An Ode to Monkeys
Just under eighteen years ago, I was a very different person.
I was nineteen, pretty stupid, brash, trying to take on a world I did not understand with a head full of what I thought were good ideas and a heart that, although true, was influenced more by hormones than experience. I traveled two thousand miles on a half promise from someone who made a lot of promises, many of which were just to impress, not with the intent to actually keep.
In other words, I had thrown my lot in to some bad situations.
Into the midst of this mess, I found myself in desperate need of some real friends. I found a few. One in particular helped me through that period, a good man, and odd man, a kindred spirit, someone I relied on who grew with me and, when I returned home a bit worn and wiser, tracked me down and continued our friendship.
As I said, a very good person at the time.
He was slightly bitter and cynical towards the world, and with good reasons to be. I helped him find work for the company that I had found work with, let him live in our home, in the nursery we had started to build for my unborn child, helped find a sitter for his step daughter while he worked with me, went to bat for him with that sitter when he absent mindedly hemmed and hawed about finding a way to pay her back for the service of watching her day after day. When the time came to move his family complete here, I helped shuttle his belongings here, helped his new wife, pregnant with their child, find a good OB-GYN here. I was a good friend to him, as good a friend to him as he was to me. I enjoyed his tiki birthday party his wife so lovingly put together. I watched him be kind of a pain in the ass to her from time to time, but I knew he loved her. Being a tech guy, I knew what kind of pressures he was under, and what kinds of quirks of personalities he had, as I had them myself.
I shook my head as he was so excited about one thing or another, like a kid in a candy store. For months he would talk about nothing else, then move on to the next thing as if the previous thing had never existed.
When he had a grand plan to take over the company we both worked for, I listened. Sounded good. He was a bright guy, and it sounded like he could pull it off.
Two weeks later, after the boss fired everyone involved (except for the one guy my friend had included in the plan who went straight to the boss with the information) and my friend was able to swing some piece work from that boss, I did not begrudge him. I had other irons in the fire.
When my marriage came unraveled, my friend and his wife were my strong and vocal supporters, even setting me up on a date with on of his wife’s coworkers, helping me through some of the hardest parts of the process.
The beginning of the end happened only five years after we met, even though the end happened ten years later. I had started dating a woman in Ohio, and was anxious for my friend to meet her. I had grown to be friends with the wife of the lawyer who had handled my divorce, a woman half his age, full of energy and who liked to hang out at all hours of the day or night and drink coffee and talk, much as I did at the time. So, deeply enamored by my love from Ohio, I invited them both to Denny’s to meet her. She had to head back to Ohio at midnight, so I thought we would call it a night at that point.
My two friends did not do so. In fact, that was the beginning of their affair.
Soon, the two of them were sneaking off to be together quite frequently, with me being the unwilling confidant to the whole thing. As I was friends not only with the two of them, but with both spouses as well, I ended up in a very uncomfortable position. It all came crashing down a few weeks later, while I was in Ohio with my lady love. The wife of my friend discovered the affair, and demanded that I be the one to inform the female half’s husband. As if the whole thing were somehow my fault and responsibility. She ranted and raged at me until I finally cut the connection to her, and I gave him enough information for him to figure it out on his own.
The whole thing imploded (including, eventually, my relationship with Miss Ohio, albeit for other reasons). And, of course, nearly everyone blamed me. My friend’s wife blamed me because I knew about it. My female friend blamed me because I “told on them”. My friend, I think, blamed me for a similar reason. He almost came to blows with my lawyer in my lawyer’s house (Bad idea, by the way). Everyone got divorced.
And now we come to my big mistake.
During the whole kerfuffle, my friend’s now estranged wife called me, distraught about the whole thing, nearly in tears, and asked me to chaperon while she went out looking to pick up a guy at a bar. I told her I thought it was a horribly bad idea for her to do that, considering they were in the middle of the divorce, and that she was in an emotionally fragile state, and it would just complicate things, and that I didn’t feel comfortable doing that to my friend in the first place. It was bad enough that he was cheating on her, I could not in any good conscience help her, in turn, cheat on him. She convinced me that I could help her from going too far, that she just needed some companionship maybe just needed to go out and be an adult for a while. I finally agreed, more determined to save her from herself than to help her get lucky.
Before you continue, dear reader, know that the contents that lie herein are now ten years in the past, are difficult for me to write, as they detail a betrayal I committed and am ashamed of. I have left all names off of this document and will not allow any comments that include any names to be published. The only reason I write these words at all is to clear my conscience, as a way to atone for my wrong doings to an extent. I am not looking for forgiveness from any of those involved, merely understanding.
That having been said, I shall continue.
She had borrowed her boss’s BMW for the evening, was dressed for an evening on the prowl. I was dressed well, but understated, trying not to steal the show. I am rather tall, and, at the time, it was well before any of my Multiple Sclerosis had begun to manifest itself, so I was not even using a cane yet.
We went to a local bar, where we sat for several hours and chatted. I must say, I have never picked anyone up in a bar, or even made the attempt, but I do know that only talking with one’s chaperon is not the way to do it. We each had a single beer, and were willing to call it a night, a rather unsuccessful one, at around midnight.
As we drove, she asked if I wanted to see her new apartment. She had moved to a small bedroom community north of Indianapolis during the divorce, leaving the shared apartment to my friend. She had only gotten the keys earlier in the day, so there wasn’t even any furniture in yet, so I shrugged and agreed. We drove about forty five minutes north, and she pulled into a nice apartment complex. The apartment was a two bedroom. Her kids would probably have to share (she had a daughter and a toddler son with my friend).
“Well, I can take you home, unless…”
“Nevermind.” she said.
“I Went out tonight because I am lonely and have missed the touch of another person. Would you… touch me?”
At this point, dear reader, or probably much earlier, I should have seen the warning signs, said no, called a halt. But, bear in mind several things. First, I was in my mid twenties, and still under the influence of my hormones quite a bit. Second, she was quite a lovely woman. Even so, I should have known better. Not only was she my best friend’s estranged wife, but I knew from observation that she was bad news. I have a rule about doing anything physical with anyone with whom doing something physical would be a really bad idea. So, not only was I about to break societal convention and the trust of a friend, I was about to break my own rules.
I will not go into gristly details, but I will say nothing below my waist was involved at any time.
The next day, she called my friend and told him everything, and he called me. We had quite a row, and I profusely apologized. I realized at that point that the whole thing had been a ruse. She had used me to get back at him for cheating on her.
From that point onward, I refused to have anything to do with her. She tried to probe me for information about him and his whereabouts, especially when he and his love left town, but I refused to give up any information. Pissed, she has refused to talk to me to this day.
Oddly, the only person I am still in contact with is my friend the lawyer (even including the woman in Ohio). I suppose it is a measure of maturity. I have theories about each of those involved, but, I’ll keep those to myself.
Yes, I was in the wrong, and I did something very wrong. I thought that the situation had been resolved between me and my friend at the time. Apparently, I was wrong. Continued tomorrow.