Say goodbye


I wasn’t going to write about this, but it could prove to be an important lesson somewhere down the line.

One of my favorite families is leaving the area soon to continue their life adventure in Mexico/Columbus/D.C., depending on the family member. I’ll miss them all and look forward to our next meeting. At any rate, this departure occasioned a goodbye party Friday night — an event that of course I wouldn’t dream of missing. Brian threw on a button-down and joined me, since he knows Sam and was pretty sure to know a couple of other attendees.

Oh, we certainly knew one.

Our closest friends know about the disintegrated relationship between each of us and a former friend, the point of which having been driven home at another friend’s house party a couple of months ago. There is a veritable litany of abuse that spans five years. Most cases involve an oft-inebriated “him” taking offense at a perceived slight, then verbally abusing us to anybody who would listen and temporarily abandoning the friendship, only to return after a period as short as two days or as long as three months. Apologies were rare; it was understood that his reemergence was born of remorse (or, at least, loneliness). What I failed to recognize sooner is that those reemergences also occurred when his life was in a downswing.

There was other, more serious abuse going on here, though: he betrayed Brian by sleeping with his then live-in girlfriend for an uncertain period of time before they finally went their separate ways in August 2008. That fall, she decided to juggle the two of them but not to inform Brian of the arrangement; when I advised my then-friend to do the responsible thing and break it to Brian vis a vis, his response: “It’s not my responsibility.” For someone who claimed to want to repair that broken friendship on so many occasions, this sort of betrayal is unconscionable.

Fast forward to Friday. We arrive, see that he is at the party, and do the prudent thing: ignore him completely. I dislike drama, and refuse to be a part of it in public settings. It was simple to focus our attentions on other mutual acquaintances, as well as some friends of mine to whom I was happy to introduce Brian. Meanwhile, the ex-bff spent his time sending dirty looks in our direction when he wasn’t tooling around on his phone. Some time later, Brian received a text message from a number that he didn’t recognize. It read: “Can we talk?”

The message I received was somewhat more comprehensive: “You know I suck at apologies but I’m sorry and I miss you.”

My initial reaction was a sigh and shake of my head — right on schedule. Right on the heels of that, however, was indignation. Did I really just receive a text message from someone standing maybe twenty feet away from me and using their line of sight to mean mug me after our last decidedly unpleasant encounter? A text message, from the person who six weeks ago called me a “cunt” and told me to lose his number because he was drunk and I wouldn’t flip a breaker? Riiiight.

At that moment I reaffirmed my decision to keep such a negative relationship out of my life. I don’t have the energy or desire to continue in this macabre cycle, especially with someone who so offended the man I love and who treats his every relationship as expendable. I deleted the message; it’s better than he deserves.

As we were getting ready to leave, we ran into the other half of this horrible duo: the cheating ex-girlfriend herself. Brian, being infinitely nicer than I am, executed a half-hearted wave to break the tension. For my part, I ignored her completely despite walking within inches of her. This is also better than she deserves; however, I am not at all an impartial judge of her character and any further discussion of her would be colored by the intense hatred I allow myself to harbor for her and one other person in this world.

And now, I will let this go and consign thoughts of them to the dumpster – where they belong. Now, I say goodbye.

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