I was tempted to reply to an impolite comment with an equal tone. I wanted to explain and justify myself all over again. But I thought about what it'd be like to open an email like that. How, if I were a third party and he regaled the conversation to me later, I'd see his hurt and wish there'd been more empathy in the exchange. Like how when I watch a movie and see a death avenged, I'll think, "the avenging could go on forever, can't someone step away from their pain?" I mean, what's more important? To be heard, or to have a bond?
It's so easy to repeat yourself, thinking, "well, if I just say it THIS way, they'll finally get it." There's that seductive pull towards wanting to feel understood. I'm not always good at this, but I didn't follow my impulse. Instead, I tried to be a friend even when the words stung.
It's hard to root for someone when you're hurt, especially when you're feeling wronged. But wrong is subjective, right? Neither one of us always did right by the other. But in the end, I loved him. And sometimes he loved me too. And that's all that matters.
Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting. ~William Arthur Ward