Friday, May 02, 2008

I'm friends with her ex

Bird and I went downtown yesterday. We went to close a safety deposit box, to vote early, and to go up to the floor where my old office is and visit people. He was a big hit, of course, and I got to eat lunch with a friend who I see far too infrequently.

My friend and her husband have been talking about selling their house and moving closer into the city. They have been talking about this for years, actually. I asked her how the house hunt was going and she had a story to tell me.

They had been to an open house in the neighborhood of a couple who my ex and I went to church with. Turns out, Ann was at the open house with her two boys and recognized my friend. At first, they couldn't place where they knew each other from, but finally figured out that it was through parties at my old house when I was married previously.

My friend mentioned to Ann that I had just had a little boy.

At this point, it would be interesting to note that when I was married to my ex, I spent more time with Ann and her husband than my ex. I was the one that Ann called franticly one night needing to meet and cry out her pregnancy hormones over her husband to someone. I was the one who taught Sunday School with Ann. I was the one they could count on to be there for them. My ex, as always, was the comic relief.

So, my friend mentioned to Ann that I had just had a little boy. She replies to this fact that she didn't know that, but that they were friends with my ex. That was sort of a conversation ender.

Ann was the one I called when the first adoption possibility fell through. It was her kitchen table that I sat at and wept. She was the one I turned to when I first split with my ex.

I knew that she and her husband had chosen him over me a long time ago. After I met her and told her the news, I didn't hear from her again for awhile. My phone calls weren't returned, and I honestly was too busy and too stressed out to think about why.

When we finally got together several months later, I learned the answer. She and her husband had become my ex's new caretakers. Over dinner, she told me that I didn't need to worry about him. They had helped him get his life together and he had a solid plan to move forward.

I sat across from her with food, unchewed, clogging my mouth. Which is better than the alternative spewing that could have easily occurred.

After I chewed and swallowed, I put my fork down, placed my napkin on the table, and I said,

"Congratulations. You have accomplished something with him that I tried for 10 years to do. Why don't you get back to me in a year and let me know how far he's progressed on your little plan."

Then I asked for the check. While we waited, I told her that I was with someone and really happy. She wanted to know if I still wanted to have kids. I told her that I most certainly did. Then she said that she really wanted to see me pregnant because she just knew I would hate it like she did.

Time and time again, I look back on the choices I made for friends before I met Guy.

All I can say is that my self-esteem must have sucked complete donkey balls.

I mean really? Who says those kinds of things to someone who has been to the line for you? Someone who called you a friend?

There were casualties of friendships after my divorce. I'm not sorry about it, because they were friendships that obviously needed to end anyway. The ones that thrived on the part of me who never thought I deserved to be loved.

But some days, sometimes, it just stings when I hear that someone like Ann couldn't even be happy for me and my child. I thought that we had been friends. I trusted her enough to share the down and dirty part of adoption with her, and now that I finally am a mother?

She's friends with my ex.

Congratulations, Ann. It doesn't take a lot of effort to be friends with someone who so easily makes you feel better about yourself. That's the comic part.

You like him out of part pity, part relief that he isn't your husband. I know this, and I forgive you because it's sad that you need that in your life. I hope that one day you are happy enough to not need that crutch anymore.

In the meantime, I guess I can be glad that she has made me even more thankful for the couple of friends who stood by me and the new friends I have made.

Or I could quit trying to find a damn silver lining for everything and just allow myself to be sad about it for a little while. That's probably not a bad idea.