Thursday, April 21, 2005

5 years

5 years ago I gave up on a friend.
I know that I hurt her and I'm not proud of that, but I am proud of saving myself.
She was manipulative. She was mean. She was selfish and self absorbed. She wanted every bit of sympathy I could give her and more...but, she had very little empathy for me or for anyone else.
When I met her, she was on the cusp of a terribly painful breakup. She was funny and self-deprecating. She knew all of the right movie lines and all of the right band names, or at least, I thought she did. We had a great time and I excused most of her emotional break downs and outbursts, chalking them up to her heartbreak. What I didn't know was that she was using that heartbreak against me. She was using her pain to reel me in, to make me care for her. It's an old trick, but it had never been used on me before.
She had a list of wrongs committed against her that she would whip out whenever she felt the center of attention shifting from her. She was deft at at and she could cry at the proverbial drop of a fucking hat.
Once at the start of our friendship she and Angie and I were driving along the lakeline of the Great Salt Lake. We were laughing and listening to music. Angie started talking about some guy she liked and I was making fun of her because he was such a pretty boy. Suddenly, from the backseat she spoke. Her voice was heavy and urgent and startling. "You guys...." (These stories, we would later come to know always started with an address followed by a pregnant pause)
"I really need to tell you something... ... ... About 2 years ago I was at this party... ... and this guy... I think he put something in my drink, because I passed out and when I woke up, I was pretty sure that he had raped me."
Me: Are you serious?
Her: ... yeah.
Me: Dude, I'm so sorry, I can't believe that happened to you. I'm really sorry.

I really was genuinely sorry for her. Looking back on it, I'm not sure if that story was even true, but at the time I felt for her and we naturally spent the rest of the evening talking about this and her. We coddled and pampered her, as is the duty of any friend, when your friend is in need.
What we couldn't have known at the time was that every day we spent with her would end this way.
The holy trinity of daily drama:
She "ran into" her ex-boyfriend, she saw her ex-friend's car, she talked to her dad.
We spent every day of our friendship with her talking about these three subjects.
We spent every conversation telling her how awesome she was, what assholes those dudes were (they weren't) yadda yadda yadda. We said those words so many times, they became a script...they became meaningless. This became a terribly tedious and utterly draining ritual.
Over time, I stopped calling her as much. She would pop over with a present and then lecture me about what a bad friend I was. This went on for a while. I was completely confused. Was I a bad friend?
I didn't want to confront her or fight with her, I just wanted her to go away. Looking back, I know that wasn't fair either, but I don't think I was equiped enough to find a better solution.

Here we are 5 years later and in an interesting twist of irony, I'm engaged to her meany of an ex-boyfriend.

We ran into her on Lars birthday last year and she wrote about it in her blog. She was vague, but she was cruel, so I knew who she meant.

This morning, this song played on my walkman and I had to sigh and be glad for the friends I have now.

from Charms Around Your Wrist - the softies
I've been away and suddenly you're a poet using my return
what I did while I was gone is none of your concern
You can write that I have changed from how I was back then
Just don't think that you can ever cry to me again

And you can add this to your growing list
of heartfelt disappointment worn like charms around your wrist

No comments: