"I'm the bitch?"
It doesn't take too much imagination to guess that K was not very happy when she learned that B and I had hooked up. The word on the street was that she was accusing me of stealing him from her. Can you say delusional? Even if I had had my eye on him before my birthday party (which I hadn't) S certainly knew I had eyes for no one but him. In fact, at that very party, two months after our break up, I was still pining over him - yes, I was an idiot - so much so that I had asked him to come to my room to listen to a poem I had written for him... and the idiot factor goes up another notch.
At this point K and S were still denying any romantic involvement. A couple months later though, they had indeed publicly proclaimed their love. Technically - and if they had any manners at all, which we know they didn't - they should have been thanking us for giving them the freedom to pursue their unrequited love. But the mail-man delivered no heart-covered thank you notes to our door. Instead we were dissed. And dissed big.
One morning I was walking downtown on my way to somewhere important, and here coming towards me was the happy couple, hand in hand. As I got closer they suddenly turned and pretended to be thoroughly engaged in a window display of baby dolls. On another occasion, of all the restaurants in town and all the times to eat, both couples show up at the same place at the same moment. The waiting area of this particular establishment was tiny and there we were crammed in together, red-faced and speechless. They turned and fled.
The most difficult part for me was when mutual friends also gave us the cold shoulder. The very friends who knew what was going on before the break-up. The innocent became criminal. B was being touted as an abuser ("I could hear him yelling at her through the wall,"** and "It was just a matter of time before he hit her."). If anyone has ever met B they know he is just a big, compassion-stuffed teddy bear. Yes, he was a marine, but he also whispers sweet nothings to animals - even the tail-less goldfish - and cherishes people in a way that makes them feel nothing if not loved. Of course, this situation had made him angry but not that angry. And I, who had offered my home (and heart) to a hurt, homeless man was a slut and a bitch.
Since S and I had broken up, one male (let's call him M) in this group of former friends had become attentive to me. It began in July when we were all staying (stuck) in a cabin in NH and S and I decided, at last, to call it quits. M offered me a shoulder to cry on. Thereafter, he would randomly stop by my office to say hello and occasionally meet B and me for lunch. One time I had to stay with him at the hospital when his wife (yes, his wife) was unreachable by phone.
When B left K, it was with this couple with whom B and I went to the Fall Festival. It was this couple who initially "blessed" our potential relationship. In fact, M said he would love to see us together. He also said if S and K hooked up they would be out of his life because it would just prove what we all had guessed long ago.
But apparently reality didn't sit too well with him. B and I got together and eventually so did S and K. He called me things over the phone I can't repeat, physically turned his back on me at a friend's wedding, accused B of being abusive, and continued to worship the Almighty K.
When B asked me to marry him I wanted to shout it from the rooftops, but I didn't. No engagement announcement in the paper, no formal portrait to show off my ring. The biggest event of my life to date was under the shadow by an unnecessary but powerful shame.
** What wall was he heard through? Well, that would be S's apartment wall. Only a few months after B and K were married, K had secured the next door apartment for S and a roommate (the other comic-book artist). K spent an inordinate amount of time over there "working" on whatever it was they worked on. B would come home to an empty apartment, devoid of his wife, love or warmth.
"I'm the bitch?"