Thirteen years ago I had graduated from college and moved to the city where I currently reside to look for a job. As I mentioned here, I got a job working for a huge plumbing and HVAC contractor thanks to my boyfriend’s stepfather. I really liked the job even though I didn’t know jack about anything having to do with building something.
Well, boyfriend and I broke up and a few months later I met J. He was a salesman for a regional company that sold HVAC and roofing supplies and he would show up at our office every few days to call on the guys. He was tall and good looking and a smooth talker. He asked me out for lunch a few times and one thing led to another and we ended up together for two years.
One of the best things about our relationship was hanging out with one of his coworkers, D., and his wife, Y. Before I go any further, I should mention that they make a fantastic couple and are funny as hell, but they’re the type when you get around them you wonder how in the heck they ended up together in the first place. He was tall, blond, and crazy as heck – always ready with a racy joke or a funny story. She was small, petite, with dark hair and dark eyes with an intensity that made her stand out from anyone I’d ever known. She also could keep up with D. and he couldn’t get away with jack when she was around.
D. and J. worked in the same office together, and as people in our industry do we all started hanging out regularly. Y. and I developed a great friendship and we enjoyed doing things together.
So the two years with J. went by – I would say that one year was great, the second year was pure hell. Without going into all the gory drama, I will just say that J. was a very skeevy character who ended up betraying me in every sense of the word. When we broke up, it was nasty and bitter and everything a bad breakup should be. He told me that I would never find anyone who would love me or be as successful as he was. His final words to me were “I’m going to stay at D. and Y.’s house – don’t try and call me there because they won’t want to talk to you. They hate you.”
Being young and naïve, I believed him. I did call over there one night trying to track him down to discuss some personal items that he had left at my apartment and D. denied that J. had ever stayed there. That totally pissed me off to the point where I cursed him out and never spoke to him again. J. ended up being transferred to another state where he promptly got married to the first girl he met (which ironically ended up with her being totally insane and they went through a nasty divorce – karma at its finest).
Fast forward two years – I had met Joey and we were newly married. Remember how I said that J. and D.’s company sold roofing materials? Believe it or not, I was now faced with the fact that D. was Joey’s main salesperson and we were going to have to have him back in our life whether we wanted to or not. I think it took about 3 more years for me to consent to go out to dinner with D. and Y. – mostly because I was afraid of what they would say to me.
The years have gone by and we’ve had a civil relationship – or maybe a better way to put it is an uneasy truce. They have a beautiful daughter now, we have Monkey Man, and all of us are a little grayer, a little heavier, and maybe a little mellower. Or not. We've gone out to eat together, done some wine tastings, gathered at each others’ houses to watch the Super Bowl, stuff like that.
Back in December, when I had my 36th birthday, I decided that there was no time like the present to give myself a birthday party. One of the first couples on my list were D. and Y. Joey was pretty happy about it because he’s been hoping and praying for years that we could finally bury the hatchet. Figuratively, of course. So after a few shots of bourbon, D. and I ended up in a corner discussing the days of yore and what exactly had happened when J. and I broke up.
As it turns out, it was just a huge misunderstanding on both ends. J. was apparently having a relationship with a girl that lived in the condo upstairs from D. and Y. without their knowledge. The night that I called looking for J. at their condo, D. hung up the phone and said to Y. “I don’t understand why in the hell she thinks he’s here.” Later on that night he was going to take out the trash and ran into J. trying to sneak into the girl’s condo. A ha! The jig was up. He and Y. figured that perhaps I had driven by and seen J.'s car parked outside of their condo and thought that he was staying with them. They were so upset about the whole thing that they didn’t know how in the world to tell me that J. was having and probably had been having this relationship behind my back…so they kept their mouths shut. D. was still working with J. at the time so now I understand his hesitancy to open a huge can of worms. Meanwhile, I was convinced that they hated me and were keeping J. secreted away so I couldn’t see him or talk to him. And he was filling their heads with a bunch of crap about how I’d “done him wrong” and that I hated them. It was a very confusing and nutty time.
I have to admit, I’m more than a little embarrassed that I let so many years go by without trying to mend the fences. They are really wonderful people and I really missed having them in my life – they make everything a little more fun and they have such huge hearts that not having them around left a void that hadn’t been filled. I didn’t even realize how much I missed it until we started hanging out with them again and saw how much I had missed them.
Tonight we’re meeting them for dinner and I’ve been looking forward to it all week. We’re going to get a great bottle of wine and toast to friendships, old and new and rediscovered. And we will laugh so hard that our sides will ache and we will have tears in our eyes.
And that karma I mentioned about J. getting married to the crazy woman and then getting divorced? It’s not quite as great as the fact that he met his current wife (the third one, I think) on the internet and he’s currently trying to become a millionaire by selling Amway. Hey J., no matter what you said back then – I got everything I ever wanted out of life and then some - in spades. Try and buy that from Amway.