Let me first say this post is not about me. I care about the person involved, and we’ve been together as friends since I moved into her apartment as of July 21, 1994. (Don’t ask me why I know the date; just know I have some “Rainman” talents, and remembering ridiculous things, and we’ve been friends for 26 years).
We survived an explosion involving a fire which shattered our lives for a time in 1996 through 1998, but we’ve always had each other’s backs regardless of whether or not we agreed with each other’s choices.
After I moved in with the Roomie (forever her nickname for blogging purposes), I learned horrific things about her upbringing that broke my heart. Abused by her Mother (fingers on the stove to teach her not to touch, is just one repeatable offense); valued only for her appearance, she was a very popular young woman who dated professional athletes. Tall and willowy, her appearance was everything I ever wanted, but which my short, round, brunette body would never be.
I tell you all that to tell you this: our initial interview came at a time of challenge in both of our lives. We were dancing around why her former roommate moved out (I later found out he was a repulsive little snake of a man, and physically abusive to her), and we talked about the fact that I didn’t date (at that time) and would be always underfoot.
We later found out a lot more about each other and which topics were too tender for initial discussion, but we thought we could tolerate each other enough to try to be roommates.
The first night I moved in, it started off with a bang. She was out, and a weaselly little man came to our apartment with McDonald’s in his hand, pushing his way in, because Roomie was expecting him and on her way home from wherever.
Clueless. Nonplussed. I was stupid and let him in. A stranger. Within moments, I realized that the barfly boyfriend was drunk off his butt, and I wanted him out of the apartment. Raised as the daughter of a functional alcoholic, I may be slow on the uptake, but the minute I realize you are drunk and angry or drunk and a bully, you are on your way out.
He scared me, and while I don’t remember much beyond the anger in his eyes as he threatened me when I promised to call the cops on him if he drove away drunk, I got him out of the house.
Thereafter, I hit the hardware store to buy peepholes and installed them into the front and back doors. I went to bed with a note to the roommate about kicking out her boyfriend on my first night there, and a request to talk in the morning.
It’s amazing that the roommate situation survived, but it did, and I later found out that she spent many nights at the bar around the corner, as she liked to socialize.
I have had bar owners in the family, and many relatives have worked in bars, so I’m not anti-alcohol. I am anti lacking self control. I am anti meanness. I love the fun atmosphere in a happy bar, and I stay away from dives where bar flies hang out, existing only to drown their sorrows.
I joined the Roomie’s preferred social life when the local utility company blew up our apartment complex, leaving us with nowhere to go as we tried to rebuild our lives.
You will recall, if you’re older, that most people carried around a brick-like satellite cell phone for which they paid almost $5k to acquire in 1992 or shortly thereafter, and which cost an average of $1 a minute to use.
We were not those kinds of spenders, and I’ve never been one to keep up with the Joneses, so the bar was a safe place to hang out while being reachable via the wall phone. For three (3) weeks, I was virtually homeless, with no safe place to hang out. The bar was welcoming, had a bathroom, and better than hiding in my car while waiting for a new apartment to become available..
I tell you all that to tell you this: the Roommate’s Frenemy was a user on the edges of my life, and I never really noticed her until those 3 weeks I spent in the bar.
At that point, 1995 had been horrendous for the Roomie (September, broke up with another cheating boyfriend, this one stolen by the Frenemy; November, the Roomie had a tumor removed that partially paralyzed her face; Frenemy was making scenes, demanding to be forgiven; the Roomie’s Grandmother died around Thanksgiving; and our home blew up at the end of January). So, here it was February, and here we were stuck in the local bar, Frenemy was the bartender, and verbal abuse from the very unhappy Frenemy was the icing on the cake. The Roomie and the Frenemy made up over the boyfriend theft, and it was none of my business.
Flash forward, the Frenemy is in and out of the Roomie’s life, always doing something mean and belittling to get kicked to the curb, and always managing to worm her way back in.
The last time the Frenemy showed up was when her husband was dying of tongue cancer. The Roomie has a soft heart, and the Frenemy moved into an apartment nearby, so that she could have help with her dying husband, as she was in the apartment almost every day. Not. My. Business. But…
The friendship ended, again, due to toxicity, and then was revived again when someone they both knew passed away unexpectedly.
Shortly thereafter, maybe 2009 or 2010, the Roomie had inherited a bunch of money from the passing of her Grandfather and her abusive Mother, and Frenemy – who was living more than two (2) hours away in a property owned by her son – was back in the Roomie’s life, spending the Roomie’s money like water. Sad, but not my business.
Almost immediately, the Roomie’s drinking increased to include 3-6 shots of tequila or vodka at home, any time the Frenemy dropped in, and that’s in addition to the 2-4 glasses of Chardonnay. Sad.
Something happened to break up their friendship, again, and I hoped Roomie would get the drinking under control now that the barfly Frenemy was gone. No such luck.
Fast forward to 2020, and the Frenemy is back in her life and continuing her bullying ways. The Roomie is supposed to drive to Turlock this weekend to see the house the Frenemy has bought herself now that her own father has passed away, and I’m sad. The Roomie is driving 100 miles and 2.5 hours away to spend the weekend with this vicious, unhappy woman. Being able to shed the emotional ties to an abuser is one of the hardest things a person goes through.
I only found out about it last night, when I became aware that the Roomie wasn’t telling me about where she was going for the weekend, but want me to check on her cat.
To say I wasn’t happy about the Frenemy re-entering her life is an understatement, but… It’s. Not. My. Business.
The Roomie is at a particularly low point in her life, working less than 20 hours a week due to the Pandemic, afraid of what the future holds, and dreading change while self-sabotaging. Heartbreakingly sad, as only the Roomie can do the necessary hard work to deal with her fears and get onto more stable footing.
Much as it pains me to see that unhealthy relationship rear it’s ugly head. I’ve said my piece, and I know that I’d be kicking this woman to the curb, but… It’s. Not. My. Business. Sad, but true.