Every once in a while we allow someone into our lives–and even let them stay–after they have proven themselves unworthy of our friendship.

I had a friend like that once. I visited her grave yesterday.

In the few years I’d known her she had done just about everything imaginable to hurt me. Yet, I always forgave her. Why? I don’t know. Beneath her tough-girl, streetwise facade, occasionally I’d glimpse the real Brandy: scared, hurt, searching for love from anyone who would give it. But when someone would offer the love she craved, her reaction was to use that person and fling them to the side like a soggy Kleenex.

There was just something about her that elicited sympathy. After all the pain and trouble she’d caused in nearly every aspect of my life, when she needed help, I was there: the last person she expected. That really messed with her head. It must have, and I’ll even admit that messing with her head was part of the reason I’d kept trying to show her what friendship was all about. It wasn’t the whole reason, just a part of it. Brandy had potential. She had given up on herself, but that didn’t mean I had to.

When Brandy succeeded in committing suicide, I cried. It wasn’t that I’d miss her friendship or her presence in my life. I’d cried for the person she had never allowed herself to become, and now that person would never be.

When I visited her grave yesterday, I had nothing to say. I just stood there, staring at her name and the dates of her life etched in stone, and sighed.

Go ahead. I don't bite very hard.

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