“I hope you can rise above” the crumpled up note at the bottom of the recycling bin says. I hadn’t taken out the recycling in a couple of weeks, so the note has been sitting there for a while. I pick it up to read it again. The words haven’t changed. They sound just as empty to me now as they did then.
Rise above what? I want to ask out loud. The fact that he took advantage of me? The fact that he made himself comfortable in my home for two months, omitted to participate financially in any way, racked up long distance charges on my phone when I specifically asked him no to, and then made me out to be “all about the money” when I brought up his financial responsibilities?
He sure did talk a lot. That’s what con artists do, they say things; they promise all kinds of things without ever actually being too explicit. The make tenuous plans in some fictitious future that they include you in, so you’ll be led to believe they intend on being your friend for a long time and that whatever is going on in the now is just a small fraction of a much larger whole. But the joke is on you, because all along, they’ve been on the take and all along, there never was a friendship to begin with. You just happened to be there for them to step on; another stone for them to climb up to wherever it is they think they might be going to. The sad thing is, all too often, it’s creeps like that who manage to make a success of themselves. That would be because they have no principles holding them back at any stage in the elaborate little games they play on people.
Rise above what? The fact that all along I was acting in good faith? The fact that I shared my life and my things and trusted that everything would be fine in the end? That he’d do the same for me if and when the need arose? Rise above the fact that a person who called himself my good friend used up all my emergency cash, left me with an empty fridge, depressed, alone and completely broke on the week of Christmas without so much as providing a loaf of bread or the small christmas tree he promised or god forbid a call on Christmas day (!), and then said it was no big deal that he had helped himself to my petty cash since I was spending too much money on myself anyway… Meaning what? That I didn’t deserve to be able to buy my own staples when I needed to?
I made a huge mistake (no hyperbole there!) by assuming that because I had known that person for a long time, and because we had had good laughs, and because we had remained friends over time—albeit we hardly actually ever communicated—I could somehow trust him to be a decent human being. But when push came to shove all I ended up with is a lousy note that said: “I hope you can rise above”. He just had to add insult to injury. Because somehow through it all, through his uses and abuses, I had no right to actually call him on what he was doing. Because the words and the tone I was using were too ugly and we must not ever use ugly words or raise our voices, even when all decent limits have been breached and all we are actually saying is the plain truth.
I wish I could say I’m none the worst for wear, but I’d be lying. This whole thing sure has been playing a number on me. I’m mostly angry at myself for letting myself trust someone who wasn’t worthy of that trust to begin with. Also for wasting so much energy on someone who clearly doesn’t deserve a single iota of my attention. I want this year to be about so many other much more important things!