When you have been friends with someone for a considerable length of time, you can pretty much tell the tone of the discussion the moment someone answers the phone and hears the greeting. Kate knew to settle in if I called sobbing. I knew anything beginning with “Aww…Marn” meant my plans for lunch were going to be scuttled in lieu of being a good pal.
It was a blistering hot, sticky July day as July days are in central Carolina. I grabbed some water, my cigarettes and headed to the back deck.
Kate opened with a story about meeting some guy at brunch with some of her friends. Apparently Eros was at a loss for things to do that day. They ended up spending the weekend together, in a drug induced fog and having incredible sex.
I couldn’t figure out how a call that opened with “Aww…Marn” would be bad given the above. Kate and her boyfriend of four years had broken up several months prior and if anyone deserved bacchanalia, it was Kate.
I guess my confusion was fairly evident because Kate paused. “Marn…we did a lot of drugs.” Having grown up around drugs, having a husband who works in an industry where drugs are fairly prevalent, it’s pretty hard to draw anything other than an eye roll from me. In my world drugs are broken into two categories: that which you can do and that which you cannot do. The “can-do” category is limited to pot and certain pharmaceuticals. The “cannot-do” is basically everything else.
I was waiting to hear that she imbibed in blow, her drug of choice for partying. Alas, no. She went were you did not go. She tried meth. Is it any wonder that the sexy times were incredible?
Further issues contributed to Kate’s angst. She tells me she behaved like an asshole to her friends. She tells me this guy has a record and deals. She tells me she didn’t use any form of protection what-so-ever.
Rather than join the pig-pile, I flatly stated that it was great that she had a fuck-and-run but that’s all it needs to be. A fuck-and-run. I told her to delete his name from her phone, get herself to her OB/GYN and move on with life. It would be her dirty little secret, her lost weekend. We all have one and for her to be any different is a little unrealistic when you’re speaking of a (then) 38 year old woman.
She squeaked “An AIDs test.” I shook my head “Are you telling me that you haven’t been tested?” Bless my friend’s little heart. She couldn’t handle being a Gen-Xer.
I half-listened to the rest of the phone call. To be quite blunt, I had no desire to hear about having fantastic sex with a convicted felon. I really don’t give a frog’s fat ass about the glories of any uppers, methamphetamine being the primary one. The douchenozzle wrecked her car in the process and, admittedly, I thought – now you know why this guy needs to be relegated to the fuck-and-run bin.
After an hour or so on the phone, I thought we had reached a clear understanding of how to carry forward. Delete number. Go to doctor. Repair car. Avoid meth. Am I missing something in the sage-advice-doling department here? Clearly, I must have been.
Two weeks later, she called me to tell me she had seen him again.
Kate’s folly aside, I wasn’t exactly skipping sans souci through life. In my world, I was clinging to what little bits of sanity I had remaining in my feeble mind. In less than a year, I had given birth to a child, I had to take a demotion in order to mother appropriately as my previous job mandated travel, I had the pressures of being the primary breadwinner and master financial planner for this enterprise we call a family. All this on top of the fact that the better half travels for a living so I was doing this alone, at times. By the end of June, my nerves were so tattered, holding myself together and getting through the day without breaking down in tears was a mere impossibility.
I thought my advice to Kate was stellar. Rather than beating her up, rather than validating the peanut gallery of friends of hers in Atlanta, I simply stated that what was done was done and gave her a path for moving forward. No judgment. Just support. Imagine my seething rage to learn that she did not listen to me.
When she called to tell me she had seen him again, I was trying to feed my son dinner after an exhausting day at work. Dock was on the road so there was no way I could pass the responsibility torch. As I was covered in pureed green beans and a sweet potato, I was awash in the stupidity of others. Something I have no patience for (the color combination of pureed green beans and sweet potato does nothing for my complexion).
“Aww…Marn. He called. He is upset. He says he really misses me. I went to see him. He makes me happy.”
And with that, the tongue forked, the tone turned harsh and I did not hold back. “Of course he makes you happy. I should even go so far as to say that he makes you feel good, right? THAT’S HIS JOB. He’s a drug dealer.”
I cannot tell you how long that phone call lasted. I can say it lasted longer than Milkface’s patience for the high chair. I can tell you that we both had food in our hair at the end and the floor was a right mess.
Kate’s taste in men has always been beyond the pale. There were only two suitors that I remotely liked and one didn’t even work. It was a fine line for me to walk as I had long suspected that neither she nor my husband liked each other very much. There was always this underlying tension of “you’re not good enough for Marn…” which saddened me.
I tried explaining the importance of a common value-set. While entirely unfair, life has us in certain stations and mixing doesn’t always result in the most beneficial of outcomes. Why my brilliant, beautiful and gentle best friend ended up with these less-than-desirables wasn’t lost on me. She was a healer. She took in stray animals. She took in stray men.
So, covered in food with a whining baby as my soundtrack, I listened to Kate talk through her thoughts. He treated her well. The sex was great. He’s a nice man. Blah. Blah. Blah.
The end of the call was very tense. I had thrown down the gauntlet saying “No more. There will be no more.” She said she knew better, that it was over, that she dreaded being bored and alone but knew that I was right. The madness needed to cease immediately.