General Non-Fiction posted January 4, 2017


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A true story of my best friend and I

It's Best To Zip One's Lips

by prettybluebirds

Stupid, real hurts Contest Winner 

It was 1978, and after a recent breakup with my husband, my son and I moved back to my hometown and lived next door to my life-long friend, Sandy. I took a job in a candle factory and was doing my best to get my life back together. Sandy kept an eye on my son for an hour or so each night after school lets out. I got home around four thirty or five, so this worked out great. In return, I often took care of her kids so she and her husband could go out on weekends. It was a win-win situation for both of us.

The two of us had been best friends since we were toddlers. We lived on adjoining farms about a quarter of a mile apart; if Sandy wasn't at my house, I was at hers. We spent all the time together our parents would allow. We walked to school with each other, slept outside under the stars, went fishing at dawn, and dreamed our dreams together. Our favorite dream was to marry two princes, who just happened to be brothers, and live in castles next door to one another for the rest of our lives. I don't know what happened to that dream, real life I guess.

My oldest niece, Carolyn, lived in the same area as my friend, and I. Carolyn had a son about the same age as my boy; Sandy also had a son of like years, forming the terrible trio. What one didn't think of, the other two did. The three of them were a handful.

I was telling a gal at work about the three boys, and she started asking me about my niece's son. When I told her the boy's name, she got rather hostile then related a surprising tale to me. It seems Carolyn's son had hit her little girl in the mouth the year before and knocked two of the girl's teeth out. It happened when the children were in school, and my co-worker never received compensation from the school or my niece. She was still quite angry about it.

Not thinking anything of it, I went home that night and related the story to Sandy. We had told each other everything from the beginning of time, so it seemed the natural thing to do. I did ask her not to mention the episode to Carolyn as it was done and best forgotten; she agreed. I gathered up my son and went home to fix dinner; the whole incidence left my mind, for that night anyway.

The next day we were all working quietly in the factory when the side door slammed open, and my enraged niece came charging in. Her fists were swinging, and her hair was standing on end, the picture of pure rage. She headed straight for my co-worker and accused her of spreading lies about her son. The situation was looking bad for my co-worker and me when security grabbed Carolyn and threw her out the back door. I was appalled and mortified beyond words. My co-worker gave me a look of pure hate; I wanted to crawl under one of the tables and never come out. How could my best friend have done this to me? I apologized over and over to my co-worker, but sometimes sorry just doesn't cut it.

When I got home that night, I screamed at my friend until she was in tears. I wanted to know why she betrayed my confidence and caused such a mess. I told her my mother would watch my son from now on and I never wanted to speak to her again. I don't think I ever felt so betrayed and hurt in my whole life. I considered that an insult of the highest order. I hurt more than I cared to admit. I loved Sandy the same as one of my sisters.

I patched things up the best I could with Carolyn and my co-worker. It wasn't easy, but I finally made it through the mess and got things sort of back to normal. I knew neither one of them would ever trust or respect me again, and I couldn't blame them. I refused to have anything to do with Sandy even though she kept trying to make things up.

One day, about two months later, I was picking up my son from my mother's house when Mom brought up the estrangement between my friend and me.

Mom said, "You know, Ruth, if you hadn't been spreading gossip none of this would have happened. I think it's terrible for you to throw away a lifetime of friendship over something that's just as much your fault as Sandys. She shouldn't betray something you told her in confidence, but weren't you doing the same thing when you told her what your co-worker said? I'm sure your co-worker didn't want that story spread all over town."

I started to ask Mom whose side she was on when it hit home with a bang. Mom was one-hundred percent right. I was just as guilty as my longtime friend.

"Thanks, Mom," I said. "You're right; I had that coming. I hope Sandy will forgive me for being such a bitch."

I loaded my son in the car and headed for Sandy's home as fast as I could.

Of course, Sandy forgave me with tears and hugs. We are still best of friends in our elder years. I'm ashamed of myself for what I did, but I learned a valuable lesson about spreading gossip. If someone starts telling me malicious gossip now, I either walk away or forget I ever heard it. Sometimes life lessons are learned the hard way.





Stupid, real hurts
Contest Winner

Recognized


The picture is of my best friend, Sandy, when she was three. At the age of seventy, we still see each other often. I love her the same as the rest of my family.
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