I have/had a friend when I was growing up. We became friends in either year 3 or 4 of primary school. At the end of year 10 . He left suddenly. I was sad and hurt and feeling abandoned.I moved on and got new friends. But there was not the depth of connection there had been with Rob. At some time while he waa away he called to say he was safe. He couldny really talk cause his mums new boyfriend did want people to know where they were.
As far as I remember that was the only contact I had.
Toward the end of year 11 he came back to school again. He tried to pick up our friendship where it had left off. But I was mad at him for abandoning me. So kept fobbing him off till he stopped . He got his own friends. At the end of years 11 he asked me if id repeat year 11 with him. I rudely declined his offer.
Then part way through yr 12 I learnt that he had a girlfriend. So that made me jealous of him. That was the state of affairs at the end of high school as far as I saw it. Jealous and hating my former best friend.
Going on a mission for my church changed all that. I realised how stupid I’d acted. That it wasnt really hus fault he was jusr a kid. It was really his mums boyfriend that was to blame. The worse thing was that i am a Christian and what id done to him was the worst example of being a Christian that i could imagine. I felt sad that i might have messed up his chance of being a Christian.
When i came back i saw Rob a couple of times at centerlink but avoided him. I just felt a crushing sense of guilt. Ididnt want to connect for fear that he would hate me for the way i treated him.
It was a few years after i was married that i told my wife abt Rob. She knew how sorry i was for the way id treated him and encouraged me then and afterwards to say sorry and asked forgiveness. If I did that and he still hated me then id done all i could to remedy the breach.
I ran into Robs older brother at somepoint. I got an address and phone number. By the time i got the courage to call it was no longer his number. I thought abt going to the address and seeing if the new tenants knew were he’d but was still too fearfull.
Then along came Facebook. Several friends from high school reconnected with me. I searched for him but therw were just too many people to search through.
I periodically searched again. In about 2010 it occured to me to seached for his other siblings. I was extremely blessed to gind his sister. She was about to get married. If i hadn’t of found her when i did she would have had a diferent last name and i might never have found Rob again.
I connected with her and she said she’d pass the message on to Rob that I was looking to reconnect.
Years went by and i heard nothing. This last week i reached out to his sister again . She sent my message on this time I got a reply.
He doesnt hate me. It was a stupid thing to think. I dont really know why i ever thought he would.
Our lives have gone in different directions but Im glad to have found my friend again. Who knows what the future holds butr at least now there is one less thing on my concience to feel burdened by.
It had to this time been one of the greatest regrets of my life not being able to say sorry to Rob for the way that i imagined I treated him.
Theres now 25 years of missed oportunities to catch up on.