A long time ago, when I was dating Jer, I was introduced to D. D thought that because I was 19 at the time, I would be ignorant and tasteless and had decided that she wouldn’t like me before I set foot in the apartment that she shared with her first husband K. K was a huge, clunky oaf who worked with Jer making no money in a crappy little sports shop. (I won’t get into detail here, because I think most of you know what I mean.) Jer and K had become fast friends despite the age difference (which was only about 7 years, but evidently when you’re 19, 26 year olds hate you and think you couldn’t possibly have anything interesting or intelligent to talk about. It’s true.) K offered me a glass of wine immediately, a suggestion at which D snarled with disapproval because of my lack of agedness. But as soon as dinner was over and D and I were deep into conversation and our second glasses of wine, we were on the floor, hunched over D’s CD collection, listening to Bing Crosby and talking about how wonderful Cyndi Lauper is. And the rest is history.
I helped D conceal her cigarette habit from K and watched as their marriage deteriorated and turned into a divorce. I hung around while she developed a relationship with her goofy but adorable best friend. And she stood by me when the only real relationship I’d ever had fell apart. We were like sisters. Until I met her brother.
G was hilarious. He was the kind of guy who would have everyone’s attention whenever he was in a room and have them all laughing to the point of tears every time. He was a pothead bartender who never held a job for very long and he was the object of D’s best friend’s affection. (We called her “The Drag Queen”.) TDQ shamelessly threw herself at G whenever she had the opportunity and when G started paying attention to me, tension started brewing. Not just tension, but hostility. And not just from TDQ, from D as well. G would get drunk and high and serenade me or throw me over his shoulder and carry me around the house. Open my car door. Kiss my hand. If I stayed the night, he would sneak into the bedroom I was sleeping in and curl up next to me. And even though he wasn’t what I wanted, it was easy to feel protected and somehow loved while listening to his breaths.
And one night, after months of drunken make out sessions that I never intended to take seriously, we slept together. I could talk about the actual sex, but I’m a lady. So, I will just say, that I regret it on levels that I didn’t even know existed. Immediately afterward, I felt like a whore. But not just that, I felt that I had lost any dignity that I had. I was no stranger to bad choices or inappropriate guys but nothing made me feel as naked or stupid as I did this time.
As it turns out, I never saw G again. Or D for that matter. I didn’t stick around to find out if it was my doing or hers but I knew that I didn’t ever want to lay eyes on G again. And I didn’t want to face D after doing something I knew she didn’t approve of because I knew if anyone could make me feel worse, it was her. I tried to play out conversations in my head for when I did see her again, but I never could get them right. I could never form any real sentences or explanations. I just knew that I was sorry.
I found D on myspace yesterday and felt hurt and angry and sad. I felt hurt because I always thought our friendship was bigger than some stupid thing that I did. And angry because she didn’t care enough to see that I was lost then. That I had felt alone and alienated and scared of everything and because of that, I did some things that I couldn’t take back. Stupid, stupid things. Things that I can’t think about without wincing. I knew I was hurting people, but I kept on. Because, even if just for one moment, I felt alive and safe.
I’m sad now because I know that her friendship was one of a kind. I know that when I screwed it up, it was on the down slope but it could have been repaired. And my attempts to fill a void were viewed as disregard. And that couldn’t be less true.
I’m older now. Happy. But much the same. And because of what I did, I can’t share that with a person who taught me so much about who I wanted to be. And even though there are things about her that I hated, there were more things about her that I loved. And I feel cheated and wronged just as much as I feel ashamed and regretful.
Looking at her picture and reading about how her life is now, I found a little peace in the fact that she is happy too. She is still with A and is still the showtune singing dork that she always was. It’s refreshing to see it, even if I can’t see it first hand. I just hope that she has forgiven me.