Promises

February 21, 2010 at 7:29 pm 1 comment

I didn’t lie exactly. I had to look up the word just to make sure that I hadn’t.

Lie – a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood

I didn’t do it purposefully with the intent to deceive. Nevertheless, I made a promise that I couldn’t possibly keep. I’m quite sure that it bothers me much worse than the person to whom I made the promise. But I felt guilty just the same.

You see, I promised someone that we would always be friends. I made the promise more than once to the same person. I looked him right in those big hazel eyes and made a solemn vow that I would always be around. That I might leave for awhile, but I would be back. And that’s not true.

I won’t be back. Ever.

How do you explain to someone why you won’t be his friend anymore? It doesn’t matter, really, as the explanation is for me and not for him. You can read if you want, whoever you are, but I’m writing this for me and no one else.

I couldn’t be friends with someone that I was in love with and watch him pursue other women and pretend to be happy about it. I was really prepared to give a good impression of happy about it. I was going to give it my best shot. I mean, it wasn’t his fault that I was in love with him.

(For that matter, it wasn’t my fault, either. If I could have prevented it, then I would have preferred not to be in love with someone who didn’t, wouldn’t and couldn’t feel the same for me. I would have chosen someone with whom I shared more in common.)

Why should I punish my friend for my runaway emotions? But I found that I just didn’t have it in me to pretend that well. When I saw that the object of my affection had written, “Good Lovin’,” on a calendar, out on his desk for the world to see, I found that my acting skills were closer to the level of Pia Zadora’s than Meryl Streep’s.

I really did make a valiant effort. When he broke the news that he was “thinking about dating. There are a couple of women who are interested,” I pretended that I swallowed that lie. I completely pretended that I hadn’t already noticed him distancing himself for weeks, that I hadn’t known that something was up, as you might say. My antenna is what were up, and they were feeling that my role of best female friend was about to be upstaged by the ingenue of the production.

The night before he made the announcement, I even told him myself that he should be dating. It wasn’t because I really wanted him to but because I could see the inevitable handwriting on the wall. Clearly, I would have to adapt to my new environment. And why shouldn’t he date? The rest of the world does.

I would be the fat and sassy best friend to the hero of my friend’s new sparkling and witty romantic comedy of life. I would provide crackling commentary and wise advice on how to woo the real woman of his dreams. I would be Rosie O’Donnell to his John Cusack while he pursued Meg Ryan, if Meg Ryan looked like Miss Romania and made lasagna for Christmas dinner. Maybe if I did a good job playing the fat and sassy best friend they would write a special subplot for me where in the end I would get to fall in love with Meg Ryan’s best friend, played by John Goodman, Drew Carey or Kevin James.

Maybe. Maybe not.

And then speaking of broken promises, there was an engagement that we were supposed to make together. He didn’t make it on time. He didn’t call. He didn’t text. He didn’t do anything until after it was already too late. He didn’t care enough about me to write down the address when I gave it to him. He didn’t care enough about me to charge his phone. He didn’t care enough about me to retrieve his charger in time so that he could charge his phone.

It became plainly evident after the excuse that he gave me that he himself had told me the night before was not a valid excuse, and from the lame ass, “I’m sorry,” apology that he didn’t care about me at all. The apology was supposed to fix everything, and he clearly thought I was overreacting. And that’s when it occurred to me: I had this totally wrong. I wasn’t the fat and sassy best friend at all! I was a fucking EXTRA in the movie of this guy’s life!!

An old girlfriend from Dallas said, “Where do you find these men? Under rocks?” My therapist said, “I think you have to ask yourself why you have a habit of picking men who are emotionally unavailable to you.” ‘Cause they’re there? You mean some men are emotionally available? Aren’t they called married men?

The proverbial “they” say that there are no small parts, only small actors. Well, count me among the small actors. I am the metaphorical equivalent of Verne Troyer or  Herve Villachez. I am very, very small. I am friggin’ Thumbelina. I want to star in my own movie. And I want the part that would have gone to Renee Zelweger or Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock. I want to get the guy. He can be the fucking EXTRA in MY movie. And he can bake lasagna for me and the hero of my love story and wash the dishes afterward while we make love upstairs in a tasteful montage. The whole soundtrack will be nothing but songs written and sung by John Denver. So there.

Nevertheless, I still felt guilty. I made a promise that I had meant to keep. My friend was a kind, exceptional man or I wouldn’t have fallen in love with him. Despite the under the rock comment, I think I have very good taste in men for the most part. I just couldn’t keep it up anymore. I was simply not capable of doing so. The hurt was overwhelming. I had to remove myself from the situation.

And then I had this musical moment of epiphany. I heard a song on the radio that I became obsessed with one morning. It was an obscure late ‘70s country ballad with a little la-la-la refrain that was catchy, like, “Judy Blue Eyes.” I had heard it before, but I couldn’t think of the artist. I could only remember one snatch of lyric. I googled it. It turned out that it was Eric Clapton performing, “Promises.” And when I looked up the lyrics it was like the radio gods had handed me an epiphany on a silver plate.

I won’t waste your time copying and pasting it here. You can look it up yourself if the curiosity gets to you. But that song closed that chapter of my life. Someone else had been through this before me. I would, no doubt, not be the last person, either. And Richard Feldman and Roger Linn had set it to music. I have a theme song. I whistle the refrain. Thanks, guys. I feel better now.

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Entry filed under: Relationships.

There Is Love Hero or Lunatic?

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. The Girl From Out of Town  |  February 24, 2010 at 4:17 am

    L,
    I would not make that your Ally McBeal theme song forever, but it certainly fits the situation. “We made a vow/ we’d always be friends. How could we know/ that promises end.” Uncanny.

    Reply

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