My past came back and bit me in the arse this week.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing when my past catches up with me – more often than not, I happily welcome these little trips down memory lane. Reminiscing always evoke the warm and fuzzies and elicit quiet little giggles.
Oh, who am I kidding? I usually cringe, wince, shudder, screw up my face, become physically ill, wish the ground would open and swallow me whole when I am reminded of my past. Unless it is a forced exercise, say when my friends and I recall old war stories over dinner and a few drinks, I would prefer not to have to face my skeletons.
Having said that, I have been known to seek out my past when I’ve had a few too many drinks – must learn to stop doing that, so I won’t wake up in the morning and cringe, wince, shudder, screw up my face, become physically ill, wish the ground would open and swallow me whole when I remember what I did the night before.
This week, without any effort from me, quite a bit of my past came back to stir the pot.
Note: in most cases, names have been changed or nicknames have been used to protect the guilty.
Tuesday – Me Me All About Me (MMAAM)
MMAAM belongs to a circle of friends who last year accepted me with open arms and this year spat me out and left me to fend for myself. MMAAM is the long time partner of a friend of my ex Simon (yes, the same ex I’d previously written about at length), and just like all of the others, there had been no contact from MMAAM since I announced my decision to leave Simon in a group email at the end of January, weeks after I walked out.
MMAAM was a funny kettle of fish – she and I had a fair bit in common – we are both of Asian descent, loved to cook, loved to entertain, and we are both often seen as the “Mother Hen” amongst our friends. MMAAM was also a bit mad when she drank – as I’d discovered on numerous occasions.
On one of these spirited occasions, MMAAM confided that she did not have a lot of friends, and she considered me as one of her very good friends. She said she felt like she could share anything with me, and did not hold back on sharing some of the more personal and intimate details. She went on to beg me to stay in touch with her, come what may.
Considering MMAAM is a friend of Simon’s (and she had seemed quite protective of him), I had not expected to hear from her again, ever. So it was a surprise to receive an email from her on Tuesday.
The email started with the obligatory “haven’t heard from you in ages and hope you’re well”, followed quickly with an “I need a favour”, and ending with an equally insincere “let’s catch up for a drink some time”.
Wow. Even I wouldn’t have done what she did.
The crux of it is this – MMAAM had no intention of seeing how I was. She needed to find the name of my cake supplier that made and delivered an awesome birthday cake for me last year. That’s it. And I called her on it too.
I told her the name of the cake supplier, and I got stuck into her. I told her that the reason why she hadn’t heard from me in ages was through no fault of mine – I’d sent an email to her stating I was no longer with Simon, and the ball has been in her court for 6 months to contact me. And the only reason she even contacted me now was to ask for a favour. As for catching up for a drink with her, I truly did not see any reason or need for it.
If I’d received a reply like the one I’d given MMAAM, I would have deleted the email, counted my losses and moved on. Instead, I got an explanation from MMAAM, saying that “for your information, I only speak to my best friends once a year, and that’s only to call them the day before I land in my home town to let them know I was coming home”. It’s now clear to me why she does not have a lot of friends.
Time for me to cut that one loose, I say.
Wednesday – Happy Chappy (aka LC)
The younger brother of an old friend, LC and I lost touch about three and a half years ago. LC and I had our reasons for losing touch – our friendship had developed into a relationship of sorts, which had proven to be the final nail in the coffin of my friendship with his sister SC. LC had also met someone who was more his pace and age. The last time I saw LC, he was happily involved in a relationship and was about to graduate from his law degree. Incidentally, SC stopped speaking to me shortly after that.
For a short time, I had wondered what became of LC. I live not far from the College of Law, where LC was to have attended classes for 6 months as part of his legal qualification. We had joked in the past that he would move in with me during those 6 months so he would be able to sleep in until 15 minutes before classes started and still make it on time. The last time I spoke to him, he was considering deferring the stint at the College – his girlfriend was 6 months behind him in graduating and by deferring, they could attend the College together.
Honestly, I had not really thought much of LC or SC for quite some time. I had tried to contact SC when she first stopped returning my calls and emails, but after a few months, I gave up trying. I heard through the grapevine what she was up to and how she was doing, but my interest in getting in contact with her again faded over the years. As for LC, I thought it was best to not even try to track him down.
Poetically, I was recently seconded to a leading financial organisation where SC had worked for many years. Through some encouragement from my sister (who was in the same year as SC in high school), I flicked through the People Directory in a half-hearted attempt to find her. Turns out she got married and was now going by her married name. I’m yet to be bothered to send her an email to say hi.
Then, out of the blue, I receive an eCard through the Friends Reunited website. From a Happy Chappy. And I only know one Happy Chappy.
Some of my personal contact details remain the same – I’ve had the same Hotmail address since 1995 and the same mobile phone number for 14 years. I’m now waiting with bated breath for that phone call / text message from LC.
Thursday – The Dealing Addict (aka Staffy)
Staffy was my wild neighbour who I met in the foyer of my building one morning about 4 years ago. I was leaving for work and he was just coming home from a huge night out. He was managing a well-known pub in town at the time. It was 8.30am on a Tuesday morning – I remember it being a Tuesday as Staffy mentioned something about how much he enjoyed Industry Night. During my time in hospitality, I’d attended my fair share of industry nights on Monday nights.
Staffy and I could not have been more different – he is 10 years my junior and was into all sorts of illicit activities (and have been since the age of 10), and I am about as straight-laced as it gets. He worked nights and I worked days (and some nights too). The fact that we lived in the same building seemed to be the only thing we had in common, yet we somehow struck up an unlikely friendship.
Over the past 2 years, Staffy and I became close. I was able to talk to Staffy about anything weighing on my mind, and in return, Staffy was able to share his fears and concerns with me. I grew to care for Staffy – some might say I cared too much.
Earlier this year, Staffy had confided that he felt his life was spiralling out of control. His extracurricular activities were slowly but surely catching up to him. His body was beginning to reject not only the toxins but the nutrients he was feeding it, and worryingly, his belly often became distended. He asked me to help him get clean and stay clean, and as daunting as the task was, I promised to help as best as I could. He had already begun the program – he swore he had stopped handling and would never go back to handling.
On Easter Saturday at around 8pm, Staffy called me and asked if he could see me. I noted some urgency in his voice, and told him to drop around. Eventually, after waiting for more than 6 hours, I gave up and went to bed.
Naturally, I was worried, but repeated phone calls and text messages to Staffy’s number went unanswered. There is so much a person could do – I didn’t know if he was alive, if he was still living at the same place, still working at the same place. I’d heard nothing from him and for my sanity, I had to let go. I stopped contacting Staffy, and stopped hoping he would contact me back.
Staffy is alive. I was having dinner at the pub where he’d been known to work, and there he was, living, breathing, working. I was a little upset – he could have let me know he was ok, but at the same time, I was relieved to see he was alive.
I caught up with him briefly – he was about to go overseas to enter into rehab at the insistence of his family. Since Easter, when he hit rock bottom, he had been seeing a counsellor who forbade him from contacting anyone from his past. Whilst I might have been “one of the good guys”, I still belonged to “the past” and as such, he was not able to tell me what he’d been going through.
The rehab program is expected to last 2 months. Staffy promised to get in contact when he was back in the country. Again, I wait with bated breath.
Friday – The Airhead (aka KW)
KW is another friend of Simon’s – they shared a house in Scotland a few years back and became fast friends. KW is, for want of a better word, nuts. The first time I met KW was on a camping trip organised by Simon. At the time, I’d been dating Simon for 5 days and wanted to fit in as best as I could – up to this point in my life, I had gone on exactly one camping trip – with the Girl Guides when I was 12.
What struck me about KW was her carefree nature – she was flighty, a bit flaky, very chatty, friendly, and appeared to have an opinion on everything. KW seemed to make friends easily, as she seemingly did not care what people thought of her. At first, I found it hard to hold a conversation with her, as she jumped from topic to topic without any correlation. But, after the first 4 hours of incessant chatting, I stopped trying to make sense of what she was saying and we got along like a house on fire.
So much so that when I dumped Simon, KW insisted on remaining friends with me. And I naively thought I could remain friends with her, without the bias of Simon entering into the equation. Trust me when I say it’s not for lack of trying that KW does not remain in my past.
Sadly, though, KW does not possess the same tact as Benno, Simon’s best mate. Whereas Benno will ensure that I am shielded from Simon and everything else to do with him, KW fancied herself as the “peace maker” and “everyone’s friend”, and will try her best to have all of her friends get along with one another. Tell her she’s dreaming …
KW sent out invitations to her birthday party (to be held in July) late last week. I had serious reservations about attending another party of hers – the last one bordered on excruciating when I was the first to arrive and the only guest at the party for more than an hour. I was already “fashionably late”, arriving an hour after the time stated on the invitation. Nevertheless, I was told I could bring friends, and had arranged a posse to go with me and have some fun. Today, I found out Simon’s new girlfriend will also be gracing the party with her presence.
For me, seeing the new girlfriend at the party will just bring back too much of the hurt and anger from my past, all associated with Simon and nothing to do with her, and if I have a few drinks, I could not and would not be able to guarantee my actions.
And every time I talk to KW, I’m reminded of Simon. I think it’s time I left her behind too.
I’m just waiting for KW to revoke the invitation to her party.
It’s been an exhausting week with so much of my past jumping out of the shadows and yelling “BOO”. Let’s hope next week is a calmer one.