A friend indeed

by Kate

I just wrote this haiku:

what is there to say?
you were my worst decision,
and i hope you’re well.

…in response to the stubborn continued existence of someone with whom I share mutual friends on Facebook.  Someone I used to know, but don’t know anymore.  The “who” in the answer to “what is the worst thing you’ve ever done?”  Every now and then– more often, recently– I think of this person.  And I want to say something, but I don’t know what to say.

A few months before The Worst Thing I Ever Did, I wrote this (rather embarrassing) poem:

I will break open wide
and spill all of this nonsensical poetry
i’m keeping in here

if you were to merely beckon
or
touch me soft like that again
I know I would

for all the promises
oh i never
I couldn’t, I am not
that kind of girl
[anymore]

I know that you would merely have to touch me
soft, like that
[please]

again

I would spill

That’s how hung-up I was.  Hung up enough to eschew the common parenthesis for the more angular, distinctive bracket.  Such was my longing.  And this is all just a long way of getting to The Worst Thing I Ever Did, which is:

When I was 20, I slept with my friend’s boyfriend.

There are mitigating circumstances, and they are these:

  1. He was 33, and should have known better.
  2. I was obviously and obsessively infatuated with him, and he should have known better
  3. I was high on LSD, and so was he

But on the other hand:

  1. I was 20, and should have known better
  2. It’s not like it “just happened.”  I’d been infatuated for months, and I did, in fact, know better.
  3. I went to his house and took LSD knowingly and willingly and with the idea that something might occur.

I was no innocent, is what I’m saying.  I don’t know if he saw it coming or not, but he would have been an idiot not to.  I, in my complete lack of defense, saw it coming a week off and even postponed our evening together because I was having second thoughts.  I didn’t know if he wanted me, but I knew that I wanted him, and that if the opportunity arose to have sex with him, I’d do it.

I’m sure I didn’t think of it so crassly.  It wasn’t crass sex, either.  Certainly not gentle lovemaking, but it wasn’t heartless lust-fucking either.  We did genuinely care about one another.  There was love there– fucked-up love between fucked-up friends, but love nonetheless.  And if you can take that one night out of the context of cheating and just see if for what it was, damn it, it was sweet and it was grand and it was a long time coming.

But you can’t take it out of that context.  And I was no innocent, but she, the friend/girlfriend, she was.  Innocent.  And sweet.  And undeserving of the wretched sort of person she had for a friend in me.  I didn’t just betray her, no.  I didn’t even have the audacity to lie.  I didn’t have to.  She knew, she knew, of course she knew.  And she didn’t want to know, so for the next seven months she talked to me about how she had suspicions, she had fears, she felt that something had happened.  We’d have long, long conversations on the phone and she would talk and cry about how she suspected something must have happened that night, but she never once asked.  And so I never had to lie, and damn it, I never did.

Of course, I told her eventually.  And eventually she even forgave me.  But I have never forgiven myself.  And it’s been nine years, and sometimes I look him up on Facebook.  I look at his picture because he looks exactly the same and I wish I had something to say.  It seems like I should have something to say other than wanting to blame him.  Because the shame of what we did almost killed me.  It really did.  I was so horrified with what I’d done that I tried to kill myself, maybe not very effectively, but sincerely and more than once.  And still, nine years later, I want to blame him.  But I also want to say, hey, I hope you’re well.  You look exactly the same.  Thanks for introducing me to some really good bands, letting me smoke pot and do acid and drink to excess in a safe place, for being my friend, for inviting me into your bed even though it was the worst decision I ever made.

We can’t change the past, after all.  What would be the point of regretting it?  I wanted it so badly by the time it finally happened, that if it hadn’t happened I might very well have exploded.  What I regret, if anything, is not saying something to my friend.  Not telling her, hey, I’m madly in love with your boyfriend and it’s eating me up inside.  I didn’t say anything because I was embarrassed, and because I was holding out hope that exactly what did happen would– he would, even for one night, choose me over her.  The exact thing I’d been hoping since the day I’d met him.

And I’m still pissed off at both of us that he did.

A friend in need’s a friend indeed
A friend with weed is better
A friend with breasts and all the rest
A friend who’s dressed in leather…

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