I have a story to tell. It has nothing to do with anything other than it's been weighing on my heart for years and more so lately, so I need to let it out.
In college, I once was a general manager of a video store. I had a bunch of high school kids working for me. I loved them all. C was my go-to closer. I could always count on him. His parents and little sister, only about 12 or 13 at the time, used to come in all the time. P was lacking in self-confidence, a little socially awkward, and uncomfortable around new people. And she was adorable. I saw it immediately. I would talk to her, joke with her, light-heartedly tease her. She opened up to me. She became my little shadow whenever she was there, which became more frequent as she grew to feel more and more comfortable with me.
Eventually, I became a part of their family. I was invited to all family functions. Mr. and Mrs. M loved me. I was there through birthdays, almost not graduating, teaching to drive - all the standard older sibling-type stuff. That's how C and P saw me and I definitely saw them as younger siblings. We genuinely all loved each other and were incredibly close.
P had some special issues. She had been in counseling for the majority of her young life. She was a recovering cutter. She was recovering from an eating disorder. She suffered from bad OCD that ruled certain aspects of her life. And as much of an individual as she was and is, she had terribly low self-esteem. She had absolutely no idea how incredibly amazing she was and still is.
As such, she did extreme things to ease her heartache. One of those things was binge drinking. I found out about it. And, though we had a relationship like siblings, I was still an adult, a teacher, and I had a responsibility to care more about her health and well-being in the big picture than about whether or not she'd be happy with me for not ratting her out in the moment. I went to her, to no avail. I went to her brother. We discussed. We went to their parents. We brought evidence, hard proof, I hated the whole encounter. I hated knowing she'd hate me. And she did. She still does seven years later. She never spoke to me again. And though I've reached out to her over the years to let her know I still love her, I'm still here, she will not forgive me.
I still keep in touch with C. I sometimes see pictures and other goodies of and about P on his Facebook page. It's bittersweet. I recently ran into Mr. and Mrs. M at the grocery store. I hadn't been to their house since then, not because I wasn't invited, but out of respect for P's feelings. I don't want her feeling uncomfortable in her own home. They told me how well she was doing and told my husband how sad it is that she still feels such vehement betrayal, hurt, and anger toward me. I went home melancholy. I had a dream about her that night. I had a dream she came to me, forgave me, and we were "sisters" again. I woke up crying, because I thought it was real. I continued to cry when I realized it wasn't.
I wouldn't have done anything differently through any of it. That little girl touched my heart deeply. She'll always have a place there. And I know I did the right thing for her by telling her parents what she was doing. I knew I was risking our friendship by doing it, but I love(d) her enough to do so. Still, I hurt. I hurt for me for missing her and I hurt for her that she hurts.