(Originally published 11/28/18)
Karma is not always a bitch. Sometimes Karma comes swashbuckling in like a pirate, charms your fears into oblivion, then plunders and pillages at will. Once Karma is done, the Jolly Roger is hoisted and Karma slips away quietly, cruelly, with nary a word or look back.
I contemplated this while sitting across the table from my dear friend T, listening as she talked, tears rolling down her face.
“What is WRONG with me??” she cried, relaying a recent heartbreak. My own heart ached for her pain. I sat and listened, and handed her tissues from time to time as she told her tale of a summer romance gone sour once fall arrived.
“I don’t know what came over me,” T said. “I trusted him. I believed all the things he said. I let him behind THE WALL.”
Oh…THE WALL. The wall T put up to shield her heart from further hurt. To keep her from being too vulnerable. This guy had gotten behind THE WALL? Damn…
I didn’t have the heart to tell T that she jumped into something new too soon. My girl was just out of a relationship with an unaffectionate man who largely ignored her when Mr. Summer Love (SL for short) came along. Maybe SL was a bad guy, maybe he wasn’t. I don’t know him. But the time was wrong for T. She was raw and a little fragile. So of course when SL swooped in with hugs and kisses and intelligent conversation and attention, T was smitten. It certainly didn’t hurt that SL was charming; as well as tall, dark, and handsome, with a killer smile. Like the intelligent gal T is, she told me she held back her feelings. She put them behind THE WALL and kept her cool. And SL pursued her, hard. He complimented her. He called her. Sent texts. Remembered things she mentioned in passing. He did all of the things an attentive boyfriend would do. He even referred to her as ‘significant other,’ called her pet names, and said they were ‘in a relationship.’
“It was thrilling,” she gushed despite her tears. “I never had this happen before. I was sure he was sincere. I could ‘feel’ it, you know? I could see it in his eyes,” I believed her. Or at least I believed that SHE believed that. I’m a skeptic; had it been me, I doubt I’d have fallen for it. But that’s me, and maybe I’m weird. Or impervious to charming, handsome men. Whatever.
T finally opened up to him and confessed that she too was feeling the things he said he was feeling. “He even said he knew the ‘odds’ were against it working. He asked me to promise to remain friends with him no matter what. And so I promised,” T sighed. She decided to play the odds. Maybe any one of us would have if we had been caught off-guard by that smile and the cool logic applied when discussing ‘the odds.’ It was too good to be true.
Then, in the fall, after months of daily calls, sending texts throughout the day, and SL asking to see her every weekend, he abruptly vanished. Stopped calling. Stopped responding to messages. No explanation, nothing. She initially worried about him, because he was going through some personal challenges. But when he didn’t even respond to her request for the return of her belongings, she went from worry to anger and hurt. SL’s final text was a half-ass ‘apology,’ two simple words: “I’m sorry.”
“Sorry for WHAT?!” T wailed to me. “What did I do? What did I say? What did I NOT do or say?” I sat helplessly because I had no answer for her. I didn’t know him. T had friends who did though, and all of them told her what a great guy SL was. Genuine, willing to help anyone, decent, the ubiquitous ‘nice,’ and even awesome were some of the adjectives she said were used to describe him by mutual friends.
“If this nice, awesome guy treats me like a worthless piece of shit whore, then it must be me,” T whispered. “It must be me. I must be a worthless piece of shit whore.” T’s shoulders slumped resignedly, tears streaming from her eyes. I told her that she was no such thing, and at the same time, I imagined I would think the same of myself in her shoes. Ghosting is what the kids call it; I call it a clear sign of disrespect and cowardice. Actions speak louder than words, and these actions erased any kind words SL had ever said to her. It made me angry to see my friend in pain. I didn’t understand how an adult, which is what SL supposedly was, could behave this way. Their mutual friends had no explanation and no real comfort for T, firm in their stance that SL was “an awesome guy,” and that T should ‘keep an open mind’ about the whole thing.
“And I still don’t have my belongings back,” T continued. “And it’s not so much the stuff, it’s the principle. I have half a mind to show up on SL’s doorstep some random evening and demand he return my things immediately.” My logical mind knew she had a legal right to her belongings, my emotional mind understood her need for closure, but my practical mind saw this would play out with T as a nutjob and SL as the nice guy in the middle of a life crisis while some crazy bitch on his doorstep is hysterically crying about ‘her stuff.’ I took T’s hand and looked her in the eyes.
“I don’t think you’re going to get closure,” I said gently. “I don’t think you’ll be getting your things back, either. And as to the friendship…well who knows. Only time will tell.” I knew T didn’t want to hear this, but she needed to. I think T will have to find closure within herself, which I told her. I also reminded her this was a Classic Rebound…and now it was over. The Rebound was out of the way and finished. I saw T’s face light up a little as she realized this. Perhaps this is the closure she needed.
“Don’t worry,” T said “I’m not planning on showing up at his house. He’d probably call the cops, considering his experience with his psycho ex.”
“He has a psycho ex?” my eyebrows shot up in surprise. “You may have dodged a bullet, T. He needs to get his shit together after dealing with a psycho. SL probably did you a HUGE favor by ghosting you,” I nodded sagely.
This brings me back to Karma. My hurting friend believed that she had done something, somewhere, some time, to warrant such treatment. To deserve this Karma, so to speak. And her description of Mr. Summer Love, the way he swaggered in, buccaneer-like and handsome, charming her defenses down to nothing and scaling THE WALL-sounded less like the bitch Karma is often described as, and more like a pirate (play along with me here, I’m envisioning a modern-day Errol Flynn, charming and masculine…) This man pirated my friend’s happiness and stole her peace, albeit briefly. But was this an act of Karma? Or was this something else? I suppose it depends on whether you believe in Karma, or whether you think SL is a bad person, or you think T is gullible.
As for me, I believe it was a case of poor timing, mixed together with two lonely, hurting people. Could T have resisted the charms of SL, maybe not jumped into seeing him every weekend, maybe held on to her reserve a little longer? Could SL have been more up front and not dragged Friendship and Promises (caps intentional, because T keeps promises, and true friendship is dear to her) into the whole thing??
Perhaps. But that’s not what happened.
If nothing else, SL has become the personification of Karma for T, if Karma were a pirate. Cap’n Karma, if you will. And, T got her rebound out of the way.
Mind you, I only know T’s side of the story. Neither she nor I know SL’s/Cap’n Karma’s side. Heck, I don’t even know Cap’n Karma (has a better ring than SL, don’t you think??), so I can’t begin to guess what he might say. An ‘it’s not you, it’s me,’ perhaps? Which, by the way, is NOT an explanation or reason in itself. It’s a lazy-ass way of getting OUT of an explanation.
Who knows, maybe Cap’n Karma will contact T and explain. In which case I might be able to publish a second part to this tale. But for now…
I see my friend’s pain, and I’m providing her with the outlet she doesn’t have, that is all. I’m also providing my followers with some food for thought regarding Karma, and how you sometimes need to take a step back and see a painful situation from a new perspective.