Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Suspicious Minds

So, longish story short, somewhere around a year ago, Roxanne wrote me one day with some scary news. Apparently her brother Jerry (who is also like a brother to me), was in a bad way. He had just gotten out of a relationship with a woman so crazy that she made Veronica look stable. She had managed to get them both arrested for pot possession & drunk driving, had blown through what meager funds they had, threatened to kill him & herself, and finally had to be forcibly evicted from their house, clawing & screaming the whole time. Now, he was on the tail-end of a week-long drinking binge & was depressed, out of control, and possibly suicidal. Roxanne & her family were worried sick, as was our good friend Shawna. That night, Roxanne, Shawna & I all talked & tried to figure out what we could do.

Eventually, the girls got him over to Shawna's house where they could keep an eye on him. I explained the situation to Annette & told her that I might be gone for a while, which she was very understanding about (remember, she never knew the full extent of the Roxanne situation; things may have been different if she had). His mom drove in from 3 states away, and we planned an impromptu intervention, which we were not convinced would do any good, but we had to try something. So, we sat him down (myself, Roxanne, Shawna & her husband, and his mom....Roxanne's boy/girlfriend had to work. Priorities, I guess) and just tried to talk to him.

Fortunately, it did do some good. We convinced him that he finally needed to seek some help. Roxanne found a live-in treatment center nearby that would take him on a sliding payment scale, and he agreed to go for the month-long program. We were all thrilled, and very hopeful that he might finally be able to beat the demons he's been struggling with for years.

So, because of the situation, Roxanne & I found ourselves seeing or talking to each other on almost a daily basis for a while; with the intervention, taking care of Jerry's affairs while he was gone, the 'family meetings' which I was always a part of. Sometimes the boy/girlfriend was there, most of the time she wasn't. What was strange was that, all of a sudden, the boy/girlfriend started being extremely friendly with me, treating me like we were old buddies now all of a sudden. I'm still not sure what that was all about, but my best guess is that because Annette was in the picture & I was supposedly getting married, that it was finally 'ok' for me to be around, in her eyes. At least, I'm sure that's the way she wanted it to look...I didn't buy the act for a second & I still don't, nor do I give a shit. But anyway, the point is that this was the first time that, at least according to the rules of their relationship, Roxanne & I were 'allowed' to actually spend time with each other...if only because we were all pulling together to help her brother(and I should make it clear here that, everything with Roxanne & I aside, I love Jerry like a brother & was going to do everything I could to make sure he got the help he needed, especially after our strained relationship over the last few years).

So, needless to say, it was a pretty intense few weeks for everyone involved, as it would have been even without all the personal drama. But...we were getting along famously. Maybe a little too famously for some people's comfort. The first time I noticed it was one day about a week into Jerry's stay at the facility. it was his first visiting day, and the whole family & I were there. The place was set on several acres of beautiful countryside, with a large pond right in the middle. We were all sitting out next to the water, talking & laughing, when Jerry's father put me on the spot by asking me if I had set a date for my wedding yet. I hesitated for a long second, obviously trying to sputter out an answer while all eyes went to me. I can't remember exactly what I said, but it was described by Shawna's husband later as 'some serious backpedaling'. I told him that we hadn't set a date yet, and we were trying not to make a big deal of the engagement, and that it probably wouldn't be happening for a while, or something like that. The whole group was silent as I was struggling with my words, all of them shooting glances over at Roxanne, of course (who kept her head down the whole time, betraying nothing), except for the boy/girlfriend...who was staring a hole dead through me.

I don't know what I should have said...maybe I should have made up some bullshit about how we were going to have some grand wedding with the two of us in KISS makeup while parachuting from a plane...but I was totally caught unawares, and the truth just came out. I didn't know what the hell was going to happen or if we were going to get married or not; Annette & I were both already on the fence about it by that time. Plus, some internal mechanism that I honestly couldn't control made sure that I left that door open, and that everybody there knew it. And I'm sure everybody knew it...

Which is why I shouldn't have been surprised when, over the next few weeks, I started to hear from Roxanne less, and when we saw each other on the weekend Jerry was getting out of rehab (he did great, by the way), that things were very stiff & guarded between us....with the boy/girlfriend right underfoot the whole time. It took me a while to piece it together, but that's my theory, anyway: that Roxanne got the proverbial reins tightened around her after that day, and she, feeling guilty, went along with it (because that's how she is; for Roxanne, ever the fact that she & I talk via e-mail is almost cheating in her book, and I know that she felt like she was betraying the other one by opening up to me as much as she had), and began to try and toe the lesbian line again, so to speak.

And, with a few tiny exceptions, that's how it's been ever since, for the past year or so. I mean, we still email each other sometimes, and lately that has mostly transferred over to texting (which I fucking hate; you can't really express yourself that way...or I can't, anyway), but I could tell that she had started to patch that old wall back up again. And I guess I understood, for a while. After all, Annette was still around (even though she knew we were having problems; she gets Shawna to spy on me, not knowing that she also fills me in on it, as well), and there wasn't much that we could do about anything, anyway. Until recently...

She sent me a text a few weeks ago asking me if I knew that my favorite band was coming to town. In the course of our exchange, I told her that Annette & I had split up. I don't know how she reacted in real life, but she told me she was sorry & asked what happened & if I was ok, yadda yadda. We talked for a while that night until it was time for the other one to come home, but only about me, never about us.

In fact, we've talked several times now since then, but not about anything important, as it were, so I really have no idea what she thinks of the fact that I'm single again. But the thing is, she hasn't had a lot of time lately to think about much of anything: for the last six weeks, she's been starring in a play that runs 5 days a week, with 2 performances on the weekends. On top of this, she's working 40-45 hours per week at her regular job, and averaging about 5 hours of sleep per night. She's been doing this with no breaks & no time off, and she still has another week to everyone has been a little worried about her. Especially in light of...well, things that have recently come to light. Let me explain...

So she invites me to come see her play on opening night (which, I knew, meant that the boy/girlfriend would not be coming that night), which I do, of course. I drag Elaine along with me & I make plans to meet Shawna & her husband there, as I haven't seen them in a good while. We go, we see the show, she's brilliant, yadda yadda. We're outside talking afterwards, waiting for Roxanne to get out of the dressing room when, out of the blue, Shawna's husband gestures to me & says to his wife "Tell him."

Tell me what? Shawna squirms around a little bit & tries to protest, but it's far too late for that now...I know something's up. So I tell her to fucking well tell me. She takes a big breath, looks at me & says "You can't say anything!"

"Anything about what?", I ask.

"We don't know this for sure yet, and it cannot get out that we said anything, because we didn't actually see anything, and if..."

"Will you just tell me, before she gets out here!" I almost yelled.

Another big sigh. Shawna looked over at her husband, then back to me.

"Well...we think [the boy/girlfriend] is cheating on Roxanne.", she says. I start to speak. She interrupts me.

"You CANNOT say anything! We're not for sure yet...but it's from a very close source, and we definitely saw some shady shit going down! But you CANNOT say anything yet!"

It took me a minute. Anger, hope, elation, more anger...they all drew straws in my head. Hope won. I asked her what it was that she knew, exactly....which is a long story.



Blogger Rob recalled...

Your intense desire to know is so delightfully charming. *laughs* Not a prudish reaction, but genuine nonetheless. Glad your friend's okay. That's what really counts right now. Always room for fun though.

Thursday, October 02, 2008 2:02:00 AM  
Blogger Librariann recalled...

Hope--the evil left in Pandora's box that over time was looked at as a positive thing....

Thursday, October 02, 2008 8:56:00 AM  
Blogger D recalled...

Ha, Rob is SO right.

Thursday, October 02, 2008 9:20:00 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Kelly recalled...

I'm hooked!Write the next bit quickly so I can be put out my my misery!

Thursday, October 02, 2008 9:29:00 AM  
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