The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies. It comes from friends and loved ones.
Ever had a friend who made you a scapegoat to their own follies? I know I shouldn’t be calling them friends since being made a scapegoat isn’t a trait of a real friend, but you know what I mean. I was a victim of this so-called friend of mine.
I went back to college a few years back as a mature student and it was there that I met Rebecca(not her true name). She was a classmate of mine. Like me, she was also a mature student, married and with kids. And she and I are the same age. Plus we also live in the same district. So we hit it right off (or so I thought). We also have the same circle of friends. Although I look way younger and prettier (and I’m saying that without vanity), her glib of tongue and confidence more than made up for her shortcomings. Don’t get me wrong. She isn’t ugly but she isn’t pretty either. Oh, and she is married into some money. Anyway, when we were in our 3rd year, our mutual friends and I noticed that her absences were becoming frequent and that when she came to class, she was constantly talking on her mobile phone. Then she shared with us that she had a male phone pal and that they already met in person. We didn’t know the extent of Rebecca and her phone pal’s friendship since we seldom saw her in class anymore. One time she invited us for dinner and a night out at our local go-to nightlife destination. We went to a dance club after dinner where she promptly left us and had us wait for her until 4 am. She texted us to wait for her and that she’ll be back very soon. Very soon turned to hours of waiting. She left us at the club before midnight and came back at 4 am. We asked her where she’d been but she just shrugged and gave us a very vague answer.
This continued until one day, Rebecca came to class with swollen eyes. She told us that she was quitting school and that she and her husband were splitting up. We didn’t ask why and we didn’t want to pry. In our minds, we knew this was something to do with her “friendship” with another man. And she really did quit in the middle of the semester. We didn’t see her for some time but had some contact with her through text. During one of her texts, we learned that she and her husband reconciled. Good news. We were happy for her.
The next time we saw her, she was at school to enroll again. And she was like five months on the way. Almost exactly a year she quit going to class. I was on my last term in school and graduating in about a month and a half’s time, doing my internship and was also three months pregnant with my youngest child. I was pleased to see her again.
One time we went to visit Rebecca at her house. Her husband was there. And he was drunk. So we didn’t get inside their house and just talked on their patio. When her husband saw me, he walked toward me in a confrontational manner but Rebecca blocked his path and pulled him inside their house. We could hear them talking loudly but we couldn’t hear the words they were saying. Until I heard her husband mention my name. My friends and I looked at each other but shrugged that off. Her husband was drunk and drunk people sometimes say and do foolish things.
Oh did I mention that Rebecca and I lived in the same district? Oh yeah, I did. Her niece was a schoolmate of my two daughters too until last year. Anyway, a parent from my two daughters school who I had a hi-hello acquaintanceship came to sit by me one time when I visited my daughters’ school. She asked me if I was still studying at this university. I wasn’t surprised she knew where I studied since parents like her who doesn’t have anything to do but wait on their children at school tend to gossip about people especially other parents. After a while and after making some small talk, she leaned over to me with a conspiratorial air and said that there is something I should know. She then proceeded to tell me that “someone” in school (my daughters’ school) who knows a “friend of mine” from my university had told her that I had an “affair”. She said she decided to tell me because she didn’t think it was true and that I should know what is being said behind my back. I was STUNNED. I was HORRIFIED. WHAT. THE. HELL. I didn’t even remember what I said to her after what she told me. I didn’t even remember uttering a denial. But I’m glad she told me. Whatever her reasons were I was glad she did.
After I got over the shock, realizations did set in. And all the things clicked into place. I remembered that:
1. Rebecca’s husband seems to want to talk, nay–confront me on something when Rebecca blocked him and pulled him away.
2. I remembered why my then fifth-grade daughter told her closest classmate that she had a secret about me (that secret was about my pregnancy which she considered being wonderful news). Her classmate immediately said that he knew what my secret was and that my secret was that I had a lover. Suffice to say that there was a fight after that. When my daughter went home that day, she told me about it and I remembered telling her to ignore her classmate and that what he said was the result of unmonitored and too much exposure of soap operas at home instead of studying.
3. I remembered that Rebecca’s niece was a schoolmate of my daughters and that Rebecca’s cousin-in-law was one of the parents I just mentioned–parents with having nothing to do but wait on their children at school.
4. That as far as I can remember, the only “friend” of mine at the university who lived in the same part of town is the same person who our classmates, common friends and even teachers knew to have had a “friendship” with another man and that “friendship” may have been the reason she and her husband separated for a while and why she quit school in the middle of a semester.
5. That I am most likely been made a scapegoat of someone I considered a friend.
6. That the parents on the PTA of my daughters’ school think that I did all that. And that probably account to their fake smiles when I attend meetings. I thought their fake smiles were because of envy since my daughters are consistent honor students and that my sixth grader just happens to hold the academic number 1 spot since 4th grade and now the valedictorian of her class on her graduation a few days from now.
7. And that it explained Rebecca’s cousin-in-law snubbing me during a chance encounter at a mall when she used to smile and nod at me every time we meet.
I wonder what tales Rebecca spun about me. I wonder what role was I supposed to have been playing in her diabolical scheme of her then marital woes. I really thought she was a friend. Why me? What did I ever do to her?
And since I can’t wheedle the name of the weasel who spread this malicious what consoles me is that my husband and kids know me and know the truth.