Friend or Foe?

I sat there, in my parents’ front room, home from college for the weekend with my phone in my hand.  This was the night that I was going to break up with my girlfriend of almost 4 years.  I was going to do it over the phone.

Cowardly?  Kind of.  And if I had thought that there was any other way to do it quickly and cleanly, with both parties acting like the little adults that we were, I would have.  But there wasn’t.

We had gone to different colleges, about 3 hours away; a long distance relationship between two people in the midst of defining themselves and taking steps through the archway of adulthood.  We ran up phone bills, we sent emails all the time and we visited as often as we could.  But as I got to know more people at school and started talking about relationships and began to come out of my shell, I realized that my girlfriend was abnormally jealous (unless you count Fatal Attraction as normal levels of jealousy), suspicious of everyone and everything around me, demanding, and harsh.  I didn’t need it.

After the call, I cleaned out my emails and found several notes from her that, in hindsight, should have thrown huge, screaming red flags right away.  Most notably, I distinctly remember one that instructed me that I was to write at least one email of no less than 500 words every day.   There was no end date listed.

I had known it was time to end it for quite a while, but I lacked the reason as well as the balls to do it flat out.  Then she mentioned that she had started talking to Andy quite a bit.  He had been in our graduation class and she had worked with him over the previous summer during vacation.  Now, she was chatting with him frequently and he was planning to “come up for a visit.”  I said fine.  I’m a trusting guy, but I knew where this was going once a few beers were dispensed.  Beers were and it did. It fell into a plan to get out of the relationship without all the blame falling one me for just cutting it out of no where.  When people would ask if we were still together, I could say No and wait for the inevitable “Oh. What happened?” and then I could relay my short story about trying to make it work, it being too difficult and, oh yeah, she played hide-the-bratwurst with someone else.  I wasn’t the bad person here, she was.  It was an easy out.

I would innocently ask how the visit went, then she would inevitably tell me that something had happened with Andy.  I asked.  She told.  I became faux-furious, secretly smiling behind the mouthpiece as I pretended to be both shocked and hurt.  She still tried to place the blame on me somehow and reasoned that we could work it out.  Not a chance.

I felt relieved as I hung up the phone, then went in to watch TV with the folks.  I could have waited to do it in person, but that would have meant a big scene, a long drive and a possible physical altercation (seriously).  I wanted to avoid these and move on.

She and Andy stayed together and even got married.  I saw them in our hometown a few years later at my sister’s high school graduation from across the auditorium.  She and Andy had each put on at least 75 pounds.  We didn’t talk, but we each saw the other.  Shortly afterward, Andy learned that he had testicular cancer, had surgery and a little while later, she left him for one reason or another.  I never really kept up and I don’t care.

So, why am I rehashing this little tale?  Well, last night, I logged onto Facebook to find a friend request from Andy.  I was shocked!  Here was a man who had inadvertently done me one of the biggest favors of my life by sleeping with my girlfriend.  I think my exact words of appreciation and welcome for the opportunity to catch up were, “Fuck you, Andy! I’m not your goddamn friend!  Ignore.” 

I truly wish that Facebook had an option to include a note with the Ignore selection.  It would be both petty and satisfying to send the person a reason why you want absolutely no connection with them.  Some would argue that carrying a grudge is unhealthy.  That may be, but I believe that there is a certain benefit to having enemies.  I think it drives us forward to have a challenge, to have someone whom we need to be better than.  Personally, I have very few enemies, but I’m always on the lookout for more.  Mainly, I have nemesis’, but a couple have made the leap to the level of arch enemies.  You need to know that there is a difference.  Some are professional like Tyler from a competitor’s marketing department and Chen from communications.  The most satisfying, however, are personal.  Real enemies don’t go away once you leave work.  They give you something to work toward.  Enemies like Zach from a previous band and Krider Racing get into where you live, the things you like doing and they force you to be better if, for no other reason, than to destroy them on even ground. 

Welcome aboard, Andy!  I had actually forgotten about you for the most part, but now I hate you again.  I was tempted to add you as a friend and look at your profile to see what kind of shamble your life has become before unfriending you.  But in all actuality, you aren’t that important to me.  I’m past that time in my life.  I’m a different person now.  But I can still add you to enemybook.

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