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I'm a 32 year old mother of 2 fantastic little boys, ages 5 and 10. I'm a retail lackey who dreams of running away to San Francisco where I'll live on my trust fund and take photographs of the city all day.

Currently Reading

  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Movies You Should Check Out

  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • The Good Shepherd

Rocking My iPod This Week

  • Eminem
  • Hinder
  • The Fray

Categorically Speaking...

Sunday, April 09, 2006

At What Point Would You Sell Out?

Yesterday I got a very surprising phone call, and it's made me think...a lot. At what point would you sell out? Where's the breaking point within your heart that will make you turn your back on the people and things that you hold dear? I'm beginning to think that I'm alone in having a very high breaking point...especially when it comes to those people and things that are the closest to my heart.

There are little inconsequential things that I'll give up no sweat. You want my last cigarette? Fine. Take it. I don't really need it; I don't smoke because I have to. You need the last dollar out of my pocket? Go ahead. It's yours. I can always make more. You want me to give up my fiance/my son/my best friend? Try me. There isn't enough money in all the world to make me turn my back on them. Literally, all the nations in the world could come together and offer me all the money they have in the national coffers and I would turn it down. Money couldn't replace what I would have lost.

People always tell me that with money I can buy friends. And they are right...with money comes friends. But what kind of friends are they going to be? Will they still be there when the money is gone? When I am spiraling out of control into the abyss of depression, are they going to reach in and pull me out? Or will they move on to the next sucker with money? I don't want friends that disappear at the first sign of trouble. Those aren't friends. I wouldn't even call those acquaintances. Like take my best friend Tyson for instance. He doesn't care if I have money or not. I can call him up and say "I'm really depressed today and I'm thinking some really dark thoughts." And you know what he'll say? "Come over - you shouldn't be alone right now." He doesn't run away. He doesn't flinch. He understands. And he knows that we can get through the darkness if we stick together. It's one of the greatest things about our friendship. We can say the things that you would have to keep inside with most people. I can tell him that I'm thinking about cutting myself and not worry that he's going to hang up on me or that the police are going to knock on my door for a "welfare check".

So that brings me back to my surprise phone call. There's this girl that I was pretty tight with all throughout my childhood. I guess you could say we were best friends. From 1st grade all the way until our sophomore year in high school. Then she turned 16. Her parents bought her a brand new car. Then a few months later, they decided that I was a bad influence on their daughter. My friend had gotten in with the "fast crowd" and began smoking, drinking, and just being rebellious in general. I was too busy with all my extra-cirriculars to be a part of all that, but her parents (who I might add were like a second set of parents to me) didn't bother to see that. I was SO obviously the reason that their daughter was doing all this. So they told her that she couldn't hang out with me anymore - or they would take the car back. And you know what she did? She chose the car. She didn't even try to set her parents straight on me. She never stood up for me and tell her parents that I wasn't involved. She threw away 9 years of friendship over a car. She sold me out. Whenever I saw her around school she wouldn't even look at me anymore. Then at Grad Night, I ran into her in the bathroom. She told me that she had gotten an apartment and that I should come over sometime. So I said sure. I missed our friendship after all, and I figured now we were both (almost) adults and we could be friends again.

Wrong. The first time I went to her apartment her parents came over. The look on their face when they walked in the door and saw me standing there was brilliant. It was like I was a serial killer with the ebola virus. They just looked at my friend and walked out the door. After I left, my friend called me. She told me not to call or come by anymore. And do you know why? Her parents held the car over her head again...and her new apartment, too. See, they were making the payments on the car, and they were paying the rent and utilities on the apartment too. So she sold me out again. All so she could live almost completely free. She worked part time to make gas & fun money, but the car, insurance, rent, utilites, and food were all paid for by Mommy & Daddy. And that to her was worth more than a 9 year friendship. I told myself I was over it. Over her. And I moved on.

So all of a sudden I get a phone call from her yesterday. She got my phone number from a mutual friend. She's engaged now to some rich guy. She lives with him and he bought her a new car, so now she's not beholden to Mommy & Daddy anymore. Maybe the next time I'm in California I'd like to come visit her? Would I like to be in the wedding? Ummm, NO and NO. Mind you, I haven't seen or heard from this girl in nearly 8 YEARS. I decided to let her have it. Tell her exactly what I was thinking. I told her how it devastated me that she threw away our friendship over a car. How it hurt me that she didn't even try to stand up for me to her parents. How cruel it was to then throw our friendship away a second time. How I've moved on without her. I told her that's not how a friendship works. You don't throw something on the ground and 8 years later expect it to be where you dropped it. What if her husband decided I wasn't good enough to be her friend a few years down the road? What would she do then? I didn't want to find out. I wasn't going to allow myself to be hurt by her ever again. I told her real friends stick by each other. I told her about Tyson. Told her THAT'S a real friend.

Then I thanked her.

Why you ask? Because it took that phone call to make me realize that I really WAS over her. Over wondering about our friendship. I realized that I didn't want to hear from her anymore. I could stop wondering what ever became of her because now I knew - money was the most important thing in her life now, just as it was then. For 8 years, in the back of my mind I had always wondered if I really was over her, or if I was just telling myself that. Now I knew. So I told her thank you, but don't ever call me again. I don't need it - I don't need you. And it was her turn to hurt.

Does that make me happy? Maybe on a subconscious level, yeah. I didn't set out to hurt her, but if I did, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. What happened with her made me distrust people who wanted to be my friend. I put up walls to keep people from getting too close to me. Any friends I made after that first betrayal 10 years ago were kept outside the wall. I didn't let anyone in. A couple people I started to trust enough, and they were let in the door. But they still weren't all the way inside. It's kind of like this: I put up the wall, then inside the wall I built a moat, and I kept myself protected on the other side of the moat in my own little castle. So now I had a couple of people inside the wall, but they couldn't get across the moat. I found a wonderful guy who became my wonderful boyfriend (and is now my wonderful fiance), and I let him come over the moat. But I've always kept him outside of the castle. It's too dark and too dismal of a place for him. He deserves better than that. So I have to come out of the castle to see him. I can't let him in.

It wasn't until 4 years ago that anyone made it inside the castle. Tyson didn't take no for an answer. Walls, moats, and castles be damned. I was surprised one day to be sitting alone in my castle, ready to be done with all the darkness, when there he was. He had broke through it all and told me that I could make it. That it was okay to let him into my castle because he knew what it was like - that he had a castle, too. I didn't know what to say. In all the years that I had been in my castle with people outside...they never knew they were outside of anything. Tyson was the first to see that. First to see that I was not okay inside my castle. First to say that I wasn't alone. First to make me feel like one day I could come out of my castle for good.

Do I still have a castle? Yes. Does he? Yes. But we're trying - always trying to come outside and lock that door behind us forever. Until that day comes, though, we support each other. When one of us retreats into our castle, the other comes to find us. We don't let each other stay in there too long. I can't thank him enough for all that he's done for me. For the light that he's shown me. All the hope and inspiration he's given me. Tyson truly is my best friend. He cares. He understands. He "gets it". He's seen the darkness I keep inside, but still he stays.

And he didn't sell me out.

2 comments:

Michelle said...

wow that must have been hard but I think you did the right thing.. glad you were able to tell her what you were thinking. Most of us don't dare to take that first step of telling the truth. I admire that. Good for you. She needed to know and its good for your own piece of mind to get it out.

Cami said...

wow! so weird that she would call like that after all this time. kinda sounds like she wanted to keep your friendship on a string to use whenever she felt she needed it. good for you telling her differently. you deserve better than that Jen & I'm glad you pointed that out to her.
((hugs, my friend))