What I’m Riding . . . Friendship III

Supporting each other on our respective high school graduation days

Supporting each other on our respective high school graduation days

I just read your blog about us on October 11th…the only thing I can say is that I’m glad you think your the bigger person. You seem to have forgotten the true reason…you wrote letters to me pretending to be John Albright and sending them from your sisters house. You are sick and twisted if you think the end of our friendship was because of me. I only contacted Lani becuasue I wanted to find out about Drew. He was for all intensive purposes part of my youth. Have a crappy life and write this bitch

This was the message a former friend of mine (I blanked out her face to keep her anonymous) left me on Facebook after reading a blog I had written about the demise of our friendship over twenty-five years ago.  Whenever I write about someone–whether public or private–it is always with the understanding that there is a possibility they may see it one day (bear with me for the use of “they” to represent one person; there is still no pronoun other than “one” and “they” seems to be universally accepted nowadays.  Still it makes me cringe).  This is the reason why I sometimes change names.  I’m not out to hurt or embarrass anyone (although I will admit at times that could be a plus), but I need to stay true to the retelling of the experience, or why bother even talking about it?  Especially this friendship in particular.  God, I could write a novel about it.  Almost every girl has a best friend from childhood through adolescence to adulthood that ends wrong, oh so wrong.  My heart was broken when this friendship ended.  My story, and hers, are the stories of so many girlfriends before us and after.  Girls are going through this same old shit with each other right now.  That is why I tell this story.  Yes, it is cathartic for me, but how I wish back then I would have stumbled on some blog written by an overweight girl who always felt physically inferior to her model-perfect friend and had to navigate with her through a sea of beautiful, talented older men.  Sometimes they chose me over her; most times she won.  That’s the truth.  And I cried over it, but I picked myself up and moved on.  My story:  she was just as insecure as I was and always had to win.  The way she won was to knock me down, and then ultimately get rid of me for people she thought could get her further.  Her story:  I guess you’d have to ask her.  Although if you revisit that little message above, I think she used the words sick and twisted.  Thank you.  I try.

I was done with our story.  I got it out in October 2011 with my blog Friendship II.  But she kept Facebook friend requesting me.  I ignored it.  I was done.  Clearly she wasn’t.  She still wanted something from me, and continued to try to get me to respond to her.  This blog is about that time until now.  This is how I deal with her.  She is a story to me, a lesson, something I share with you, beautiful babies.  If you see yourself within, on either side, I hope it helps.  I hope you grow, I hope you heal.  Know that I am right there with you, still in the process.

The first message I got from her after several requests for friendship was June 14, 2012.  She pasted into the body of her message the obituary of my brother Drew, who passed in August 2009.  Was it a ploy to finally get my attention, playing the dead brother card?  Am I really to believe she just stumbled upon it now, three years later, as she said in her message?  I didn’t want to be cynical.  I wanted to believe she cared, she loved my brother, she was reaching out.  Hey, even if what she did was underhanded, if it got me to respond, if it generated good feelings, well, I could say the end justified the means.  I did respond to her, finally, out of respect for my brother.  She was asking about him, so I told her what happened.  The only thing I said about myself was that I was fine, the rest of my family was fine, and I hoped her family was fine.  She responded immediately, updated me on a death in her family.  I could sympathize.  I was feeling good about it all, until she went on to talk about the band.  Yes, the dreaded band, the reason why we stopped being friends.  So she was still on this.  I knew it.  She couldn’t help herself.  I didn’t respond.

On July 26, 2012 she messaged me one goading word:  Speechless?  I fell for it.  I wrote back to her, joking that I’m never speechless, most people wish I’d shut the hell up.  I finally filled her in on what I was doing now, what my family members were up to.  Really, I don’t know why I did it.  Okay, sure I do.  I had worked in Vegas, met rock stars and cut their checks, have my own business, love my life and my family, get to vacation in fabulous places with them and I wanted her to know it.  She may think she has won in the past, she may pull ahead at some time in the future, but in the here and now I was winning.  Ring that in the register at your mall job.  Ugly, yes.  But it was how I felt.  Did it come across in the tone of my message?  I don’t know.  I tried to keep it out, and let the facts speak for themselves.  She wrote me back immediately, talked more about her family, even brought up some sweet memories we had as kids.  She almost had me.  I was almost softened to her, thinking we may be able to rehash the ugliness, bury it, and move on.  I knew we’d never be friends again, but did we have to hate?  Well, then she ends her message with talking about the band.  How she’s going to meet up with one of the members (ok, I love him and consider him a friend, but he’s fifty-four-years-old now.  He’s still adorable, yes, but certainly not someone I would drool over.  Of course, he would still positively drool over me:) and how it should be interesting.  Same old Kneepads, same old shit.  I didn’t respond.  I was done for real this time.

She messages me on August 29, 2012 telling me she drove by my family vacation home in Cape May and how the memories came flooding back to her.  Stalk much?  I ignore her.  Finally, over a year later, she sends me that lovely missive pasted at the top of this blog on 9/26/13.  For her to have found a blog of mine that never mentions anyone’s name that I wrote two years ago tells me she was reading my stuff, following my blog, looking into the archives.  Thank you.

So let’s dissect her last message, line by line.  She’s glad I think I’m the bigger person.  I don’t, actually.  Well, weight wise, I’m sure I am.  She’s still a stick, the bitch.  But I think she means, the better person.  What I am is an honest person who knows myself and can take responsibility for what I’ve done and said when it comes to her.  The John Albright thing.  Let’s break it down:

John Albright was a popular boy on local teen television dance show Dancin’ On Air.  Through ages 12-15 we both loved him.  We both took pictures of him.  I was willing to share mine, she was not willing to share hers.  To get copies of her pictures I pretended to be John Albright and wrote her a thank you for being my fan letter.  As John I asked if she had any pictures of me from live appearances that I could see.  She mailed them.  I took them to get copies and mailed them back.  After a while I got caught up in the fun of fucking with her and pretended to be several Dancin’ On Air regulars.  I used my sister’s address as the return address.  My sister threatened to expose me and I had to come clean.  My friend was upset, but she forgave me.  Yes, I was a sort of catfish.  Yes, I was a teenager.  She found out about it in 1985.  Our friendship ended in 1988.  Our friendship did not end because of my pretending to be John Albright.  It ended because of our one-upmanship concerning the band.

Next line, concerning her contacting my sister to find out about Drew’s death.  Confirmation she did indeed know he was dead because (that would be how you spell “because”, not “becuasue”) she first contacted my sister in 2010.  And then my mother.  And then my little brother.  And then several of my cousins.  So my initial suspicion confirmed:  one dead brother card played on July 14, 2012.  Nice.

Next line, which states for all intensive purposes he was part of her youth.  I believe the proper cliché is “intents and purposes.”  What an accurate way to describe her dealings with people:  with intent and purpose.

And finally, have a crappy life and write this bitch.  Thank you for the well-wishes.  I mean, really; what forty-six-year-old woman says that?  But I will take her advice and write this, bitch.  Thank you for yet another cathartic blog.

I’ll finish with a master take on this kind of friendship, which is the lyrics to Bob Dylan’s Positively 4th Street.  The band we were following added this song into their set right when my friendship with this girl had come to a close.  Serendipitous?  Maybe.  At this point I was hanging with them and she was nowhere to be found.  So did they add it for me?  I’d be arrogant to think so.  But back then I allowed myself to think it.  Now I know whether or not the band was speaking to my situation, the Universe definitely was.

POSITIVELY 4TH STREET

You got a lotta nerve
To say you are my friend
When I was down
You just stood there grinning

You got a lotta nerve
To say you got a helping hand to lend
You just want to be on
The side that’s winning

You say I let you down
You know it’s not like that
If you’re so hurt
Why then don’t you show it

You say you lost your faith
But that’s not where it’s at
You had no faith to lose
And you know it

I know the reason
That you talk behind my back
I used to be among the crowd
You’re in with

Do you take me for such a fool
To think I’d make contact
With the one who tries to hide
What he don’t know to begin with

You see me on the street
You always act surprised
You say, “How are you?” “Good luck”
But you don’t mean it

When you know as well as me
You’d rather see me paralyzed
Why don’t you just come out once
And scream it

No, I do not feel that good
When I see the heartbreaks you embrace
If I was a master thief
Perhaps I’d rob them

And now I know you’re dissatisfied
With your position and your place
Don’t you understand
It’s not my problem

I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
And just for that one moment
I could be you

Yes, I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
You’d know what a drag it is
To see you

Read more: http://www.bobdylan.com/us/songs/positively-4th-street#ixzz35xYK3xTk

 

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About whatimriding

Born and raised in Philly, I spent several years in Las Vegas, working at the House of Blues and writing about the city. I now reside in Tampa, where I continue to work on novels, scripts and short stories and tearfully await former Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier's return to the bay area.
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