A little back story 7/14/09
Now that I have had more than a little time to process the...situation, maybe I can come to some sort of conclusion. I had this rotten suspicion in the pit of my stomach but everyone kept telling me…no, assuring me, “Oh come on Cheese, don’t be paranoid, they’d never do that to you.” I should have known better than that, I have always trusted my gut…it's the reason I am still alive. I just knew it, no matter what they said I fucking knew it was happening behind my back.
It was the night before the big interview and I was sitting in the back of a Manhattan bar, putting down bourbon a bit too quickly. If ever there was an example of how this truly is a tale of two cities, it was that night. We were having fun, maybe...definitely too much fun for the night before an interview, but regardless, I remember the call and suddenly I was not in New York, I was stuck back in Ohio. This fucking place, dragging me back kicking and screaming. It took only a few moments, a few words, to change from having one of my best nights, to feeling completely stabbed in the back. My new friends reassured me, my girlfriend consoled me and I calmed down enough (I'm sure the bourbon helped) to enjoy the rest of the night.
The next morning I woke up slightly hung over and got dressed for my interview. I choked down the feelings of betrayal, determined not to let it show in front of the panel set to quiz me. “What would you say your greatest weakness is?” I answered their questions with calculated lies; I told them what they wanted to hear. We cried when I left for the airport, like always, but I cried not only because I was losing the one I love yet again…but because I knew I was headed back into the war zone of my life.
Wheels down, here we go again.
I don’t even remember what he said, honestly, I’m not entirely hard to convince.
“What would you say your greatest weakness is?”
“Well Mr. Interviewer, I would say my greatest weakness is the fact that I have fucked so many people over in my life. See let me explain, I have screwed quite a few in my day and while some have told me to burn in hell, a few forgave me and we are now very close. Now follow me here, see since I have been forgiven by so many people who I cared about I feel it's only fair to do the same to people that screw me. Why is that a weakness you ask?”
It’s like fucking turning your back so it’s easier to stab you.
I was drunk, surprisingly, when he apologized. He called me, wanted to make amends and even brought the bourbon. He talked about the guilt, about not sleeping and about how he knew that he was my oldest friend here. He told me he knew how wrong it was to go behind my back. I told him I wasn’t still in love with her, I was just angry he didn’t tell me. He understood, I understood. “Bros before hoes,” he told me, “bros before hoes.”
Fast forward a few months. I had been wondering for a week or two why he wasn’t returning calls or texts anymore. I thought maybe I was just hanging out with TJ and Smash too much and he resented it, maybe it was my fault. I wasn’t exactly going up to his neck of the woods to hang out anymore, yeah…it had to be my fault. To think that I actually lied awake at night worrying about my friendship with him makes me sick now. But then I suppose I haven’t told that part of the story yet, now have I?
I stood on the porch at Simon’s admiring the downtown view he paid way too much for, finishing the end of a blunt and drinking my High Life. Smash and I had been talking on the patio for a while, I had been wondering why it was just her and I out there when everyone else was inside. The generally lighthearted conversation turned in a second, I don’t know what prompted her, but she said she had something she needed to tell me but she was afraid of my reaction. Simon, TJ and Adrianna stared at the two of us through the glass patio door as I asked her. “What the fuck is going on here?”
And then she dropped it.
Only a few seconds later, Simon grabbed me and pushed me back against the wall, “Man I know you’re pissed but if you keep punching that you’re going to break it.” It wasn’t even me that he was talking to, I had lost all control and my rage totally blinded me. The blood from my fists formed two streaked imprints on the wooden siding of his apartment; I fell back into a chair. TJ told me he was sorry, they had just found out and told me as soon as they knew. I believe him. They told me they were sorry, “If we had known earlier we would have told you.”
The difference between friend and enemy became very clear as I went though one by one my friends who must have been laughing behind my back. “Dude, his best friend is not only fucking, but going out with his ex…and he has no idea. How dumb can you be?”
I let her have it; I spewed every possible wish of evil onto her. I told her I hope she died; I hoped her whole family died but I left him alone. I didn’t know what to say. After a few days to think about it I realized I wasn’t upset with her, sure knowing would have been nice but she knows me and how I would have reacted. If I was her, I wouldn’t have told me either.
But him…that is a whole other story.
He didn’t say anything for a week, but at some point waiting him out got to be too much. I sent a text reading quite simply, “You are not a man, grow a pair of balls and admit it to me.” He didn’t respond for more than a day. When he did it was half assed, “It’s a shitty situation and I don’t know what to do. I know it’s fucked up man and I’m sorry.” For the first time in my life I knew what to say back immediately.
“I don’t care, do whatever you want. You are as good as dead to me.”
And that is how you erase six years in one sentence. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, you don’t exist.