FWF: Kellie Elmore

English: Broken Heart symbol

English: Broken Heart symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The What ifs and The Should Haves Will Eat Your Brain by John O’ Callaghan

Learn from me.  I allowed your flesh-eating amoebas steal pieces from my soul and heart as if I was no longer a person with feelings, but a mass of rusty, mechanical parts. You won the round for a number of years but not the fight, no definitely not the fight.

You played unfairly, with aggression, the intent to severely wound with a fake smile plastered on your pale face.  I meekly, crept under a colorful fall red leaf, my sense of self, like a worm stepped on in pieces, buried deep down in the tough, brown unyielding ground.

How could you be my best friend one night yet not the next? No one could help me understand, no one understood either. Pain can either kill you or make you stronger. It’s a toss-up. I won in the end. I pitied you and you loathed pity.

There was not a single thing I could have done more than I had done already. Letters and phone calls, messages. I just wanted to talk to you but your holier-than-thou attitude refused my attempts. You ignored me, forgetting about the closeness we had for years. You were mean, hateful. I started, very slowly, noticing your flaws, the discrepancies in your behavior. My conscience was clear, like a clean pane of glass that smelled like freshly cut lemons. You were self-destructing in front of everybody’s eyes.

But I did not forgive you for destroying what should have been one of the happiest days of my life, you stole that from me, like a big, bold bully snatches and stomps on a little boy’s new toy. The night I invited you to your favorite restaurant, nervous and excited; you stole my special joy from me when I told you I was pregnant and you put your head in your hands and wept. I was flabbergasted, shocked, hurt, confused. I imagined joy, “congratulations” squeals of delight. I got nothing.  No, you sat in your seat, head down, tears falling into your soup. I stopped asking what was wrong when all you would do was shake your head from side to side signalling “no.” Our friendship was over. Your cover, blown.

I used to always defend your insecurities and phobias: driving, flying, going on a boat, or a train, going in elevators, the list got longer every year. You made your husband fly on vacation, alone. You didn’t have the decency to show up at your in-laws funerals. Everybody gasped in shock and horror; there was no turning back from that. You crossed the line there, there were no excuses for that type of behavior.

Everyone knew that you were a psychologically impaired person but there are some things people do for those that they love. There were medications and therapy but you refused to go, to try to get help,  therapy was fine for “other people” but not you. You refused to try, you were too scared to go. After awhile even your husband threw up his hands and gave in. Ice water ran through your veins.

Your husband, our friend, had the grace to tell us the truth, he confessed and told us everything, You continued to lie. You changed your mind about a deal you made with your husband, yet when we tried to talk to you, you lied to our faces.There was a cruel side to you, one you tried so desperately to hide, but it would escape when you let your guard down, didn’t it?

I could see the hatred that you harbored deep inside. It came out in whiffs like a puff of smoke or perfume, I couldn’t grab hold of it but I knew, for sure, it was there. I knew something was wrong with you since the first time we met as you handled my laundry, inappropriately, crossing boundaries.You hated that I knew all your secrets. I thought I knew you, and I did, on that very first day when my instincts whispered in my ear and I told them to go away.

I should have followed my instincts on the first day we met, I knew there was something off, something strange about you but I didn’t listen. That lesson, I have learned forever. For this, I thank you.

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Plinky: How Do You Define A Friend?

Hot Glass, Ice Cubes and Room Temp Cola causes...

Image by srboisvert via Flickr

I had a best friend for years, where trust, laughter, love and an eager dining companion perfected my single world.  Her name was Katy and we met in a small apartment building in a suburb of Boston. We were the “Mary” and “Rhoda” of the 80’s. The only thing missing from our studio apartments, one above the other, was the big first initial of our names hanging on the wall, just like Mar had. We met in the tiny laundry room one day where she gave me advice about wrinkles. When she grabbed my clothes from the washing machine, and shook them out, I felt a little uncomfortable.

We had been best friends for years and when I met the boyfriend I would eventually marry, I couldn’t wait to  introduce him to my best friend.  I admit, the first meeting was a little awkward; Katy was polite yet distant. Their was no warmth as we passed vegetable lo mein and chicken with broccoli amongst the three of us.

Later, my husband and I introduced her to the man she would marry, a friend of my husband’s. Katy and Bob were both loners and somewhat eccentric but we took enormous care in matching them up. There was no doubt in my mind that they would take to each other and they did. We danced at their wedding while my husband and I waited for the toast to us the “matchmakers.” There was none. The bride and groom sat alone, away from their family and friends, secluded from their own party. No, I was not the maid of honor.

There were normal friendly disagreements, like in any friendship, yet Katy never wanted to talk things out; she hated any type of confrontation. Looking back, our friendship was at its peak when I constantly placated her. When I became a more confident, independent person she did not like it yet she wouldn’t talk about it either. This started the chilly decline and her withdrawal. All of a sudden the warmth I had initially felt became a fake veneer, breaking glass to reveal nothing but ice.

One devastating situation that I shared with her was when my husband and I were trying to have a baby and I was depressed. She was in my car when I broke down once and sobbed. Back in the late eighties and early nineties no one talked about infertility treatments, it was a hushed topic filled with shame and heartbreak.

After two and a half years of painful infertility treatments I FINALLY got good news. I got a call from the nurse in the doctor’s office telling me I was pregnant; I softly closed the door to my office, sank on the dirty carpet, and wept. We waited through the first trimester with extreme caution telling no one except for immediate family.

I couldn’t wait to tell my best friend the news! She was so special to me I didn’t want to tell her on the phone so I invited her to dinner at her favorite restaurant.  With my voice filled with emotion, my Diet Coke shaking in my cold hands, I told her that I was pregnant and she was going to be an aunt. I waited for her response with tremendous excitement. I was expecting a shout of glee, a warm hug, excitement but there was nothing but silence. Nothing.  What I did get was a frozen expression and a few tears trickling down her face. She wouldn’t even talk; I was in utter shock, deeply disappointed and confused. When I questioned her reaction all she said was “I’m fine.”

What happened later is not my story to tell and I will not share her secrets because it’s not my place.  Her husband confided in us and told too many intimate things. I told Bob that we didn’t want to be put in the middle of their drama, that he should talk to her. He didn’t. When I tried to talk to Katy she denied everything and lied to my face. I can accept a lot in a relationship but lying is absolutely abhorrent to me. Tell me it’s none of my business but do not look me in the eye and lie.

Once pregnant, she dropped me, cold. I didn’t understand. There was nothing I could do to re-establish the bond which I thought was absolutely unbreakable. For many years I tried to reconnect but she didn’t want to have anything to do with me. She made that very clear. I can’t say I didn’t have clues, I had many: the way she treated her parents and only saw them once, maybe twice a year. They were not allowed to visit her in Boston.There were many other signs, I saw the pieces of the puzzle but never put it together until now. She was emotionally damaged and people had been telling me that for years. I just couldn’t believe them, I didn’t want to believe them. My very best friend in the world, not only broke my heart but shattered it. She ended our friendship quickly and abruptly as if she was throwing an emotional grenade in our direction, then she turned and fled. Not looking back. Ever.