Motown

Aug. 18th, 2017 12:18 am
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I only write about our friendship when it's going really well or badly. Guess which it is this time?

I don't know how it happened, but I think Bamboo is really, seriously, permanently mad at me. Last night we'd gotten together to make dinner. Cub was there when I arrived. She kinda indicated to me that something was up with Bamboo. We went grocery shopping and I noticed that Bamboo was definitely subdued. When we got back and started cooking, I took a moment to ask if everything was okay with her. She said she had a lot on her mind and was a little stressed about all the upcoming stuff she had to do. That was understandable. She didn't elaborate further so I figured it wasn't too serious.
Cub left a little while after we started grilling. I think she was swapping her car with her aunt for the truck so that we could help Bamboo move her stuff into my storage shed the next morning. These past couple of weeks we've been spending so much time together that I've come to feel completely relaxed and open with her; like whatever barrier I imagined had risen between us last year had finally eroded completely away. I wanted to say something to express those feelings. While we were grilling I said how grateful I was that I'd been able to share my summer with her and also that I was sorry that she hadn't found/made more/better friends during her time in Texas, once the topic came up about how she hoped to move next year.
We returned to her apartment and ate. After dinner we began playing around. The beers were good that night. Youtube was playing Motown and we must have danced for at least an hour. Not even together. Just dancing and drinking. She hugged me for the first time in a long time, saying something to the effect of, “You're gonna have to get used to me being huggy.” She never initiates physical contact so that hug made me really happy. By the time Cub returned, we were sliding across the floor in our socks. She arrived at 11:59 pm. I know because I have a video of her imitating our sock-sliding.
By 12:15 Bamboo had kicked us out.

I guess I should backtrack first. There's a weird dynamic between the three of us that I don't understand. Bamboo is my best friend and I try to get along with Cub because she's important to Bamboo. I don't know if I'd go so far as to call Cub my friend, but we get along well enough. Bamboo and Cub have a sort of big sister-little sister friendship. When it's the three of us, I commonly find myself excluded because they're so tight and they're talking about sensitive stuff or relationships or boys, whatever. It used to seriously irritate me to be excluded like that but I've really been trying to not take it so personally anymore.
Their closeness is matched by how often and hotly they squabble though. They'll fight (over meaningless stuff) and then go for weeks without talking to each other. Cub is a teenager. In the arguments she digs in her heels and sticks up for herself. She will admit that she's wrong though. Even when Cub does capitulate though, Bamboo won't let up. When she drinks too much, she turns into what I call “Bulldozer Bamboo”. Whatever it is that she's decided to do, she stays on it and cannot be stopped until she crashes. I mostly stay out of these arguments because they're unimportant. Like a few weeks ago they got into an argument about whether Cub counted as Hispanic if she was born to Spanish parents in Venezuela. I could tell that the root of the argument stemmed from their differing definitions of “Hispanic” and I tried to guide the conversation that way so they could recognize that and drop it. In spite of that it reached the point where Bamboo was just staring down Cub, who obviously had had enough. I tried being a bit more blunt, requesting, “Can we just move on to another topic?” But Bamboo wouldn't drop it and Cub stormed out.
I find those arguments distasteful. Bamboo is smarter and has a greater education and more life experience than Cub, so she always has the upper hand. It's not a fair fight. So sometimes I do jump in on Cub's side when Bamboo is being unacceptably hard.
The worst incident was when we went to the pool shortly after I returned from Turkey. We'd planned on doing this but Cub was on her period so she didn't want to swim and neither did Bamboo because she wasn't happy with her body. So I mostly swam on my own while they had girl-talk and drank in the shade. Eventually they mellowed out and jumped in, clothes and all. We swam and drank and played together; it was finally fun.We were out there all afternoon and drank an excessive amount. But once we got back in the apartment it quickly fell apart. Now we were all fairly drunk so I don't remember the exact details. But from my recollection and Cub's input it went like this. Cub took the inebriated Bamboo to her room to change into dry clothes or whatever. After a few minutes, Cub comes out and tells me, “She's bad. We need to get her food. She's really bad.” She goes back in the bedroom and I get online to see about ordering some food but before I can even finish, Cub comes back out again with Bamboo on her heels who's saying stuff like, “Give me back my spare key and get out. You're not welcome here anymore.” Cub complies and gets ready to leave while Bamboo's saying ugly stuff to both of us, like, “You both hate me and I hate you. You just like to come here and treat me like shit.” I couldn't even fathom where this bile was coming from. I knew she was drunk but her words were beginning to cut. I was feeling unwelcome and hurt and I was preparing to leave too, but just before Cub left she asked me to take care of her. So I stayed as a favor to Cub.
For the next week Bamboo kept to herself. I could barely get a text or two out of her and she definitely wasn't talking to Cub. I know I hadn't done anything wrong but I couldn't help but feel the silence was born out of anger. The thing is though, she didn't remember what had happened, but she wasn't interested in finding out or apologizing for anything. I don't know if she was holding a grudge or was too embarrassed by her behavior. I was disappointed in her. For the next two weeks she made no effort to talk to her friend nor did she care at all about finding out what had happened. It was as if she felt no responsibility for the fiasco.
Sometime during that two-week hiatus, we talked and touched upon one of Bamboo's concerns. Although she and Cub argue often, it usually isn't serious. When I'm present though (according to Bamboo), those fights always become nuclear. I asked her why she thinks that happens (because I sure as hell don't try to stoke the fire). She doesn't know. I asked if it's because neither one of them wants to lose face when there's a witness? But she said no, they argue without consequence in front of other people. What can I do? I asked. "You two gang up on me all the time. Stop doing that," she replied.
It confuses me that Bamboo thinks I would be the type to pick on her or bully her. Bamboo is my best friend; I'm on her side by default. The only times I side with Cub is when Bamboo is way out of line and we have to try to stop her. We aren't able to, but even I have to try and put my foot down sometimes. But I took her words to heart and have been especially mindful of not provoking any arguments or “ganging up” on her.

That was a long aside. Like I said, last night we were having a blast. A few minutes after Cub arrived I spilled some beer on Bamboo's work laptop. Bamboo was a little concerned even though the laptop was still working fine. While getting it cleaned up I told Bamboo that if anything happened to it she could have my identical work laptop and I'd take the blame for ruining this one. Cub also tried to assure her that the computer would be fine. And I think Bamboo interpreted our re-assurances as “disagreeing” with her worry and we were “ganging up” on her again. Instantly the mood changed. She started storming around the apartment, refusing to talk to us or make eye contact, just furiously texting someone on her phone. She locked herself in the bathroom for a few minutes because she “needed space” and simultaneously telling Cub that she should leave.
So within ten or fifteen minutes of arriving, Cub was leaving again. Once she heard the door close, Bamboo came out and asked me, “Did Cub go home?”
“Yeah, she left.”
“I think you should leave too.”
That flipped a switch in my head. “Fine. Fuck it.” We'd been having such a fun time but it had come to a screeching halt. I didn't see how Cub or I had done anything to warrant this treatment. Normally I would have tried to stay and smooth things over but in that moment I was so disappointed with Bamboo's behavior that I couldn't be bothered to. By the time I got my stuff together and exited, Bamboo had gone to the exterior gate of her apartment building. It seemed like she was looking for Cub or trying to call her. She couldn't go out into the parking lot without her gate key though. As I walked out she asked, “Can you get my key?”
“Nope,” I replied. She had kicked me out so I was leaving.
“Don't be a dick.”
“No Bamboo, you're being the dick tonight.” I kept walking.
I sat down on the tailgate of some truck in the parking lot and ate my orange. I needed a minute before I hit the road. Cub pulled up in her truck and we talked for a couple of minutes. There wasn't much to say. We'd been in this situation a few times before and still had no idea how it had come about.
As I began driving home, the texts began.

Bamboo: I just needed some space.
I don't like being ganged up on
But yes, I'm the dick

Me: No one was ganging up on you.

B: Don't worry about my stuff. Please just make sure my animals get to my brother
Like I said. Just make sure they get to him.
Please?

M: Fine. I'll look out for your pets.

B: Cool.

M: Why is this happening, Bamboo?

B: You tell me. Look how you left.

M: You told me to.

B: You wouldn't even talk to me. I'm a piece of shit.
I don't belong here.
Yet I tried to talk to you and you said fuck you and left

M: I never say fuck you.

B: You did & left

M: You. Told. Me. To. Leave.

B: Yep ok.
So just let me go.
I'm done.

M: Not tonight Bamboo. If you want to kick out your closest friends, fine. I can't afford to treat people like that, but I guess you can.

B: I didn't tell either of you to leave. I was in the bathroom taking space.
And you both left.
I'm done.
Done with life.
I hate it.

M: I don't know why you point this hate at us.

B: Sure.
I was just in the bathroom
Taking space.

M: It's hard for me to understand how a person like you can say such hurtful things.

B: You wouldn't even talk to me outside.
What did I say from the bathroom
That you gang up on me together? That I don't like feeling like the odd person out
I spent hours with you last week explaining myself to you about feelings you had about that
You just left.

M: I never exclude you. Cub was literally there for three minutes before your mood soured.
And then you started hating on the both of us.

B: Yep by going to the bathroom
for some space.
Neither of you care.

M: You TOLD us to leave.

B: I'm done.
Take care.

M: This was what YOU wanted.
Fine.

B: And then when I ran out?
Good enough.
You won't be bothered by me again.

M:You can't have it both ways.



Bamboo is my best friend and I love her, but she makes it hard to care for her sometimes. Normally I would've stuck around or turned around once she started texting but I was upset and hurt so I didn't have the patience for her. I'm tired of our fun times together always ending up in ruin. Last night I was not going to put up with it.
I got up this morning at 7 to go get my storage shed ready for the move-in. I didn't hear from Bamboo. At 9:30 I texted her, “How are you doing?” No response. I couldn't find my wallet this morning so about 11 I texted her again: “I don't know what's going on with you or if you're just ignoring me, but I need to get my wallet. Can I come by?” A couple hours later she responded: “It's not here.” At 2:30 she texted me, “Hey.” I thought she wanted to talk, so I said Hey back. No response.
Since Bamboo's going to be left without a place to stay for a couple weeks, we had been planning for her to stay with me and Robin for that span. Robin had just gotten back in town today so at 6:30 I texted Bamboo, “When you get a chance, can you remind me of the dates you'll need to stay with us? I want to bring Robin up to speed.” She doesn't respond for two hours but does take a screenshot and then later reply, “I'm not on vocab”
Me: “I'm not on vocab”?
Her: You're nothing.
Me: What?
What's going on?


All of this troubles me. I know I didn't do anything bad, so I don't know why she's so angry. And these mean words hurt even more now because she's sober so they might reflect some genuine hate. I've felt terrible all day because I can't clear this bad blood between us. I'm worried that her strange outburst last night might point to some deep ugly shit or maybe even a mental issue that she's dealing with, but I can't tell what's going on with her.
The rational part of me says that it'll just take a week or so for her to cool down or forget her ire (like with the pool incident) and then she'll lower her drawbridge and we'll be okay again. But this feels worse than usual. I'm really worried.

4-11-17

May. 14th, 2017 10:32 pm
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Last week was a lot of up and downs. At the onset I extended an invitation to Bamboo. I had a pair of tickets to go see Colossal at the Drafthouse. It was a low-stakes offer. She actually responded, “I’d consider going, but I already have plans to go bowling with friends that night.” I hadn’t really expected her to take me up on the invite, but I was gladdened that she at least considered it.
Then the next day, she texted me asking if I’d deleted all the songs off of her iPod. She caught me while I was drinking and it took me a few minutes to figure out where she was coming from. I’d held onto it one evening back in November or December to look through the list of artists. When I realized she was serious, I recounted what I remembered of the night. I knew I’d done nothing fishy, but after my explanation she kept saying that she was giving me a chance to admit it.
It bothered me that she was so quick to accuse me again, months after we’d parted ways. But the next day was the greatest insult. It was the day before Good Friday so we had half a day of school followed by staff development. Unexpectedly, Bamboo caught up to me for a few seconds as we were moving from one session to another.

She said, “I want you to know I’m not angry at you.”
“Are you sure? It would be easier if you were.”
“No, it’s just material (things?).”

For the rest of the afternoon I took encouragement from her gesture of . . . forgiveness. But that evening I considered it further. She had said that she wasn’t angry at me, but not that she believed me. Forgiving me meant that she believes I did it, but is letting it go. This realization really discouraged me. I know I didn’t do it, I explained as best I could, but it didn’t matter. She believed I did it and that I was lying to her about it.
I couldn’t reconcile this. Why were we talking again if she believes I’ve lied to her in the past and continue to lie to her? I don’t want her to forgive me, I want her to believe me.
Back in January and February when I was desperate to know her thoughts, she refused to tell me. “It doesn’t matter what I believe!” she had said. Lacking a clear answer allowed me to hold onto the small hope that we’d reconcile in time. It wasn’t until this iPod conversation that it became clear. She doesn’t trust me to tell her the truth, regardless of any conversations or laughs we may share today. This truth is what I’d wanted to hear from her in January. It hurt less now than it would have hurt then, but hurt nonetheless. I feel as depressed as I had back then.
Throughout the week my emotions have swung high and low based on her responses. This tells me I’m far from over this incident. And now it was obvious that there is no trust between us. I’d been deluding myself these past few weeks, thinking that the resumption of talks meant that we were re-building our friendship. I’d been deluding myself. My misery was being kept fresh by hope.
I wrote a letter to Bamboo explaining that I was going to renew my efforts to observe that distance that she’d asked me to keep, for my own reasons this time. I basically outlined the same reasons I have here. I texted that letter to her.

She asked, “What’s this?”

A long-winded way of saying I’m going to work harder to leave you alone, for my own reasons.

I don’t need to read that. And ok. Take care.

Okay then.

I mean what am I supposed to say to that?

I don’t know if I expected any sort of response. I just thought you would see this as good news.

Why? We have been talking and being friendly. // But ok. It’s your choice. I don’t mind.

Talking to you again has meant a lot to me. But the ipod conversation showed me there’s a deep distrust between us. I don’t want to bother you with my words or presence if its always going to be tainted by distrust. I’d be wasting my time and fooling myself.

Ok.

That was Friday morning and I immediately regretted it. Her response seemed to say she didn’t really care one way or another if we stayed in touch or not. I knew a clean break would be the fastest most certain way to get past this. This isn’t what I wanted to do, but I felt it’s what I needed to do.

I held onto that commitment for two days. I don’t know if I’m weak or came around to the practical realization that I’m doing more damage by insisting on “all or nothing.” I apologized to Bamboo for the weird stuff I sent her Friday morning.

Sorry about the weird shit on Friday. I was beating myself up that day and trying to convince myself to do what I thought was right. But I don’t have the willpower to do that. I’d rather have small-talk than no talk.

:|
Why?

Why the Friday stuff or this message?

Both, I guess.

I have a bad habit of seeing things in absolutes. Since we had started talking again I thought we were starting to patch things up, but the ipod talk showed me I was mistaken. It was a bitter pill to swallow.
I still get emotional about this stuff and I thought the best way to get over it for good would be to commit to maintaining the distance you asked me for.
But then I started thinking about past times when I’ve tried to be . . . strict with myself and those close to me. It’s never worked. It sounds good in theory, but it never pans out.
So I’m giving up on optimistic hopes and accepting that things are just the way they are.”


Ok, thanks for sharing.

August 2017

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