were days when Staffy wanted to throw in the towel, he stuck to his guns and kept his promise.
I tried to contact him on a number of occasions after September, mostly via text messages, but never received any replies. Ultimately, very early this year, I deleted his number and chalked up our relationship as "one of those things that had to happen". After all, isn’t it better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all?
Fast forward to last Tuesday afternoon, when I found myself at Staffy’s workplace and thought to inquire after him. I dropped in to the kitchen and asked if Staffy was around, only to find out that he had left and was now working in Manly. No further information was offered, and now without any other way of contacting him, I walked away feeling like I’d finally closed the loop.
Last night, I nervously awaited the lift to arrive on my floor. The Staffy who bounced out of the lift was a lot heavier than the last time I saw him, and he seemed high. Not a good sign.
Throughout the next hour, I was to find out that Staffy was indeed high – on life. Things were bigger and better for him than ever before. Yes, he had left his old job, and moved out of North Sydney, and the biggest news of all: he was now a restaurant owner in Moore Park. Staffy and his father bought the restaurant (housed in a pub in a high traffic area) about 2 months ago and Staffy had been busy revamping the place and rebuilding its reputation.
According to Staffy, he’d already doubled the covers every week and increased the bar sales by 65%. The pub owners couldn’t be happier with him and the patrons were loving the new menu. He had mended his relationship with his father and his stepmother, who were both working with Staffy in the restaurant. And in other news, Staffy had been clean for more than 12 months.
Staffy may have looked tired, but he was happy, and he was finally believing in himself. And he thanked me for believing in him, for always being there for him, for never losing faith in him. In short, he thanked me for being his friend.
I felt really honoured to hear what he had to say. Staffy made a huge point of telling me that I was always there for him when he needed a friend, and he never really had anyone in his life to call a friend until I came along. I was the only person he trusted outside of his family and of everyone else who came into his life, I was the one person he wanted to keep.
We spent a few hours just talking and chilling out in front of the TV. At one point, I noticed Staffy had fallen asleep and saw how late it was, so I woke him and told him I’d drive him home. Staffy asked to stay the night, but I said no. Staffy asked again, and again, I said no. And then he dropped the bombshell.
Staffy wanted to be with me. As in he wanted a relationship with me. As in he wanted to be my significant other.
I didn’t know what to say, so Staffy did the talking. He said he finally had his house in order and had all the pieces of the puzzle but one, and the piece missing was me. He said he finally realised that after all these years, I was the one he wanted to be with. He finally realised how much I meant to him. He finally realised how much he loved me.
I know, I know, you can almost hear the violins and the deep voice saying "like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives." I only wish I was making this up.
I cried. My heart broke as I heard his words. And I told him the truth.
I told him I had always loved him and will always love him. I told him I will always care for him and be his cheer squad, no matter what, just like always. I told him I always wanted him to let me in just enough to love him the way people deserved to be loved. I told him he always makes me cry because he somehow always manages to break my heart.
I told him I had always wanted to hear those words from him. I just never realised how much it would hurt to actually hear them.
We promised to stay friends, because friends are for life. He promised to never pull the disappearing act on me again, and for the first time in a long time, I believed him. I dropped him at his place, and cried the whole way home.
I’ll always love Staffy. And I want him to continue on this path of success with all of my heart.
Don’t let yourself down, kiddo. Please don’t let yourself down.