12 years... and I'm still angry
...is 12 years long enough to hold a grudge? What about one that you didn't realize that you still had? Actually, I'm not even sure if it's a grudge, but more like long-stifled simmering anger.
A good friend is holding a barbeque in a few weeks, and she informed me via IM that she was going to go get some Super-Soakers so that we could have something like the good ole times way back when. It's an in-joke with me and a few others, Super-Soakers armed and hanging out the sunroof of an old VW Jetta. Come to find that this friend is telling me this because one of that crowd is going to be present at the BBQ.
And all the hurt came back in that one instant. And I did not handle it well at all.
Apparently my BBQ organizing buddy (let's call her S) didn't know that this other person (let's call her J) and I weren't on speaking terms and haven't been for 12 years. In fact, it was 12 years exactly just a couple of weeks ago. On April Fools Day no less.
You see, J and I lived together, along with 4 others, for a year. And we got along reasonably well until for some unexplainable reason she just stopped talking to me and my SIL (who wasn't my SIL at the time, but a good friend, room sharing individual and sister of my fiancee, and we're going to call her A). There would be a few words here and there, but for the most part, we were ignored. This didn't baffle me as much, as it seemed like it was the beginning of an alienation of sorts, but it certainly confused A because she and J were such good friends for years. Almost 4 years, to be exact.
We tried and tried to talk to her, multiple times, to understand what might be bothering her but she had shut us off completely - not even a smile or returning a greeting in the mornings. The only thing that stilled my efforts was that J didn't like to confide in people when she's upset, but to work things out herself. You see, she was a psychology major - they're often their own worst patients. A often confided in J because of her major, because she was an understanding person and they often joked that A would end up being J's graduate thesis.
Well, one night J finally consented to talk to us. She sat in our room and said she would do all the talking, although we had requested this meeting. She warned us that she may raise her voice, yell, and not be "sweet little J" (her words), and then it began. The rapid, direct and precise assassination of our character. She started with the fact that we were a great mental drain on her, and she had figured out that her depression was directly correlating to our presence around her (we went away for a weekend to go home, and her spirits lifted, and that was her scientific basis for this). After this she started itemizing faults - A is too clingy, sighs too much, is too negative and depressing. But when A is happy, she's too cutesy-wootsy happy, but you can count on that not lasting long and she's right back to the low.
I just about threw a Kleenex box at A because her chin was quivering so much. It's hard to watch someone you care about have one of thier closest confidents rip them to shreds in front of you. Of course, I wasn't in great shape myself - I was visibly shaking, and she hadn't gotten to me yet. When she did, she didn't tell me anything new about the me I was then: cynical, sarcastic, pessimistic. Then came the ones that were the whap upside the head - self-centered, egocentric, loud, generally unpleasant to be around, self-righteous, foul-mouthed and that I was the worst bitch she had ever met in her life. Oh, and the most negative person she'd ever met other than A. Oh, and that she just couldn't understand why R (a.k.a. DH) could be interested in someone as shallow and unpleasant as I and that it wouldn't possibly last. I found this greatly interesting, after all that I had done to work through a living situation that started out in hell, for all the things that I'd ever done for my friends, for all the times I was someone's shoulder and offering advice and taking care of folks when they weren't feeling well, because I was one of the people that you came to when things were going down the toilet, and I'd find a way to perk you up and make you forget your troubles while still giving you some advice as to how to handle them.
And I'm self-righteous, selfish, and unpleasant. Oh. Kaaaaay.
I reacted the best way I could. I smiled and said Thank You so much for that, and have you noticed the stress that we've *all* been under lately and that she, of all people, knew how that can crash the most stable saintly personality? That's when she zeroed in on her idea that I only focus on my own problems and when I do exhibit care about someone else's issues its to say that I understand and am completely phony about it.
After all of that, she said she'd allow us 5 minutes to respond to her statements and then be done with it all. Oh. How. Generous. I don't recall what A had to say - I think she let me do most of the speaking for the both of us and I fired back with J's own flaws (I recall calling her Saint J sarcastically at the time), the changes she had made, and that not everyone can be Miss Mary Sunshine all the time - or have the energy to put up that kind of front all the time either. She wrote off anything that we had to say to her and then walked out and avoided us whenever possible. Example: you're in the bathroom brushing your teeth - she would go and brush hers in the kitchen sink - she'd moved all her toiletries out of the bathroom and was already cooking her own meals in the common kitchen (where we had shared food and cooking duties previously). *sigh*
I know what you're thinking - let it go Whiz. Right? I thought I had. She was the farthest thing from my mind until S brought it up. And there I was back in 1993, nearing the end of my senior year and trying to pull together a senior project, working 50 hours a week, and find a job and a place to live as soon as graduation day arrived. All the stress, and all the pain and all the confusion just came crashing down. As I said, I didn't handle it well - I let S know that if J came near me, I'd either rip her apart or walk away without a word.
She asked me not to do that (the rip her apart part) and I agreed that that would not be good. I'm a grown-up and I should know better and it should have been let go long ago. But I'm still angry. The BBQ is in 3 more weeks - I have 3 weeks to let the anger go, or hope that I don't run into her. Or just put on my best business face and politely put up with her for however long she's there - because S says she's leaving town that day and shouldn't be there for very long. I'm sure I've already been childish enough about this by putting this all out here, and the fact that I'm still angry over it all after all this time. I think I'm more angry about the hurt she put on A, as opposed to what she did to me - because she *knew* this would destroy A and she *knew* that I would have to pick up the pieces. And I did. For *days* afterward because A would pass her in the very small hallway and come into our room, close the door and cry buckets.
Considering that A and I don't talk anymore other than in family settings - that's a whole nother story in and of itself - I won't be mentioning this to her. And if J decides she wants to act like nothing happened, I don't know what I'll react like to be honest with you. Personally I'd like to tell her to shove it and then come talk to me after she's apologized profusely to A for what she did to her.
I don't have a witty ending with an ellipse like I usually do. This is just a run of the mill venting.