Actually, I've always been nice. Maybe a little bratty, or a touch narcissistic, but nice. Back in my drinkin' days, one could accuse me of being downright selfish, and that wouldn't be far off base. I had a tendency to flake on plans at the last minute if something better presented itself, or flat-out fail to show up for commitments altogether if I was tying one on - I was all about me, and I was all about having a good time. As for the narcissism, it's plagued by insecurity. The drinking brought out my egomania, but I still suffered from an inferiority complex. Not to completely psychoanalyze myself, but this probably explains why it was so easy for me to justify stealing my best friend's boyfriend.
TO BE FAIR, he wasn't technically her boyfriend… but she was definitely interested in him. Like, a lot. I am fully aware (now) this makes me a total asshole. In my defense, I was fresh off the heels of a shitty break-up with an abusive dick and had just moved back home to get away from him, so I thought, "I deserve some happiness." I realize (now) no amount of happiness is justifiable if it comes at the expense of anyone else. But at the time, I was still actively participating in an "all about me" philosophy.
Here's how I broke the news to her: I invited her over for a heart-to-heart… the sensitivity around the subject of stealing someone's love interest deserves to be handled in person. I mean, that's the classy thing to do. I sat her down, and the following conversation ensued:
Me: "We've been best friends so long I feel like we're more like sisters than friends."
Her: "Me, too."
Me: "And you know I value love above all else."
Me: "And true love is so rare… It's so hard to find, wouldn't you agree?"
Me: "So when you find it, when you really find something true, you need to hold on to it at all costs, because it's just so rare."
Her: "I agree."
Me: "Great! I'm so happy you feel that way, because I met someone, and I've never felt this strongly about anyone before!"
Her: "Oh my God!!! I'm so happy for you! Who is he!?"
Her: "Just like my Steve!"
Me: "Right… It is."
Her: "It's my Steve?"
Me: "Yes. I'm so sorry, but we're in love…"
You can imagine how the rest of that conversation went.
Thus began my relationship with "Steve." It was tainted from Jump Street, but I had the blinders on while I was driving the bulldozer. I was in love. His heart was also on the mend after a recent break-up, and we bonded while consoling each other. He was tall, and goofy, and got my weird sense of humor, and went along with my spontaneity, (after a night partying we thought gambling sounded fun, so we hopped in my Jetta and set out on a three and a half hour drive to South Lake Tahoe… at 2 a.m., in winter).
Tangent: He dropped his wallet on the side of the road when he pulled over to urinate somewhere over the pass, and we didn't notice it was missing until we got to the casino. So we had to get back in the car, retrace our steps down the hill for over an hour, find his wallet, then drive back up to the Lake. No buzz from booze lasts long enough to entertain that kind of detour. Road trips sound like a great idea when you're drunk, but they lose something when you come-to in a completely different geographic, with nothing to wear but a hangover.
But we were soul mates. We had to be, cuz I just lost my best friend over this guy.
Anyway, "Stretch" didn't have a job. Did I fail to mention that? For a long time I dated a string of men I ended up supporting, cuz it made me feel better about myself or something? I don't know. But he promised me he was looking. In fact, he was "gonna hit the pavement and really get after it," and had even asked to borrow his neighbors car so he could "check out some leads." Did I also fail to mention he didn't have a car? But I digress. I kissed him goodnight and said I'd stop by in the morning to wish him luck before he went out.
That night, I had a dream, nay - a prophesy - that he borrowed my car to visit his ex-girlfriend. I woke up, groggy and sick to my stomach with a sinking premonition that deceit was waiting in the wings, like a goddamn vulture, ready to gobble me up.
George Jean Nathan said: "What passes for woman's intuition is nothing more than man's transparency." (This, coming from a man who also said, "I drink to make other people interesting." So right off the bat, I know he may as well be Einstein), because guess what? My transparent ass-face of a boyfriend borrowed his neighbors car and followed a "lead" right into his ex-girlfriend's vagina. But not before borrowing $20 from me "for lunch" first. Of course I found all this out when his ex called my cell phone later that afternoon to tell me they'd been fucking the entire time we had been dating.
Wondering "why you shouldn't cheat on me" yet? Because it wasn't a month later that he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
|Meet "Mr. Testicle" - the official mascot of testicular cancer|
I'm not really so daft to think his having cancer was a direct, or indirect, result of his infidelity. If anything, this story is probably just as much about my karma as it is his. I lost my best friend AND another boyfriend, and he lost a nut and his hair… for a while. It grew back. Good thing, too, cuz he looked stupid in those bandannas, but really, I'm not bitter.
I'm going to Hell.
But before I go, let this tale serve as a warning: don't act like an asshole. Life's hard enough without ding-dongs like me making it harder.