I should have known, and if I take off these mental blinders and really let myself think about it, I suppose that I did at least have my suspicions. At least on some layer, I even wanted it to be true. Even though it was one of my biggest fears, even though I laid awake nights worrying about the possibility, a part of me still wanted it to happen.
The hints were there, I just chose to ignore them. For good reason I think. Or at least I thought so at the time. Lately I've tried not to think about it at all. Water under the bridge and all that rubbish.
Still to have confirmation, from such an unexpected source, after so much time had passed - it freaked me out a little. Okay, it freaked me out a lot. Because no matter how much I've suspected this, having my suspicions confirmed was a little like pouring gasoline onto a fire that has almost, but not quite, gone out completely.
My feelings flared up, and I spent a few hours enjoying the warmth of that fire.
After a while, though, I knew. That warmth was nothing but an illusion.
I'd reacted to the news the way I'd expected myself to react. I'd reacted, I think, the way any normal person would have reacted. I'd reflexively told myself Wow! This is huge! when in fact it didn't change a thing. I'd reacted like a normal person when in fact I haven't been one of those in a long time.
A secret kept for so long must have had a damn good reason for staying hidden. Signs are ignored for a reason. Hints are twisted into something else, something innocent, for a reason. I had justification for keeping quiet, and she must have had her own. Maybe we even shared the same motive for our secrecy. I don't think it even matters.
When I heard this news, I felt for a time like all of the possibilities in my life had suddenly merged into a single reality. But the truth is, that reality was already in place, and I was already living it. Nothing was changed by the knowledge I had gained. Too much time has passed.
I'm going to stop rambling now.