I had moved to a new city. I was unemployed, divorced, and so depressed. I had just moved in which a childhood friend and was trying to scour the scraps of my life, to see what was worth salvaging.
It was a really tough time and I was so grateful to be living with someone who I loved and trusted for so much of my life.
I had also never lived with a girlfriend before, so it was an exciting, new experience for me, and at the beginning, I really enjoyed it.
I loved sharing clothes, putting music on and dancing around the house with her, while getting ready for a night on the town and the non-stop talking. The talking saved me and I really relied on her to help me through this slump of life.
We would spend hours upon hours, me on the floor crying and drinking far too much wine, going every, single detail of what derailed my relationship. She would never complain and always sat and listened, no matter how many times I repeated the same, sad story. She was my free therapy and honest, non-judgemental partner in crime (or so I thought).
Our relationship was great, when I was a hot mess and at my worst.
After a month or so of us living together, I had accumulated enough energy to start rebuilding my life. I had blown through enough of my savings, from frivolous, depressed overspending and was starting to feel the financial pressures associated with spending money with nothing coming. I was also tired of sitting at home all day and not being a productive, functioning member of society, so I knew it was time to rejoin the ranks of the working world.
I started applying for jobs and this became my job. I spent eight hours a day, writing out individual cover letters, calling employers, setting up coffees and finding potential employment opportunities.
Within a month, I landed a wonderful job with an amazing salary.
We went out to celebrate. My friend was so happy for me and we made all of these amazing plans of how we would decorate our pad, now that I had an income. We went shopping at Ikea and filled our house with cheap, young women knick knacks and spent money, too much money, on going out and eating and drinking at all the right places. I had just moved a little bit up in the world and was able to keep up with her, financially, at least.
Life was pretty great and I knew that there is only a small window of time that you can live as recklessly as we were, so I revelled in it.
I loved the spontaneity of our relationship. How an unforeseen afternoon could become hours of laughter, with shared stories, over good food and drink. I loved how we could share our deepest darkest secrets with one another, without any fear of judgement.
As my nine to five become a normalcy, I started to explore other areas of my life I wanted to improve as well.
I started going back to therapy, because I finally had benefits again.
I got a gym membership and rekindled my romance with running.
I bought a car and was no longer reliant on her being my free taxi service.
All of these things brought me and my friend, who I see as a sister, great joy and she celebrated every minute success with much enthusiasm. She was the cheerleader I so desperately needed and I was so very grateful for.
The last thing on my to-do list of life was to get back into the dating scene and she was there for it too. She applauded me getting back on the horse, but told me to take it slow and not rush into anything too quickly.
We went out every weekend, tried speed dating and agreed to blind dates, setup by loved ones.
One weekend, when she was out of town, I went out with a few new girlfriends from the city and met him.
He was never meant to be anything serious. Someone to get me back into the dating game. Someone to enjoy my time with, share meals with, but not to fall in love with.
It was far too early to get back onto serious dating and my divorce was only a year past, but life cannot be controlled. The more you try to control it, the more the universe laughs and continues to do whatever it damn well pleases.
He was wonderful. He opened my eyes up to so much my new city had to offer. He made this city, which had been a stranger to me, into one of my closest companions. He had made me feel at home.
Our relationship grew serious very quickly and with great strength. A strength I was not prepared to be swept up in, but I could not disregard the fact that he was everything I was looking for and needed.
He was kind, educated, well balanced, family-orientated and just amazing to be around. He reminded me of the amazingness within me, which I had hibernated for so long.
It felt amazing to feel loved, so I did not see a reason to fight it.
I had stopped being a spectator in life and was officially living a life, with all cylinders in full motion: Ihad a great job, a lovely home, wonderful friends, a thriving social life, I was living with my best friend and I was falling in love.
What could go wrong? Said the simple fool.
There was a limit to her my friend’s love and I had just located it.
As she observed these changes in me, which were not because of her, but because of him, her teenage competitive nature started to creep its ugly head into our community.
She judged everything he said, did for me, bought me or experienced with me.
She openly mocked our relationship, but I could see the fear behind the jokes; the fear that I was falling in love with a great guy and she had yet to find her own person.
Our afternoon chats, weekend dubachuries and sisterly love was starting to fray and I could do nothing to salvage it.
I could see her seething at my life and it confused me so much. How could someone, who had bought champagne, to celebrate when I bought a bed, be angry at me finding a great partner?
I realized that she was my biggest supporter, as long as I was still the damaged weakling. She was there to cheer me on, just so long as my success did not challenge or supersede her own.
One day, over drinks, after my partner had left for the evening, she looked at me. I knew something terrible was about to happen, but I was not sure how to brace myself for it. She poured herself another drink and said, “I will be so pissed if you get married, again, before I do. It isn’t fair if you do, I deserve it.”
I did not know what to say, let alone do. I felt sorry for her, for the first time, since I had moved to this new city. She was jealous of me and I could not understand why. We were both successful and thriving, but he had unearthed a beast, which could not be put back in its cage. She was no longer my cheerleader and did not care if she hurt me.
That ‘joke’ ripped a hole in our relationship that we still have never been able to rightly repair.
Our relationship had become competitive, combative and chaotic.
It never regained its beautiful footing.
She moved out. My partner moved in.
We went from seeing each other every day, texting every detail of our lives, when we were apart to each other, and sharing every miniscule detail of our lives with each other to silent competitors.
Dinners were tedious and I felt like I was walking on eggshells, always scared to appear too happy. Our conversations over drinks would become passive aggressive conversations, where she would mock my thoughts, goals and ambitions.
I did not know what to do.
I owed her so much.
I was no one when I got here and she had helped me nurture myself back to life, but I no longer recognized that person.
I saw resentment in her eyes now and it was washing away all the beautiful memories, i thought we would one day share with our own daughters. The daughters we fantasized we would have, at the same time, so they too, could grow up with a friendship as wonderful as ours.
As I sit and reflect, I am still amazed at what we were, what destroyed us and how little of us remains now.
When we do meet now, it is for coffee, or a quick lunch, between work meetings. We talk about pleasantries: our parents, siblings and work, but nothing ever too deep. We keep everything at the surface, for fear that if we scratch too deep, the wound will open up and never heal again.
I do not know where we can go from here. It has been years since we have lived together, but I do miss the good old days. Even if she did revel in my misery, a bit too much, she was my source of strength, at one of my lowest lows, and for that I do owe her.
But for how long and at what cost?