This post has been floating around in my head for a while. A few days ago rac over at Life after his affair wrote a post about an old friend, which prompted me to actually get this out on paper, so to speak. I am not sure there is a real and good solution to this situation with my friend, but if anyone has any advice, I welcome it. Yes, that means you Dee, even though I already know what you are going to say. (insert smiley face here). I am not someone who has a bazillion friends. I have a few good friends and I cherish them. Just like with my husband, I would never knowingly do anything to harm them. I am honest to a fault and I love them with all my heart. I can count the number of my good friends on one hand and for this reason, the story I am about to tell causes me great discomfort. This entry will be nearly as painful as many I have written about Blue Eyes.
This is a true and honest narrative (from my perspective of course) of my relationship with one of my oldest friends. She has appeared briefly a few times here on my blog, mostly when I go back and talk about mine and Blue Eyes early relationship. She is the friend who lives in the big fancy house on the mountain in Paradise Valley, Arizona, just a short little distance from where I was sequestered for the betrayed spouse seminar I attended in late October last year. We are going to call this friend Colleen. The irony of this story is how many times Colleen has put Blue Eyes down over the years, and how many times she has wished he and I weren’t together. She also had information about Blue Eyes’ propensity for lying and cheating, and she kept those secrets between her and Blue Eyes, for years. Even though some things came to light a while back, I never questioned Colleen and her actions or our friendship, until after dday.
In December, 1983, I commenced my college career. As I have said before, in high school, I was not college bound. No one in my family that I knew of had ever gone to college. My parents did not encourage me to apply to college. I worked for a printing company in the accounting department for more than two years before deciding (with the help of my college-educated bosses) that higher education was the right path for me. Since it was mid-year when I arrived at the university I had chosen, there were very few choices for available dorm rooms and all the students were away on break. I would not be able to meet my new roommate before choosing the room. I would merely be able to choose my dorm room based on what was described to me about the building and the location of the available room. I had no information on my prospective dorm mate. I chose the dorm with what I considered to be the most convenient location to my classes. It was a high rise and one of the available rooms was on a corner, high up, with a view of the football stadium. I chose that room. When I arrived at school two days after Christmas to unload my two suitcases and one box full of belongings into my new dorm room, I was anxiously excited. I had no idea if my roommate would be there in the room when I arrived. I had never shared a room with anyone except my younger sister, and we had had our own rooms for many years. I had never lived away from home, away from my parents. I opened the door of the “suite” and learned that the room consisted of a foyer, two separate double occupancy dorm rooms and a shared bathroom for four girls. The rooms were actually quite large. Now, after having been in many dorm rooms with my boys over the past five years, both while looking at colleges and universities and while they attended them, I know this room to be one of the largest I have ever seen. Unfortunately, my dorm mate had been living by herself for the better part of the first semester, and her belongings were literally EVERYWHERE! I could not even tell which bed she was using to sleep in. My Dad had left me in the lobby of the dorm with a handsome RA who was happily offering to help me up with my belongings. The RA stood there in the doorway of the dorm room with me and said, yep, that’s Colleen. That was my first sign, my roommate was well known and potentially not for the stellar reasons I would have hoped.
I ended up having to call Colleen at her home so she could decide which bed she wanted and which desk, etc… She was very sweet and apologetic about the whole thing and said of course she rushed out the door for break and did not anticipate getting a roommate mid year. I sort of understood, but was concerned with the level of disorder in the room. Even at 20 years old, I was a very neat and tidy person. I drew an imaginary line in my head of where my half of the room would be then moved her belongings to her side of the room. She had a lot of
shit stuff. I was pleased to notice that we seemed to generally be the same size in clothing, and she had some cute things. Her feet were bigger than mine, so we would not be borrowing each other’s shoes. I had never had a sister or friend before that I shared clothes with, so I thought it might be kind of fun–double our wardrobe choices if she was game.
It seemed Colleen would be the last person in the dorm to return from break. I met our suite mates and they were really nice, both Sophomores like Colleen, but still a year younger than me. I met some of the other girls on the floor. I got the lay of the land. A few people warned me about Colleen. They said she had gone through a few roommates since her Freshman year and was “moody,” but they stopped short of giving me the whole story. Colleen showed up very late the Sunday night before classes were set to begin. I was fast asleep as she bumbled around the room bringing even more stuff in. She apologized. I decided the friendly thing to do would be to get up and turn on the light for her and officially meet her. Her arrival time would be my first sign that she was a night owl (I was a morning person). We sat up for a couple hours talking and we got along really well. She was a cute brunette, short, not quite five feet tall, very funny and had a lot of different voices she used when talking about her family and her pets. She could have made a lot of money as a voice talent. Since I also used a silly voice and nicknames for my collie at home, I understood her. My first reaction was that if nothing else, she would be entertaining. The next morning, I got up at 7:00am, took a shower, went down to breakfast and then came back to the room to get my book bag before my 9:00am class. Colleen was still fast asleep. I had two morning classes that first term and when I returned from morning class to deposit my books in the room before heading to the cafeteria, I was shocked to see Colleen still sound asleep at nearly noon. It was not my job to police my new roommate; I went to lunch on my own. By the time I headed back up to the room, Colleen was up and in the shower. I just figured she had late afternoon classes that day. I headed out to my next class. When I returned in the afternoon, Colleen was gone. She left a note saying she had to leave for work (she worked at a Dairy Queen near the school) and told me I could come visit her if I wanted and that she would be home around midnight. She asked if I wanted to go to a party with her when she got off work. I was astonished. Who goes to a party at midnight on a school night? Yeah, that was me, the buzzkill. I sat there and thought about it a little more. I thought, if I did my homework first, then took a nap from say, 8-midnight, then I could go out and party and if we got home by 3:00am, I could still get in my eight hours sleep and make it to class on time. I was a college student now, and I could do it all. We started a pattern that night that would continue through most of the semester. Colleen did have morning classes, but she rarely made it to them and I am pretty sure she failed at least one. She was a music performance major (with an absolutely amazing voice) and from what I could tell, she only made it to voice lessons and music theory regularly and bitched bitterly about theory. Whenever I had the chance, I would go and listen to her practice in the soundproof rooms in the music education building. I was completely enamored with her talent. By night she was a partier. We brought our own lemonade and vodka to the parties because neither of us liked beer. It seemed at this large university that nearly every night, whether it was at a fraternity or off-campus housing, someone was having a party. Colleen introduced me to dozens and dozens of people the first month of school. I was a bit overwhelmed. When we weren’t at a house party, we were at a local bar or nightclub, dancing. I was having a blast. I started dating a couple guys and experimenting sexually. I smoked pot. I did ‘shrooms. But all the while, I made it to every one of my classes, religiously did all my homework, and aced every test. I met Blue Eyes, made out with Blue Eyes, blew off Blue Eyes, and eventually wrote a Dear John Letter to Blue Eyes. Colleen was fascinated by my relationship with Blue Eyes that first semester of college. She thought it was hilarious that I thought Blue Eyes was after her. She had introduced me to Blue Eyes. I dated other guys. Colleen became visibly jealous when I dated one of her other male friends, The Other Guy, even though they were both adamant that they were JUST friends. This was my first glimpse into the moodiness I had been warned about. Well, I grew up with an undiagnosed budding borderline personality disordered sister, and what Colleen presented was in no way a match for what my sister had thrown at me. In relation to what I had already dealt with, Colleen was easy. When she was in one of her moods, I took care of her. I coddled her. I grounded her. She could be irrational, hysterical, belligerent, rude, and mean, and I loved her anyway. We grew close, but I could tell she was pissed I was dating her friend, The Other Guy. The Other Guy would take my virginity, pretty early on in the year, but even that did not dampen mine and Colleen’s friendship. Colleen hated being a third wheel. She hated when I spent time with a guy, any guy. She did not have a boyfriend for the first year that I knew her. I made sure I made plenty of time for Colleen, but I will admit, I was loving the dating. A girlfriend relationship is different though, I knew we would be friends forever…
By Fall, you would have thought that Colleen and I had known each other our whole lives, or even that we were sisters. The wedge that would eventually drive us apart, was Blue Eyes. After we moved into that one bedroom apartment, and after the miscarriage, Colleen wanted nothing to do with Blue Eyes. Even though I was always there for her, she turned her back on me emotionally when Blue Eyes was around. It was a strange type of three-some for sure. About six months later, after we moved into a much larger two-bedroom apartment, and it seemed Colleen could never come up with the rent. She constantly borrowed money from us and was generally a horrible roommate, kind of like an unruly child that never picked up after herself and threw a lot of temper tantrums, but boy did I care about her. Then, Colleen started an affair with her much older married boss. It was heartbreaking as the wife would confide in Colleen that she thought her husband was having an affair because when she returned home after visiting her parents out of state, the sheets had been haphazardly thrown in the laundry basket and they were “full of sex.” Colleen listened and consoled but kept right on with the affair until finally her lover’s wife left him, and not surprisingly that is when that stellar example of the male species broke up with Colleen. She was heartbroken.
Blue Eyes and I eventually moved into an apartment together and Colleen lived with friends. When Blue Eyes left for Japan, Colleen and I were reunited as roommates as she could not afford the rent on the room she was living in in a townhouse off campus. In order to save money, I moved into the room with her. We never had troubles living together in one room until Blue Eyes came along. When I moved to Japan, Colleen and I continued to write each other all the time. After Japan I moved back to my home town to finish off college at the local University, but I visited Colleen often. We moved closer while Blue Eyes was in law school, but we rarely visited Colleen together. She preferred for me to visit alone. I always thought it was because she felt like Blue Eyes had inserted himself into our relationship and she didn’t like it. I never suspected anything else.
Half way through law school, Blue Eyes and I got married and Colleen was my maid-of-honor. From the bachelorette party to the wedding itself, we had a blast. Colleen sang two songs at our wedding reception. She never graduated college, and she never used her voice professionally, but she never lost that beautiful talent. We continued to write and call each other over the years and when our son was nine months old, I took him to meet Colleen while Blue Eyes stayed home and worked. About a year later, my sister and I were attending a wedding near Colleen, and so we got together with her and had dinner. She was acting very strange. We had scheduled to meet up with her before heading back home, but she never showed at the meeting spot. I was a little perturbed, but Colleen was notoriously flaky. My sister and I stopped at a motel on our drive home and I called Colleen to make sure everything was okay with her. She seemed very upset and she said she could not talk with me about “it.” That I needed to speak with Blue Eyes. Blue Eyes? I was confused. I had no idea what she was talking about. She was in one of her moods, and so I just let her be, but I was upset. My sister was upset that I was upset and told me to forget about Colleen as she was more trouble than she was worth. Ironic, coming from my borderline sister. I called Blue Eyes to see what was going on. He also seemed strange on the phone and said it was nothing. That Colleen was just being Colleen and for me not to worry about it. He and the baby were home doing fine and they missed me and to drive safe.
When I got home, I quizzed Blue Eyes on what had happened with Colleen. Blue Eyes told me that after my sister and I had dinner with her, Colleen had called him and had been flirty with him and she sounded drunk and she seemed really jealous of my life and the fact that I had a husband, a house, and a child. That sounded so strange to me. Colleen and I had had our differences in the past, but I never felt like she was really jealous of me or my life. She did drink a lot and she did become really flirty and sexual when she was drunk, but still…. with Blue Eyes? She always acted like she didn’t really care for Blue Eyes so I was kind of shocked that she would call him. None of it made sense. I tried calling Colleen numerous times over a period of months, but she never answered and she never returned my phone calls. I tried calling her at work, but she had left her job. It was late 1992 the last time I saw Colleen. I tried to send her a holiday card that year, but her card came back as undeliverable. I had sent her parents a card (as I knew them well) and they sent us a card as well. The following year, in my holiday card to Colleen’s parents, I asked for them to please send me Colleen’s new address. I got no response. I thought about Colleen almost daily, for years. Over those years, I would ask Blue Eyes what had really happened with Colleen? It didn’t make sense that she would cut off contact completely. I had done nothing to harm her or make her angry. He stood by his story. I was heartbroken.
With the invention of the Internet, I thought I had finally found a way of tracking down Colleen, but the more I searched, the less I found. Colleen has a very very common surname. I searched for her, intermittently, for years. Then, in 2009, I found her. Nearly 17 years had passed since I had spoken to her. She had married and her married name was much less common than her maiden name. She and her husband own their own business, which has a website, with a photo. Yes, it was Colleen, 17 years older, but the same Colleen. I couldn’t believe it. I sat there and cried. I felt like I had found a sister who been stolen from me years before. I could see that her older sister also worked for their company. I immediately sent an email to the generic info email they had listed on the website. I said my name and who I was and that I hoped someone could put me in contact with Colleen. And then, I heard nothing. Day after day, nothing. I assumed she still, after all these years, did not want to speak with me, but I had no clue why. Then, after 10 days of waiting, Colleen sent a return email.
In her email, she expressed her surprise and delight that I had found her. That she had thought about me for years, but just could not bring herself to contact me after all the time that had passed. She talked a little about her current life. I had read years before that her father had died of a massive heart attack. I emailed her back how heartbreaking it was to hear about her Dad. I filled her in on my life and on all my siblings. The last time she had seen my twin brothers, they were 10 years old, now one of them worked for our company. She mentioned nothing about why she had cut off communication with me all those years ago. We emailed and talked on the phone a few times and she invited me to come visit her and her husband. They had never had kids, but had two dogs and lived in a 12,000 square foot home with a guest house and a gated entry and something like 12 bathrooms on a mountain in Paradise Valley, AZ. I thought about it and decided I wanted to visit her and I wanted to find out the truth of what had happened all those years ago.
When I visited her a few weeks later, it was like we had never been separated. Her husband was astonished at the rapport between us. They had been married for 14 years and he had heard very little about me. Colleen told me she thought about me every day and that she still used the Minnie Mouse nail clippers and back scratcher I had purchased her at Tokyo Disneyland in 1987 as a souvenir of my time in Japan. She had always loved those silly little minnie mouse trinkets. When we were alone, she asked how my relationship with Blue Eyes was. I said fine. She said she was surprised we were still married. I was kind of taken aback. She looked pained when she spoke to me, but she wouldn’t say any more. Later that day when we were out of the house and away from her husband, she told me what had happened all those years ago. She said that Blue Eyes had written her some love letters. They started to arrive before me and my sister visited for the wedding. He wrote her letters expressing his love for her and what it would be like if they had gotten together “all those years ago.” She said in the letters he expressed how lonely he was and how much pressure he was under with the wife, the kid, the job, etc… As I heard her talk and watched her demeanor, I could see that he had appealed to her insecurities and made her feel wanted. You see, Colleen had been sexually molested by her grandfather when she was a young girl, and I knew this. I knew she was very insecure and she used sex as a way to garner attention from men. I had always known this, but Blue Eyes had me and she appeared to dislike Blue Eyes, so I never worried about them. I knew Colleen was broken, but I did not know Blue Eyes was a sex addict, and a predator. I listened to Colleen and she told me how embarrassed she was to even be telling me about this because it was SO LONG AGO. That she was happy for me if I was happy with Blue Eyes and if he had never done anything else like that since. I said if he did, I was unaware of it, but that I was unaware of this situation with her because she never shared with me. She said she felt so sorry for him that she kept his secret and she didn’t want to hurt me? But then she cut off communication with me, theoretically, forever. She then told me that she still had all the letters (from 17 years ago) if I wanted them. I looked at her in astonishment. I told her I did not want the letters and I would appreciate it if she destroyed them. She apologized and said she would. I wasn’t sure I really believed her and I had no idea why she had kept the letters all these years. There was really no more to be said about this horrible situation from so many years ago. I could not understand Blue Eyes’ behavior, but I could also not understand Colleen’s. I wondered then if I was the only self confident sane person on the planet. She asked me not to say anything to Blue Eyes as she was so embarrassed about the whole situation. I told her I would be discussing it with Blue Eyes but that I realized, if she was telling the truth, that it was all 17 years in the past. We then proceeded to thoroughly enjoy our time together for the next four days. I lounged out by her infinity pool and drank iced tea. We talked, we ate, we went to the movies, we reminisced. I was so happy to have my friend back, but part of me was leery. It all seemed tainted by the letters that were sitting in a box in her garage.
When I returned home, Blue Eyes picked me up at the airport and the first thing I did was ask him about those letters and his story from 17 years ago. I have a memory like a steel trap. I remember exactly what he told me all those years ago… lies. I did not tell him exactly what Colleen had told me, I wanted him to tell me the truth, not just reiterate what she said. I wanted to see if their stories matched. Remember, this is nearly five years PRE-Dday! And here is the story Blue Eyes told. Years ago, more than 30 years ago as a matter of fact he said that when I was off babysitting my father’s children, Blue Eyes had been in bed asleep and Colleen had returned home from a night of heavy drinking and partying with friends. Her boss had dumped her and she had been spiraling. She had climbed in bed with Blue Eyes and snuggled up to him. He said he was so scared that he just laid there pretending to be asleep. He knew she was drunk and he had no desire to “be with her.” Eventually, she got up to use the bathroom and stumbled back to her own bedroom, but Blue Eyes, being the sex addict that he is (at least now we know) could not get the image of her crawling into bed with him out of his mind. While I was off working or going to class or some such other good girl behavior, he approached Colleen in the hall between the two bedrooms. They locked eyes, and they kissed, passionately. They separated from the kiss, she was late, as usual, so they agreed to revisit “it” later. When “later” rolled around, they had both had time to simmer down and think about what they were doing and they both agreed that they loved me and they didn’t want to do anything to hurt me (um, okay?). Not sure if I believe that, they probably just both agreed it was wrong, or something. Anyway, according to Blue Eyes nothing else happened. Colleen told me none of this part of “their” story.
Then, seven years later, we had been married for three years and had a one year old son, and my sister and I were planning to head off on a road trip to a wedding out of state. Blue Eyes doesn’t really like the idea of me going away and his addiction starts kicking in. He starts this crazy pattern of destructive behavior and he writes Colleen a letter (getting her address from my address book) saying he is lonely, he is stressed with the pressures of marriage, kid, job, etc… (all the things he knows Colleen doesn’t have) and he starts in about what would have happened if something more had happened after the kiss. What if they had gotten together. What if they were together now. Then he wrote a couple/few? more letters. He doesn’t really remember exactly what he said in the letters, but he remembers the gist of it. I know some of it from what Colleen told me and it pretty much matches up to his memory. Funny how she left out the part about her climbing into bed with him and the kiss. He has no good reason to divulge this information at this point other than he is trying to remember the truth because he doesn’t know what she has told me. I don’t really care what was in the letters all those years ago at this point in 2009, so I tell him he doesn’t have to elaborate on the letters anymore. I merely want to know why? Did he really want to be with her all those years ago. Remember, I have no idea at this point that my husband is a sex addict so I am totally confused about his behavior but I can rationalize a little bit that it didn’t mean that much to him as he has not had contact with her (that I know of) for more than 17 years. He says he never wanted to be with her. That he got some kind of sick thrill from writing letters that he knew would make her feel wanted, special and that he thinks somewhere deep inside he was jealous of my relationship with her and he wanted to end it somehow. Well, he sure succeeded in that. Knowing what I know now, perhaps he wanted to see if she was open to a secret sexual relationship with him. I mean after all, he knows something I didn’t, that she didn’t “hate” him after all. Since all of this is so many years in the past, I want it all to go away. I call Colleen when we get home and I actually, against most everything I believe in, lie to her. I tell her Blue Eyes barely remembers the letters and he is sorry that it caused a 17 year gap in our relationship and he hopes she can forgive him. She says right away that of course she forgives him. I want it all to be over.
I continue to converse with and visit Colleen for the next four years. We even go away to California and Michigan together. Colleen is obsessed with holiday folk art. Each holiday, her huge house is covered in expensive one of a kind folk art from artists all over the country. Colleen has a lot of money to burn. Then dday rolls around. A couple months into the disclosures, I call Colleen and spill my guts to her about everything that is happening with Blue Eyes. I even send her a photo of Camilla and she lets out a shrill scream of disbelief over the phone. She cannot believe what he has done. Neither of us can. In March, we end up at the dude ranch (from an earlier post) and then we visit Colleen and her husband at their mansion for a weekend. Blue Eyes wants to apologize to Colleen for what happened all those years ago. It was all definitely part of his sexual addiction acting out. All of this is just fine and everything goes well. Blue Eyes is very humble and introspective when he talks about what he has perpetrated on me and he apologizes and Colleen cries as she accepts his apology and it’s all good, until it isn’t.
We’re having a lot of fun with Colleen and her husband and Colleen and I have some time alone together and I am wondering if she is ever going to come clean about the bed/kiss all those years ago. I wonder why she doesn’t. I mean seriously, she can easily now blame everything on Blue Eyes… he is a diagnosed sex addict. She says she has something to tell me. I wait intently for her to tell me the same truth Blue Eyes has already told me, quite a few times actually, but she doesn’t. She makes up a completely different story about Blue Eyes. She seems to have thought a lot about this story where Blue Eyes made a pass at her while I was at work one day. She says it was after the miscarriage and she was horrified by his behavior. She says she was going to tell me back then, but then the next week we were engaged. I ask her where she was when he made the pass. Her story is all off. We got engaged a full year after the miscarriage. The location of her story doesn’t match up to reality. For some reason, even after everything we have been through, she is lying to me. Blue Eyes, at this point, has been over the story dozens of times. He has not faltered on his version. She is faltering. I can only figure she is pulling an OJ Simpson. Creating a new reality that absolves her from any wrongdoing. And the silly thing is, I don’t blame her for anything. I don’t care about her climbing into bed with him (which she may not even remember), or their kiss. It was 30 years ago. Why is she making up a new story that doesn’t match up?
We leave their house the next day and I am uneasy. Our relationship is now strained. I have no contact with Colleen after we return home. She does not contact me. I do not contact her. Then, two months later I am telling this story to a trauma therapist in LA and she asks me not to have contact with Colleen any more. She says she is not safe and she is technically an acting out partner of Blue Eyes. Tears well up in my eyes… it is like losing a sister all over again. She says the most telling and destructive part of the entire ordeal is that Colleen kept those letters. She is not a friend to me, at least not now. It breaks my heart.
So, I am still Facebook friends with Colleen and I see her activity and she sees mine. She occasionally likes or leaves a benign comment on a status of mine and I do the same to her. There is not much else to the friendship right now, but I don’t know when and if that will change. There is no official closure. I’m pretty sure if I don’t reach out to her, she won’t reach out to me. Do I bury this friendship for good? Or give it another chance? Re-uniting with Colleen was an exciting day for me, but I did all the work. If it was up to her, we would have never spoken again and I did nothing wrong. Can I forgive that? I couldn’t imagine losing her again, but I think I lost her a long time ago…