The sign on the community pool clearly indicated that the pool was closed, and the gate was locked, but that didn’t stop my friend from scaling the fence and jumping in. Our other friend hesitated only briefly before joining her, and I stood by in disbelief.
It was day one of our girls’ getaway, and as I had signed on for the rented condo, I felt the weight of responsibility close in around me. I turned and walked back towards our unit, listening as the hollers of my fellow travellers echoed through the resort. Regret flooded me. How did I ever think this would work out?
Friend #1, whom I’d known since childhood, was more of a sister to me. An extreme extrovert, with a tongue that could win medals for speed, made her the life of any party. Friend #2, a colleague of mine and longtime neighbour of #1, was quietly confident, and not averse to having a good time. I, a non-drinker, had been struggling with my health for sometime, and while I enjoyed company and good conversation, I preferred quiet, intimate settings.
“I think this vacation is a mistake,” I told my husband in muffled voice the next morning while waiting for the other two to wake up.
“Well, come on home if it’s not working out,” he suggested.
Except, I had been the one to drive, so leaving meant stranding them, and I couldn’t do that. I decided to the make the best of it: be the designated driver, and hopefully, get in some sightseeing.
The fighting between #1 and I started the moment she woke up and announced that she hoped I wasn’t going to be a stick-in-the-mud all week. I countered that she had a drinking problem, and tempers flared out of control. (Told you we were like sisters.)
As the week progressed, and my stomach turned into a ball of fiery pain, the rupture in our friendship deepened. I vowed that it was over.
“Let’s go for lunch and talk about it,” #1 said weeks later. “I can’t bear not having you in my life.”
I acquiesced. We agreed never to go away together again. We vowed to resume the friendship.
Maybe I was too uptight, I cajoled myself. We have been friends for a long time, after all.
“She really does have a good heart,” my husband and I agreed.
And then I got sick. Really sick. So sick that I could no longer leave my bed, or even talk with her on the phone.
“Let me know when you can come out again,” she said once during a brief conversation. And another time: “Are you better? When are you going back to work?” And then, more recently: “I’ve talked it over with others, and we agree you should be working now.”
I haven’t seen her in over a year. She has no idea what my day-to-day living looks like.
“You don’t need toxic people like her in your life,” my health-care aide once said to me, overhearing our conversation. “You need encouragement and understanding.”
I am a dog when it comes to loyalty. It is hard for me to recognize if a relationship is healthy or abusive. I am not good at setting boundaries.
We have been home for a bit, and I have not called #1. I am thinking that I might not bother. It is causing me grief.
What would you do?