I am not a great friend.
At times of great crisis, I withdraw into myself. I tend to keep a lot to myself until I cannot any longer.
I am smart and interesting and fun, and I am, like my darling Bon Vivant, dedicated to making sure everyone around me has a great time. I am the one who gets up from a table to discuss matters with staff at a restaurant when something goes awry. I will always seek a manager when necessary. I will be sure that any little discomforts are minimized. It’s so deeply ingrained in me I cannot fathom why other people miss obvious social cues or make things unnecessarily awkward.
But true friends . . . ones I can cattily cackle with or cry to or confess my sins . . . those are hard to find.
Having been through a deeply personal crisis this weekend, I had the think long and hard about who I would call. I needed advice. It was an emergency, but I was not certain how emergent. I wondered if I should call his parents, who I don’t know, and despite his claims, I must presume don’t know me, or his sibilings, or his friends. I wondered if I should violate his trust and our relationship. I also knew that once I told anyone it would forever color and change how you think about BV, how you think about our relationship, how you think about me.
It is, to a large degree, as though I am admitting that he has hit me because once I tell you, you’re now complicit in it. And you are forced to take a stand. And I kinda don’t really care what you think.
So, when I tell you that my darling love, this man about whom I am crazy, tells me he wants to kill himself and sounds as though it is imminent, I have now fundamentally altered things in our friendship.
I also know, before I make that call, that I am about to completely fuck up your day.
I called RA, of course.
I was in a panic, and I needed to think this through. She was on vacation, at a pool bar, with her sisters. I knew this. I called her anyway.
We talked. She checked in with me every hour most of the afternoon, so concerned was she about me.
We talked about what outcomes I could live with. What duties I felt I had. How far I would go to save him again.
She didn’t ask what I decided. She just cared that I could live with whatever it was.
RA and I have loved each other through some bullshit we’ve each done. We have done it with a smile and a hug and we have kept it to ourselves.
It’s why she is my best girlfriend here, and why she is family to me.
Assuming BV and I are still together when he returns, RA and her SO and BV and I will take a wine trip together and RA will treat him as if she has no idea that he is a depressed, drug using monster who, she feels, has used the threat of suicide to manipulate me. She will be lovely and warm and wonderful, just as I will be to her SO, who I know should treat her better and who should stand up to his parents on her behalf. Et fucking cetera.
RA is the only person in my life who would accurately respond this way to news I am working out daily “that’s good, but also knowing you, also bad.”
I also made a second call . . . to JerkFace. He was very much my brother, telling me I had to call his family and the authorities. He was rough with me. His attitude, which I appreciated, hardened my resolve to make my decision, stick to it, and not tell anyone what it was. JerkFace let me know that people would judge me, no matter the decision I made. I decided it was none of their business. I alos know that JerkFace, who has for reasons that mystify me, has never met the Bon Vivant, would not support the relationship under any circumstances going forward. It is ruined forever and he will never understand. He will always love me, but he will never understand me or my decisions.
I am fortunate to have a lot of good friends who turn to me, a vibrant social life, dozens of people who love me, but in a moment of crisis, I made these two calls.