I can’t count how many times when a romantic relationship ended, so did the friendships that were forged between me and his people. When you love someone, you come to know the people closest to them, and find the reasons that they are dear to your beloved. Relationships start between two people, but invariably a lot more people and places are caught in the crossfire of the fallout. Depending on how bad the end was, and whether the others were complicit in any alleged deceit that resulted in the termination of the Union, leaving each other often means leaving the people in each other’s lives you had come to love.
I dated a guy whose inferiority complex compelled him to keep reminding all in the room that no one else in present company but him had a masters degree. No matter what the topic under discussion was, he always entered the debate with an air of superiority that his stance was not only the intelligent and wise one, but the right one.
He would talk past you to continue making his point as if he had not been interrupted by dissenting views. He would take on this condescending tone as if he were explaining the basics to children hard of hearing or dunces who needed careful explanation to understand the subtle nuances of the subject in question. Sometimes you convince yourself that the good far outweighs the bad character traits in someone. Yet I was madly in love with this man determined to talk me down in public and who often dismissed my carefully offered counsel until another party whose opinion he valued more agreed with what I had said.
This guy didn’t see me, wait…actually he did see me but he refused to acknowledge me. His close friend who was almost always with us (in fact it felt like he was the mediator-cum-glue that kept us together and through which our arguments were resolved) paid much more attention to my thoughts. No shade, just someone who appreciated me for the unique person I am. It’s through this guy’s observation that I realized that I heard music in a different way. While everyone sang along to the lyrics, my ear was attuned to the subtle sounds in the distant background (sounds content to be in the back and showing themselves to those who can hear). In fact, he openly sought my opinion even after Mr. Know-it-all had adjourned the meeting following his always long winded and painfully obvious points. Sometimes I’d let his snide remarks slide, but other times, when he was being downright rude I would impatiently hurry him along and “get to the point” so that we also could put in our two cents worth. I challenged him not to prove a point, but because he can’t just assume that we’re all mindless dunderheads who need to be thought for. No. We can think.
His friend was a pillar so to speak, my ally and my co-captive. We were both captivated by this charming guy whose childlike need for us and fear of being left alone kept us at his beck and call, but whose razor sharp cunning always resulted in self flagellation. We always found ourselves in the position of having to apologize (for what we knew not) to cajole a grown man out of pouting sulkiness. People who drain you are so good at going unnoticed until you’re almost completely empty, with nothing left to give.
When the relationship came to a decided end (on my part having come to my senses, and on his having found the perfect combination of superficial and shallow eagerness for only parties, drinking and celebrity aspiration in a half naked floozy…the lout) for a brief while, the friendships continued. After a while, it seemed like people had to make choices on which side of no-mans land they would fall. Silly of me to think that his friend would choose to remain friends with me who didn’t judge him for being out of work at that stage of his life, but respected him anyway and tried to hook him up with jobs. After all, I treated him like the man he was despite his temporary circumstance while his childhood friend made him the butt of every joke. I’m so glad I rid myself of such toxicity, but I must admit I miss my friend.
I wonder if it’s really necessary that when romantic relations which had expanded into a somewhat close community with those you both love ends, that all the resultant relationships should be held hostage, suspended or terminated? It seems a shame that the baby gets thrown out with the bath water. Why can’t we adjust our relationships accordingly and continue them even after the cause for our effect has left? I shudder to think what this guy has become in the uninterrupted influence of Mr. Know-it-all, but then again I don’t care much because a grown man should be able to choose his own friends regardless of what anyone thinks. So he crosses my mind today, and I wonder if there’s any hope of resurrecting that lifeless body which used to be called our friendship.