Life works in different ways. For instance I have this friend, actually you could hardly call her a friend now and most of my family and closer friends would argue ever, but our lives were not drastically different in the beginning. We both grew up in a home with our parents and brother. We both had a mother who worked but struggled with alcohol which caused both fathers to want a better life, a different life than the one they felt trapped in. My father waited to make this change until we were older while hers didn’t. Do I think this is a huge factor in the story? No. I wish my father had done it sooner. We both went to college after high school, in fact we were roommates. We shared similar interests in subjects and found it a little easier to fall into mischief.
One of us was always more prone to a dangerous lifestyle while the other one of us walked in the shadows barely stepping into the sun to feel the burn of the rays. We might have been close, extremely tempted but usually I would shy away from the temptation and watch as it swallowed her whole. I would be there to support and raise her back up once she resurfaced but occasionally I jumped in after her. The thing that always bothered me was that even though she played with fire more often I received the backlash. In college there was an incident. I was dragged in by association, because I was the best friend. I was out of town visiting family when I heard about the warrant, but when I returned I did the right thing. I made arrangements with my brother to help me and I walked down to the police department and turned myself in. We were kids and probably did not deserve the harsh slap on the wrist received, but we were examples with grip mark bruises that took months to go away.
I paid my fines, completed my community service and met with my probation officer for the year I was instructed to. I followed all the terms and conditions that I was given because in doing so the issue would be brushed under the rug and sealed. I finished my year and rejoiced that it was all behind me and forgotten. She found the same comfort of working towards a sealed record, but she had a probation officer who just signed off on everything being completed without any of the terms or conditions actually being met. She received all the benefits without any of the work. Was I angry? Yes. Jealous? Yes. Who wouldn’t have been?
This is how our life always went. She would fully submerge into a bad decision and just by standing on the side lines I would be dragged with the shame. I should have walked away a long time ago, but I believed that the world would be fair and she would get hers in the end. It is sad to wish that someone who is supposedly your friend to get their punishment. I did walk away several years ago, in fact, it was one of the things my husband pushed for. He wanted me to remove myself from her life. He did not want to see me hurt, manipulated and lied to anymore. I didn’t use drugs for pleasure, I didn’t like to sleep around, and I wasn’t attracted to the danger of an abusive man. I did not enjoy that life and I did not need to be available to someone who did not see my worth.
I keep in touch from time to time. Never more than a phone call once or twice a year. Nothing really major just some small talk and general interest in the way our lives have shaped up to be. Not that I am keeping score, but I always hope that she would fall hard on her face. Recently I learned she was pregnant. I do not know if she will put down the pipe long enough to save an innocent life or if she found a man who wouldn’t end up in prison or able to keep his punches to his side, but I do know that I bubbled over with rage when she gushed with excitement about being able to have welfare, food stamps, and housing given to her. She has never cared to take care of herself before and now she has a growing ticket inside her to let her eat like a queen while the rest of us work our asses off to just make it by.
I will always have one thing over her and others like her who abuse the system and find lady luck on their side and that is the happiness I have with my family. I love my kids, I love my husband and the choices we make as a family. That beats everything. I don’t need the handouts, the pity, the wish to win the lottery (not that that wouldn’t be awesome), only the genuine happiness I find in my home.