March 8, 2021 – When it’s time (Part Two)

Another thing that I could never comprehend was that even though she professed to being a Christian, she managed to justify having an affair with a married man. Huh? Yes, the last time she flew out to see me (when I lived in another state), she was ‘in love’. She had met a guy that worked for the same company and they had started ‘hooking up’. During the week that she spent with me, the majority of the time she was on the phone with him or gushing about how wonderful he was. When I asked her about the man’s wife, she told me the wife was a terrible person and was mean and verbally abusive to him, she had even ‘scratched his face’. In my mind, I was rooting for the wife. I also thought that if she was calling him names and treating him ‘mean’, he had it coming. That a-hole was rubbing her nose in the fact that he was having an affair. If he were my husband, I probably would have done the same thing. I’m serious, he and my friend were sending photos back and forth (on their phones) and she kept trying to get me to look at them. One of them was of his crotch. The whole thing sickened me.

As it happens, before my friend came to visit, the wife of the married man she was carrying on with had discovered what he was up to and decided to move across the country to start anew (and get away from ‘his temptress’). While she and her husband and their 5 children were driving across several states to ‘begin again’, he continued to carry on with my friend and his wife got ‘wise’ to his shenanigans. After they pulled into a gas station in order to fill up the gas tank, when he went inside to pay, she drove off with the kids and all their belongings and left him there. Serves him right. Who did he call? My friend. This was when she was out visiting and when she found out how his horrible wife had left him at a random gas station in the middle of nowhere, she was nearly beside herself. It was up to her to rescue him. By the next morning, she had arranged a flight for him to return ‘home’, ensuring it had a stopover at the same airport she was departing from so they could meet up and fly back together. Not surprisingly, since he had nowhere else to go, he moved in with her. It lasted 2 weeks. I think once he realized how strange she was, he sailed out of there as quick as he could and back into his wife’s arms.

Her illogical logic had no limits. I remember her telling me how she was angry with her mom and sister because she had told them about her intent to refinance her house at a higher interest rate and they had tried to convince her that it was a terrible idea. But they were wrong and she was right, and there was no way anyone could state otherwise. If she refinanced her home, she would ‘come out ahead’ because she wouldn’t have to pay her mortgage for at least two months once the paperwork was approved. I then got an earful when she offered me a Coke and I declined her offer. I said I was happy with a glass of tap water. I don’t know why, but she seemed to take it personally and started going off on one of her rants. When she’d get started, I usually stopped talking altogether. I don’t think she even cared if I was listening, she had a point to prove. As the years progressed, her quirkiness became less ‘cute’ and more scary and strange. She was like a ticking time bomb. It always was tense and I’d feel so emotionally drained afterward that I felt like crying and climbing into bed. The last time we got together, I knew it was time that she go her way, and I go mine.

The final time I saw her (nearly 5 years ago), she was parked in my driveway, sitting behind the wheel of her custom Dodge Challenger. We had just returned from visiting a tourist town nearby and the air in the car (on the ride home) was so thick, you could nearly cut it with a knife. Before we had left to spend the afternoon together, I had offered to drive but she declined and said, “Let me take you for a ride in a real car.” Once we arrived at our destination, ‘parking her car’ turned into a fiasco. That car was her baby and she treated it as such. Each time I thought she was finally satisfied with her parking spot’ she’d change her mind and pull back out into the street again. I remember looking around and fixing my eyes on a sign that said ‘free parking for vets’. “Hey, let’s pull in there!” I told her, “It’s free!” Her reply? “You’re not a vet!” Excuse me? That statement really floored me. I don’t even understand why she said it. She’d written me letters when I was in bootcamp and tech school and at my first assignment and she’d seen me in my uniform. What the hell did she think I was doing, playing make believe?

I usually had more tolerance for her unfiltered comments but that one left a lasting impression. After that ‘exchange’, she encouraged me to continue on to the restaurant (on foot) and save a table. She said she was going to find a good place to park her car and then meet up with me in a few minutes. A few minutes turned into about 40 minutes. I was beginning to get worried, when I finally noticed her enter the restaurant. When she sat down, she never said anything about what caused her delay. She ordered her usual grilled cheese sandwich with fries and then spent the next 5-10 minutes methodically rubbing her thighs with both her hands. Her eyes had a faraway look in them, and she didn’t really say much other than, “I’m so glad you moved back,” a couple of times. After we ate, we left the restaurant and walked over to an area where vendors sold art. I was taken with some of the work by a Russian artist, and while my friend was distracted looking at other stuff, I purchased one of his paintings. When we tracked each other back down, she saw my purchase and asked me how much I paid for it. When I told her, she about flipped out!

“You spent $200 on a painting of some flowers!!??” she said incredulously, “If you wanted to blow $200, you should have just given me the money. I could have bought all sorts of really cool stuff for $200!!” My friends, I think that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. She started out the day insulting my car, then she told me I wasn’t a vet, and then she made a big scene about my taste in art and/or my spending habits (when she had no room to talk). This is after I listened to her rant the entire way there about the Illuminati and suing her building inspector and countless conspiracy theories involving the government and Obama and medical insurance. We ended up leaving just after that. I’d reached my limit. When we started to walk towards her car, I had no idea where she had parked it. “Follow me,” she said, as we continued to walk and walk and walk. When we finally reached the edge of town, I spotted it. It was located all the way in the far corner of a vast, nearly empty parking lot, away from all of the other vehicles. When we reached it, she walked over to the front bumper and pointed out a dent. “How’d that happen?” I asked. “I got into an accident when I was trying to park the car earlier,” she said impassively.

Is it just me or does that sound a bit odd to you, too? Why didn’t she bother to say anything when it happened? Nevertheless, after she pointed out the dent, we hopped in her vehicle and headed back to my house. The ride home was beyond awkward. She insisted on playing Spanish music the entire way, trying to convince me how great it was. I told her, “I don’t dig it, but if that’s what you’re into, great. It just isn’t my thing.” I couldn’t wait to get home and get out of her car and as far away from her as possible. Once she pulled into my driveway, I hurriedly climbed out and said, “Goodbye,” and thanked her for the ride. I then walked up to my front door, entered my home, and headed straight for the kitchen (where my husband happened to be standing). “Hold me,” I pleaded. I then ‘unloaded’ on him everything that had occurred earlier that day. I was so rattled that I was shaking. After getting my bearings, I walked back to the front door and opened it to see if she had left. Her car was still parked in the driveway. She was sitting behind the steering wheel, a phone to her ear. She probably sensed it was ‘the end’ as well.

If memory serves me right, I waved in her direction and quickly shut the door. That was the last time I ever saw her. For several years, my encounters with her had left me reeling. My kids and my husband would often question why she and I still remained friends. I had ended our friendship once and then went back (after she started invading my dreams). It was good for a while and then it winded up right back where it left off, which was not a good place. I guess I stayed as long as I did partly out of loyalty and partly because I questioned whether it was actually me that was crazy rather than her. “No,” my husband reassured me, “It’s definitely her. She’s nuts and she’s rude. How you stuck it out this long is beyond me.” As usual, he was right. He’s good at reading people and he’d been around her enough to form an accurate assessment. He knew all the ins-and-outs of our relationship and how she affected me each time we got together. And with so many things in life, it was good until it wasn’t. As I often say, when the bad outweighs the good, it’s time to move on. There was no longer any doubt in my mind, it was time.

You’re going to laugh but I have to add one more thing. A few months ago, she had been on my mind. I still love and care about her, that will never cease. I just know that we aren’t good ‘together’. “What if I were to send her a letter?” I mentioned to my husband, “I don’t want to rekindle anything but I do want her to know I love her and that I hope she’s doing well.” My husband nearly fell over. I think, from his expression, he was pretty certain I was suffering from temporary insanity. “You’re not going to want to do that. All you’re going to do is open up a can of worms,” he insisted with a very serious look on his face. Yes! Believe it or not, I actually considered sending her a letter and I’m so glad I had my hubby nearby to bring me to my senses! What the heck was I thinking? Am I a glutton for punishment or what?! No, no, no! I do not want to open up that can of worms again, muchas gracias! Thanks so much for stopping by. I appreciate that you took the time to read my blog today. If all goes well and I haven’t run you off, I trust you will return tomorrow as will I.

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