Last night I was told by a close friend that I made her unfocused and that I was a painful reminder of a past life with someone else. Ouch! That's a hefty role to bear for a girl who can't really do anything to change it. Especially since the past life she is referring to ended eight months ago and since then, she and I have been just fine. We've hung out, played the guitar, gone to some art openings, talked everyday on the phone and made an appearance at a few parties. I was the photographer at her daughters wedding, I was accepted into her sisters "Sue" club and we even worked together for a month straight. So the question is, how did I go from being part of the family to and unfocused reminder of the past?
I know exactly how I got there. I went to the fucking Stevie Nicks concert with her ex. It wasn't a date or anything, just two friends, going to a see a witchy, twirly icon do her fringey thing in an outdoor amphitheater on a perfect, breezy Southern California night. See, he had been hounding me for months to get together, partly to repay me for some photography I did for his album cover and partly because we really haven't hung out since the break-up.
I admit it, I had steered pretty clear of him since January, out of empathy for my friend. But lately, they had been e-mailing each other, they went to lunch together and even the very evening before that fateful concert, the three of us had a smoke with Henry Diltz behind the Morrison Hotel Gallery together. Foolishly, I had assumed that since they were back in communication and being friendly and since eight full months had passed, that I would be in the clear to enjoy an evening out with an old friend. WRONG!
This is the sucky part about being friends with a doomed couple. You inevitably have to pick one when the romance ends. You are forced to pledge an alliance with either the breaker-uper or the breaker-upee and no matter whom you choose, you are going to loose one friend from your repartee.
Last year, the three of us were inseparable. We went on vacation together, we hosted each others birthday parties, we laughed, we cried, in short, we were friends. In January, however, these two called it quits; well, one of them called it quits anyway and the other was left devastated. I could go into all of the ugly details here and tell you all about it, but I will spare you the drama. Bottom line is, she is hurt and thinks that what he did was wrong and that his friends and her friends should not let him get away with it. They should hold him accountable by walking away. That will show him!
Now, here is where it gets sticky for the single friend stuck in the middle. Do I approve of the way he handled the break-up? No, not particularly, but I didn't necessarily approve of Michael Irvin doing hookers and cocaine in his hotel room, but that didn't stop me from cheering that fucker on when he got the ball. Besides, I only got one side of the story and more importantly, it's absolutely, none of my business! I've done a ton of stuff in my life that people didn't approve of and you know what? The few that did walk away didn't show me nothin', except that they walked away when I probably needed them most. It was the ones who stuck around and yelled at me that knocked any sense into me.
Flash Forward to Sunday, July 24th. The phone rings "hey what's up, how was Stevie, who did you go with?" "She was great, I went with…" That was it. I hadn't heard from her since. No call on my birthday, no return voice mails, only a few vague e-mails about needing some time alone to diffuse and feeling ambivalent about people she thought she trusted. So I stopped by last night to see her, face to face and get the scoop. That's when I got tagged with the title. I made her unfocussed and was nothing more than a reminder of her past life with him. My punishment for going with an old friend to see Lindsey Buckingham's ex piece of ass is a nasty tag line and the obliteration the last eight months of friendship and good times.
Hey, whatever, that's her thang. It'll all work out. I know this woman, she's sensible and everything will eventually be alright. We'll be back to sipping on Starbucks and brutalizing the neighbors with our guitars. We'll be laughing and calling each other "Sue" and howling about some adventure we've been on, in no time. I know this, because friends don't dump friends over 1/5th of Fleetwood Mac.
So, the moral of the story, to those of you out there and you know who you are. You are palling around with that couple and you can see the roses beginning to droop. Take a lesson from me, the unfocussed photographer. Choose your allegiance now and be prepared to stick with it. Because no matter how cozy they get after the fall, your loyalty must remain on only one side of the fence. These are the perils of being friends with a doomed couple and there just ain't no way around it.