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I scribbled the note into the book margin. The margin of the book I wasn't reading.
I mean, who can read books with such drama streaming into their living room?
Have you seen The Morning Show on Apple TV?
One of The Morning Show’s many storylines involves Reese Witherspoon, who plays Bradley Jackson, a small-town reporter with a sordid past.
Bradley's given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to move up to the big leagues—Network News.
Bradley has a chance. And a choice.
She can bury her past, play the role, fall in line, and read what's written on the teleprompter...
Or, she can seize this opportunity, do REAL reporting, seek truth, expose injustice, dig deep, discover, reach, teach, and defend the public's right to know—even at the risk of exposing herself, jeopardizing her coworkers, and bringing down the entire network.
What should she do?
What would you do?
How far would you go to report the truth?
A few years ago, a childhood friend posted one of those “copy and paste this on your Facebook page to prove we’re friends” posts:
“You say we’re friends, but do you actually read my posts?
If you’re reading this. LIE about how we met.
Then copy and paste this on your wall.
Let’s find out who my REAL friends are.”
My friend’s clever Facebook post wasn’t getting much attention.
There were a few lame responses—mostly his friends from work, I guessed.
“I met you in a club down in old Soho
Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like coca cola
“In Space, the final frontier.”
“1981, backstage at the Barry Manilow Concert. I was a reporter for Rolling Stone and you were President of the Barry Manilow Fan Club.”
Cute. But none of these people really knew my friend—not like I did.
Hell, it’s been so long…maybe I didn’t really know him anymore, either. And who knows…maybe I never did.
Do we ever?
Do we ever really know someone?
“We met in the closet,” I wrote, “at the bottom of the stairs, between the laundry room and the game room.
We were ten years old, terrified, Joey and I, trapped in your basement, hiding in that closet, hiding from the short hairy man with a blonde Afro, brandishing your father’s loaded service revolver.
We couldn’t see a thing in there. Hunkered in the closet. Holding our breath. Black as night. Praying in silence that someone, your mom, your older brother, someone would come home and save us before you, in your short, hairy, blonde Afroness, found us and killed us both—on accident, of course.
Because that’s how those things happen. Accidentally.
We heard you pause at the top of the stairs.
Then nothing. Dead silence.
Whoosh! the door swung open, your loaded pistol thrust through the darkness, thrust into our faces, the two of us, Joey and I, huddled together crouched on the closet floor.
I panicked, yelling out your name. I swore, stood, and pushed you aside. I was bigger. You let me pass.
But poor Joey, cowering in the darkened closet Joey, poor Joey half our size Joey, poor Joey who lived next door to you his whole life Joey, poor Joey crying and pissing his pants Joey. Poor Joey. Joey was so scared.
You pointed and laughed.
Joey cried harder. He was shaking.
I reached in, grabbed Joey’s arm, and dragged him up the stairs and out the aluminum screen door, slamming it behind us.
You ran to the top of the stairs after us, pressed your blonde Afro face against the screen, and begged us not to leave, still with the loaded revolver in your hand.
Then, realizing what you’d done, you cried and begged Joey not to tell your dad.
That’s how we met.”
Then…it got worse…
“Senior year. On a double blind date. My first date ever. You liked Marcie. Not me. No one liked me. So you all left when I went to the bathroom.
I came back to the table and you were all gone. All of you. Even Marcie.
I cried myself to sleep every night my entire senior year.”
“Football camp. Junior year. You and the rest of the O'-Line duct-taped my hands to my balls and my arms to my sides, and you threw me in the pool.
I couldn’t swim…”
“At the drive-in. Saturday night. You were a senior. I was a freshman. I told you No! I said it loud as I could. Over and over, No! But you didn’t listen. You didn’t care. How could you?”
…and then this:
“I thought you were my friend, Chris. I trusted you.
Rich did, too. You were supposed to look out for him. You, the upperclassman.
And the girls… I know you did those things. You told us all about it in the locker room.
What Paul wrote is true. All of it. And if he still remembers, what do you think it did to me? And all these other people.
These are your friends?
What did you do, Chris? What did you do?”
I know a woman, Meridith, who travels the world helping people redefine themselves after trauma, tragedy, public humiliation, and really, really bad choices.
"We are tapestry," she says.
"All of us, an endless fabric of impressions, actions, and reactions. We live, learn, grow, suffer, and try again."
"Don’t lead with it," she told me.
"But don’t bury it either. The walls you build to hide what you’ve done will only get in your way."
"But also know that whomever you’re talking to, whomever you're afraid might find out or judge you, carries a rich, heavy fabric of their own weaving."
"Honor that," she said. "Honor all of it."
I love you guys ☺️
Be gentle with yourselves.