Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Stories of Friendship - R. (Part 2)

"Friendship quilt" from http://static.howstuffworks.com

The thing that began to bug me about R. was that she was sexual, and I was not. While we talked of being chaste and she was a ‘good catholic girl’ she’d always come back with stories of acts she’d done with her boyfriends – and in public spaces. There was a disconnect between her actions and her words that really set off alarms. For instance, she cried when her boyfriend went off to the army and sent her back letter after letter saying what he did with other women because she wouldn’t. So the minute he got back she ‘serviced him’ at a local park. She did the same thing with her boss at a fast food restaurant who said he was in physical pain and needed her help for a release, and later when we lived together for a few months had an affair with someone because she ‘always wanted to do it with a man of his profession.’ But after each excursion she’d come to me in tears asking for redemption. Redemption isn’t my job.

My mother loved R. and even called her her other daughter. R. called her ‘Mommy #2.’ She was included in all our functions. When my brother was dating some woman, that person tried to call my mother ‘mom’ and was cut off at the pass – “You do not call me mother, even if you marry my son you will not call me mother,” was her response. Only R., my brother and I could.

R. was older and thus went to college before me. It was her first time away from home. The next year I ended up in NYC. We sent letters back and forth and the every important packages. I swear, the other kids at college measured your worth in boxes from ‘home.’

I remember thinking how grown up R. was the first time I saw her in a suit. This was when I went to visit her after she graduated when she had a ‘real’ job.

As I think I mentioned in another post, there were so many times that I wanted to quit being her friend for all those ‘odd’ feelings I had about her. If we went halfsies on some candy at a store, and it came out to say, 1.27 she’d want that extra penny because ‘we can’t split a penny.’ She always argued about such things, and I’d give in. Plus she was just so sexualized and it made me uncomfortable. Add to that the fact that if we were out and a man would whistle or whatever, she’d always preen and say it was at her, like I was denied that right to be worthy of attention. She would also always comment on the largeness of my breasts, which was unnerving to say the least. But my mom loved R., and I loved her mom, so we stayed friends.

By the time I finished college my mother had helped R. get a job working with her. I had no career plans to speak of, was just amazed that I graduated, but couldn’t take living with my mother. Thus, R. and I got a place together and I got a job working at the same place as the two of them – who by now had gotten really close and made life plans for me (which I didn’t realize at the time). We got a two bedroom in a nice area and had drawn up a plan that I would take the small room (less than half the size of the master one) in exchange for proportional rent. Since we each had a cat, we each would pay the 150$ deposit and realized we would only get half back.

Shortly after we moved in R. told me that she spoke to other people and proportional rent was stupid. I told her that’s why she got the big room, or else we could have found another way to figure the rooms out. She told me “No, you pay half and if you don’t like it you can go back with your mother.” Bear in mind she had been in her job for over a year now, and I was just interning for the summer at $10/hour. Not much money. I, as always, acquiesced.

I started interviewing but wasn’t really finding a job in our area that I liked, I wanted to go back to Manhattan- it was my goal. Every time I said that R. got really upset with me.

Another rule we had made going into the place was no men allowed ever. That included our brothers. The simple reason was a friend of ours had been killed by her roommate’s boyfriend. We both realized you could never really know someone and it was agreed that we wouldn’t put each other in such a position. Of course, not soon after she had her military boyfriend over, the one who cheated on her across the globe.

Everything just went from bad to worse and I was trapped. I hadn’t yet gotten my license, so was dependent on her and the bad public transportation in that city. When I did have another guy that was interested in me, she asked him right in front of me if he wouldn’t prefer a slim brunette like her. Not to mention that her cat was like her- unpredictable and controlling.

I was there for three months before I got a call that my roommate from college found me a place – her boss got a new apartment and the first month would be free. After that I only had to pay about 300$. I left with no job prospects, my cat, and $30 in my checking account and never doubted that it was the right choice. All my furniture was still at the place with R. and she never allowed anyone else to take it, saying I had given it to her. When I went to get the pet deposit back it turns out I was the only who paid it, and since there were two cats on the contract (and they keep half for allergen cleaning) they were just keeping all my money. R. was also furious that I had turned in my key as she wanted to give it to one of the men in rotation on her mattress. There was no way I wasn’t going to hand it back in to the rental office to make sure they knew I was gone.

I swear, each person feels like a novella. There is so much, good and not so good, that went into the relationship. I suppose it’s that way with everyone though. In the end, she was bad for me, I realized it, and that’s that. But it’s still a part of me somewhere.


Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Oh honey, that turned out a tad toxic as a friendship, didn't it? Yeuch, nothing worse than the scald of a one-way "friend". Sadly, they are still in plentiful supply, I've tripped over a few myself. Luckily you had the good sense to cut your losses and (hopefully)to never look back.

Victorya said...

It happens for sure. But her mom was such a sweetheart. For a few years after I moved I'd send her stuff for mother's day and christmas. Not sure how much she got to keep. I kind of phased it out as life passed on for some reason. But I do remember the good that was there.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Eeek she sounds like a real gem!!

Your post makes me think of that quote by Peter Ustinov "I do not believe that friends are necessarily the people you like best, they are merely the people who got there first." ;-)


Amel's Realm said...


Gladly you only stayed with her for three months, but I bet it was one of the longest 3 months of your life then.

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cherished79 said...

My first and only roommate was back in my early 20's, with this girl I met in a class I was attending. We hit it off, and everything went well at first until I met the man I eventually married.

Jealousy struck, nose out of joint as she thought she was much prettier than I and why did I strike gold and not her. She hated the whole wedding planning thing, which I tried to keep as quiet as I could. Anyways, to make a long story short, the friendship was so-so over the years and she never did get married until she was 41. I don't think that friendship could ever have been repaired.

Victorya said...

fish - I adore that quote! Thank you. Perfect :)

cherished - it's tough, isn't it? When someone's your friend and then there is that 'shift' and you wonder what's going on? *sigh* I wish people came with nice manuals and 'do not remove' tags like mattresses so we'd know what they are made of.

Azhira said...

I had a friend like that in college. It was always about her and her drama. Not that I minded her revolving bedroom door...just that she'd then complain about how no guys stuck around for more than a week or so. And every guy, every guy was twuuuu love and the one she would marry. Blegh.

After we moved in together (big mistake), everything was my fault. Dirty dishes, floor needed vacuuming, food missing...whatever. Never mind I think it was her boyfriend making the messes. ;)

We stopped talking a couple of years ago. Part of me still misses the fun friend. A bigger part of me is glad to be rid of the drama.