Thursday, June 05, 2003


I can't believe that I heard the news about Lydia's wedding from Sandy, who heard it from Janet. She's not my problem any more, I know, but I have to wonder what the hell happened to the person who was once my best friend and confidante. I may never understand it.

The back story starts here: Over a period of about five months, Lydia went Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, and our once close friendship disintegrated to the point that I had to ask her to move out of my house. That was at the end of 2001, after months of increasingly alarming and irrationally controlling behavior on her part, and moving from being sympathetic and supportive to defensive and frightened on my part. The last few days she lived in my house were excruciating. We'd been friends for so many years - I was devastated that her personal problems had become so all-encompassing, that she couldn't even see how irrationally she was behaving. It was really scary towards the end, and I began to fear for my safety. I cried bitterly in the shower every morning, knowing that she was falling apart, and there was nothing I could do to help anymore, because she was lying to her therapist about whatever was really the problem, and was busy making me the cause of her troubles. How can you help someone who blames you for their breakdown? I couldn't.

After she moved out, we only spoke on the phone a couple of times, and I'll admit that I was so angry that I was not able to forgive her immediately, as many times as she begged, pleaded and demanded that I do so. I said that I needed time to get over all the ugly things that had gone on over the last few months, knowing full well that if I didn't keep in frequent contact with her at that point, she would shut me out of her life for good. I let her do just that, for the sake of my own sanity.

I heard through the grapevine that she'd met some guy a few days after her move out of my house was complete, and then that she moved in with him a few months after that, and that she'd become engaged a few more months down the road. I can't help but think to myself that this is awfully short work for someone who I witnessed falling to pieces a very short while before this meeting occured. How on earth did she get herself together to go out and meet this guy? What was he smoking that he couldn't see her mental condition at that point? Of course, I've heard that this guy was going through a miserable divorce of his own at that time, and battling for custody of his teenage son (which he won), so I have to wonder what kind of meat tenderizing hammer marks were left on both of their souls when they hooked up. It's either a blessing from God, or the worst mutual case of being on the rebound, ever.

Now, when I said being on the rebound, I know that some of you sharp readers are leaping to the conclusion, Aha! Lydia was Carrie's lover! No, no, emphatically no. Not that there's anything wrong with that, in a Seinfeldian aside. It's a little more complicated than that. I can't say what she was thinking, since I don't know the real answer, and I won't be calling Lydia (not her real name, btw) any time soon to ask, but I had some disturbing inklings that there was more to her downward spiral than the reasons she put forward.

Some pretty disturbing things came out towards the end of our friendship, when the showdowns were more and more frequent, and the one that made me most queasy was that she said she considered us "soulmates", and that her therapist told her that we had been in a "love relationship", even though it wasn't a physical one. !!! Oh, to have been a fly on the wall in those sessions. What the HELL was she telling that woman? Or did Lydia make that crap up? It was tough to tell the truth from her fiction by that point, anyway.

Ooooooh, I thought, that's why she was taking it so hard that I was falling in love with J, and spending more time with him. I knew that she had issues with women who drop their women friends as soon as Mr. Wonderful comes around, and I always thought that was pretty shitty myself, but I thought she was being incredibly unfair, anticipating my (bad) behavior before I'd actually done anything of that sort. "Give me a little credit!", I implored. We'd only gone out three times by the time she started in on me with all kinds of paranoid and rather insulting insinuations. She went on and on about before she knew it, he'd be over every night, and then soon she'd be looking for somewhere to live. That's not my style, and I was insulted that she assumed all kinds of bad behavior on my part, when she of all people should have known better.

And then the demands began. I had to pick a day every week that was just hers, and I couldn't make plans with J that day. Uh, ooooohkaaaay. And I had to give her warning when I thought that he'd be stopping by. Okay, that's pretty reasonable. But then, because she was feeling Invaded that a MAN would be spending time in her home, (oh, heavens!), she would need to feel comfortable about his presence in her own time, and I wasn't to invite him home until SHE was comfortable with him being around, and she had to pick a public place where she would meet him, but it had to be somewhere she chose, I had to sit on the same side of the table as she was, I had to arrive at the diner and leave the diner WITH HER, definitely not with HIM, or she would feel like an abandoned third wheel...and on and on. The demands became more strange as time went on, and the crying and hysterics when her demands weren't met exactly as she stated were scary. All the while, I was keeping her behavior a secret from J, because I hoped that she would regain her sanity, and he wouldn't know what went on, so they could be friendly at some point. This was the balancing act of my life, keeping her insanity from corrupting my budding relationship with him.

Then, the packing began. I would come home from work, and find a new area of the house rearranged, her things obviously packed up and moved into her bedroom, and MY things put into new places. Since she was getting so loopy and I was trying to pick my battles, I didn't get outwardly angry with her for moving my things around, but it was hurting my feelings that she was acting like I was attacking her, when in actuality I was walking on eggshells around her, hoping that this was all a kooky phase, and if I was kind and gentle with her, once she got comfortable with J, met him and saw that he was not the enemy, that she'd calm down. Apparently, I was just dreaming.

The one that just really topped it all was when she dismantled MY computer and put it in a pile on the floor. Since it was my old Macintosh and we were kind of sharing her new PC at that point anyway, I suppose she thought it wouldn't bother me, but damn, to do such a thing without even asking first! I held my temper in check and asked why she'd taken my computer apart, and she said that it bothered her being so close to the door. Uh, oooohkaaaaay. [Insert cuckoo clock sound here.]

The final straws were her waking me at odd hours of the night to discuss "our" problem, crying outside my bedroom door until I came out to talk to her, staging scenes where I was forced to choose between her and J, and then finally harassing me at work by phone and email, until I couldn't stand it ONE MORE DAY.

Now that you know the background, you may understand why I was incensed for the first few moments after I heard that it took her all of three months to move in with some guy she met DAYS after moving out of my house. After accusing me of moving too fast in my relationship with J (who I'd know for a few weeks before we even got around to exchanging phone numbers), and harranging me daily about how upsetting that was to her, she went about setting land speed records for shacking up. Talk about the pot calling the kettle "Black!"

Now, hearing yesterday that she married this guy last month makes me feel all kinds of emotions rolled into one. Why didn't she go on her Husband Quest before she attempted to drive me insane? Why take out her mental problems on me? And what the hell are these people in for, Mr. Just Got Out Of One Mess And Right Into Another, and Miss Control Freak See I'm Not Gay And Now I'm Married That Proves It? According to people who work with her, she's all drippy gooey with lovey-dovey talk on the phone with Mr. New Mess I've Gotten Myself Into, and they were "all over each other" in the store where they bumped into a mutual friend. Need to prove to the world that you are the most in love people ever, do you? That's fine if you are a teenager, or are standing on a bridge over a river in Paris. But really, this hanging all over each other and lovey-dovey crap sounds like such an act. Who are they trying to impress? Oh, whatever.

Yes, YES, I know I sound bitter. I am surprised to see how angry I still am over these stupid things that happened so long ago. But it's that childish feeling of, "It's not FAIR" that keeps nagging me. She was so crappy to me when I finally found someone to be happy with, at precisely the time I really needed my best friend to talk with and giggle with about all that new boyfriend stuff, and I am still resentful about it. I guess that spiteful little payback beast inside me is what is keeping me from being happy for her that she has supposedly found what she was looking for, but to be fair (there's that word again), she put me through so much hell in such a short period, I can't imagine that even Lydia would expect me to be all sweetness and light about the news.

This part makes no sense at all, but I'm going to say it anyway. I'm really pissed that I had to find out about her getting married through a third party, a month after the fact. All those years we were such good friends, or so I thought. I was supposed to be her maid of honor, helping with plans for her wedding, going to gown fittings and throwing the bachelorette party, all that stuff. It really smarts to find out this way, from the outside, after the fact. I supported her and helped her through her mother's death, her own cancer, depression, unemployment, romantic disappointments, you name it. And she helped me through personal tragedies galore, too. I thought we were the closest of friends, and that we would be buds until we were old. But when I found J, she was so terrified of the imagined abandonment, that she didn't have it in her heart to be happy for me. Shame on her for all that crazy shit, smothering me and then pushing me away like that. I tried my best to be a good friend to her, and I feel cheated.

And shame on me, too, because I don't think I have it in my heart to be happy for her now, either. At least not yet.

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