Thursday, August 30, 2012
After spending many years investing in what I thought was a growing friendship I have to admit, finally, that it wasn’t friendly. It was toxic. I met this lady in a neighborhood tavern I used to visit with a former girlfriend and thought she might have come back from Florida to visit her friends. It wasn’t her. This stranger and I got along well enough to plan a sight-seeing trip the next day before she returned to her home in New York.
As weeks passed and additional weekend visits occurred it became evident that this lady needed a good Samaritan. Voila. To the rescue I came galumphing in. Before long her move here to share my apartment “until she could get her feet on the ground” revealed a seriously troubled young woman. I saw the inside of more emergency rooms and police stations that first year than I had in all the rest of my life.
As time passed the tempestuousness of her life calmed somewhat, she got her own place and managed to maintain employment with some regularity. I continued feeling responsible for her well being, though, in the way John Steinbeck noted in Travels with Charly - if you save a creature’s life, you are responsible for that creature for the rest of its natural life. So I maintained my Samaritan status until she met and married a man who I assumed would bear the responsibility for her and I relaxed a bit. I moved to another city to accept a job there and we lost contact for several years. This was her third or fourth or fifth marriage and it failed.
Not long after, she allowed her fingers to do the walking through the white pages and discovered I was listed. She called me and the semi-friendship resumed. This whole saga began in 1976 and slowly I’ve discerned that what I was seeing as a brotherly/sisterly type of friendship was (and probably had been from the start) toxic. There was never any romance. If there had been it would have been over a long time ago.