Throughout my life I have had a lot of friends. I have had good friends, great friends, ok friends, bad friends and just about every category in between. I have had friends who I talk to every day and friends I only talk to once in a while. I have had periods of time where I only had a couple of people I would call a friend and other times where I had too many friends to keep up with. All in all I have felt very blessed in the friendship category.
About two years ago I lost my best friend. We were "sisters" for a decade and, as sometimes happens, our friendship changed to the point where it just ended. I still miss her every day and if I thought that reconnecting would bring good things to my life I would probably call her. I have learned, however, that sometimes the end of something is a good thing and you are both better off without the other and that is OK.
I am sitting here tonight, in my recliner, hockey on television, a paper to finish for school and instead of working on that paper I am stewing about the state of one particular friendship in my life. A friendship that has been slowly deteriorating despite my best efforts and how literally overnight I have gone from best friend to scapegoat.
See, my friend went through a nasty and surprising divorce that left her reeling. I stopped my world and put her at the front of the list. Homework waited, other friends waited, husband (in many instances) waited and I took care of my friend. I hurt for her, I hurt with her, and I wanted to make things better. We went out drinking, we went out dancing, we went out to heal her wounds and, I won't lie, it was a lot of fun for a while. Then she met a guy - a guy who hit on both of us at a bar and only "picked" one of us when I flashed my wedding ring.
Divorced less than a month she locked onto this guy like a drowning woman with a life raft. The night we met him she, rightfully, thought he was a player and she treated him with dripping disdain. I encouraged her to relax and just enjoy being flirted with - besides, it wasn't like she wanted to date the guy.
Famous last words.
Needless to say, now they are attached at the hip - and every other notable body part. The rest of the world can take it or go to hell. I spoke up to say that he is just as shady as she thought that first night, that gut feelings never lie, that something wasn't right about the guy and of course that just made me the enemy. I have always known better than to try to talk sense into someone being snowed by a used car salesman. EVERYONE knows better - but I spoke up anyway and I suppose being cut out of her life is my penance.
OK - so that is a little melodramatic. I wasn't entirely cut out. I was just relegated to a supporting role with only one speaking line and that line had better be something like "just so long as you are happy I am happy" or some other placating bullshit. Unfortunately, I am not really wired that way. I tend to say what I think and I guess that is where the scapegoat part comes in...
Saturday night my friend's daughter was babysitting for me and was going to spend the night. Upon my arrival home at 1:30 am she and my child were still awake so I offered her the option to go home to her own bed or sleep on my couch. She preferred her bed to my couch so we tried to call my friend and let her know about the change in plans. We couldn't reach my friend, but her daughter assured me that it was fine for her to be at home for a while alone and it wasn't an uncommon occurrance so we set out for their house.
We got there and when the daughter opened the garage door my friend's car was there. At that point I was confused because she was home yet had not been answering her phone so I called and left a "sorry for the change in plans and dropping your daughter off early" message. I indicated that I had "plans" at home *giggle giggle* and give me a call tomorrow. At no time did it ever occur to me that I was about to become Public Enemy Number 1 and the scapegoat for all that could potentially ever go wrong in this friend's relationship with her daughter, boyfriend, pope, preschool teacher, hair stylist and manicurist.
I left 2 messages for my friend on Sunday and never heard anything from her. That wasn't all that unusual since The Boyfriend entered the picture, but it was slightly irritating. Then today I stayed home sick and when I finally got out of bed and checked my email I had the most incredibly cruel email I have ever gotten. It said that I was a terrible person that I would drop her daughter off at home with no regard for what she might walk in on. I had no regard for her daughter's self esteem and I put her well being at risk for my own selfish purposes. I got to read that I am a horrible person and I put my own selfish desires ahead of the well being of a child. I got to read that she can't have "someone like me" in her life because a friend wouldn't do something so horrible.
I spent most of the day trying to call my friend who won't answer her phone or return my calls. I spent the rest of the day responding to her email. It took me about 3 hours to get it worded just right. You know what I mean - that mix of "I'm pissed but I want to acknowledge that you are pissed but I don't want to piss you off more but I am really pissed and want to tell you what I think." Now I am sitting here shocked, awed, confused, heart broken and, more than anything else, PISSED.
Let's break this down point by point:
1. She is dating some guy and is worried about how it might affect her daughter, but instead of TALKING to her daugter about it or SLOWING DOWN the relationship she found the perfect opportunity to blame any negative impact on me. Man...I better take notes because I might be able to learn enough skills from her that I can foist my student loan debt off onto some unsuspecting innocent.
2. She jumped headlong into a relationship with a guy who declared undying love and devotion after less than a month and when I spoke up saying, "isn't this a little fast?" I became the anti-Christ. I made him feel "unwelcome" and he refuses to hang out with me or my husband.
3. She demanded a birthday party so we threw a bash at which she was one of the guest's of honor and after 2 hours she left the party to go home because her boyfriend "didn't want to drive all the way to our house."
4. I love her and her daughter and being a responsible adult and parent myself I would NEVER do anything to purposefully put anyone in harm's way. I mean - she isn't a stupid kid - she knows the ways of the world and if finding her mother's boyfriend at their house is so terrible for the kid's well being why is the mother dating him in the first place?
5. I love that I am the horrible friend yet she doesn't even have the decency to CALL when she has a major issue. Just a few weeks ago she was trashing another person we know who used email to pass along a difficult message. We berated that person for copping out and taking the easy road and being a chicken shit. Then here we are - supposed best friends - and she does the same bullshit thing. I mean - pick up the phone or stop by for a chat for fuck's sake. You're a big girl - you have things that cruel to say to me at least say them to my fucking face.
I think what my friend is the most pissed off about is that she and her MAN were probably at home getting ready to get their freak on and I spoiled their little den of sin by bringing her daughter home early. All she had to do was answer the phone. I can show you 4 people who were there when we tried to call. But NO...instead I am a horrible person who disregards the safety and well being of children. I am a thoughtless slut who would rather abandon a poor, unsuspecting child just to get laid myself.
Are they still looking for a scapegoat for the assassination of Kennedy? How about high gas prices? Oh...I know...the Exxon Valdez...I will be the scapegoat for all of that and if I am really,really lucky maybe my friend can find a way to make me the scapegoat for both her divorces and the cost of her mortgage.