Sunday, May 27, 2012

Well, that's done

I did something Saturday morning I didn't really want to do: I had breakfast with Kathy.

I don't forgive this old friend for what she did to me in February. Nor for all the other things she has done to me over 30 years. She has worn me out and left me bone-weary. I work very hard at being a good friend, which makes the way she has treated me hurt even more. I'm no longer willing to do put up with it.

BUT I'm not angry anymore. I don't want revenge. I don't want to hurt her. I just want all this to end.

So when she started reaching out to me in earnest, I began wrestling with the best way to handle it. First she offered to drive me to the hospital to visit my mom last month. Kathy now lives 30 miles away, so the gesture was a big one for her. But I politely refused because my feelings about my mom's hospitalization were raw and powerful and I just didn't need that "Kathy overlay."

Then she got me the book, The President's Club. Simply because she knew I'd enjoy it.

She was right, I do want to read it. But the book is more than $30. Kathy is, literally, homeless -- she lives with her daughter's family. She works two part-time jobs. She can't afford $30, and driving 60 miles roundtrip when gas is $4/gallon. So I know this meant something to her.

At first, when she asked me if I'd meet her and John at what was once our favorite watering hole, I nixed that. But then, when she started mentioning breakfast, I found it harder and harder to refuse without just coming out and saying, "I don't want anything to do with you."

So today we finally went. She hugged me a lot. Wrote a nice inscription in the book. Was very gracious about the fact that she invited me to Sunday and I accepted for Saturday. Even paid the bill. It felt like a date.

And I felt bad for her because this relationship is so over. But there's nothing to be gained by rebuffing her. By telling her to go fuck herself. She knows what she did was hideous. She already feels bad. Why make her feel worse?

She's 65 years old. She lives with newly-divorced, 40+ daughter and three teenaged grandchildren and there's enough tension and electricity in that household to light Michigan Avenue at night. She has no money for retirement and just refinanced the car that she's going to drive into the ground. She's stuck out in a suburb that's 30 miles away from the people she naturally gravitates to (meaning me and John).

So I let her hug me and pay for my spinach omelet. (I suspected she might try that grabbing the check thing, so I didn't even have juice.) I accepted the book and told her why I was excited to read it. I told her about my cats. I complained about how we're all moving to cubicles at work. It was the kind of conversation you have with a stranger on a plane.

It didn't feel like I was taking advantage of her generosity. It felt like I was being decent.

Now I'd really like this to be over.


2 comments:

  1. I've had that same type of awkward encounter. I hope this gives closure to Kathy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. when it is over it is over. i hope she can see this and let go. it is a very sad ending to once was a great friendship.

    ReplyDelete

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