Many years ago when I did whatever I could to see another Phil Collins concert, I had the surprising experience of hearing him talk about one of his divorces. I just wanted to hear him sing, but being with him and the thousands of other people for his short storytelling about a super painful time in his life made me like him more. I didn’t think that was possible. He decided to tell us a little story about how people in his life chose to stand in separate corners, like in a boxing ring, during the divorce fallout. He mentioned how people who he thought would always be in his life chose not to be anymore. I remember thinking how mean that was. Poor Phil Collins. He went on to sing “That’s all” which talks about loving someone more than he wanted to.
Back then, in my twenties, I really didn’t have a clue as to what he was talking about. Then came my forties. I had this friend of twenty-four years. We were college roommates. We religiously watched America’s Funniest Home Videos together every Sunday night. It was our time. We laughed until we peed sometimes. When she went away to the East Coast to study, I sent her care packages and visited her. I was in her wedding; she was in mine. She called me “Darbielou” and kicked my butt at tennis. She encouraged me to move to Redding. So I did. Friends for life…I thought.
Then came my divorce and that same thing that Phil talked about happened to me. I couldn’t believe it. My college friend took my ex’s side. If we could have literally stood in a boxing ring, my friend and her husband would have been in my ex’s corner coaching him on. Left jab. Right upper cut. They would have been screaming and yelling from the corner. Heck, they might have even jumped in the ring and thrown a few punches themselves. At least that’s how it felt. Talk about being sucker punched. Even though Phil warned me; I never expected it. I wasn’t prepared. How do you prepare for that?
The hurt and betrayal stayed with me for many years. I’ve felt super angry, but mostly hurt. I wanted my friend back and I wanted to know why. I wanted to talk to her, hang out, play tennis, laugh, but that didn’t happen. It was so hard to understand and accept. Eventually I had to accept that she wasn’t my friend. She stood in his corner regardless of our history, but I also stood in mine.
Six years later, I had pushed most of my thoughts of her away so I didn’t hurt anymore. Then one day, I just couldn’t stop thinking about her. It was overwhelming. Initially, I thought maybe the time had come for our reconciliation. Although I had many moments when I just wanted to cuss her out, I mostly wanted our friendship to mend. That hope lived in me. It felt so bad to have someone I loved not love me anymore.
Today I don’t know if our friendship will ever be again. I waited too long. I let her position in my ex’s corner take over. In my mind, that was reason enough to avoid even trying, but it wasn’t. I should have tried harder. When she went to his side, I told her I was mad at her. I’m pretty sure she thought I remained angry, which I did for a long time. I only reached out once. Knowing what I know now, I wish I would have made a bigger effort to communicate with her. Things would be different.
My friend was in a terrible car accident and ended up in a coma. I heard she woke up, but that she’s not really okay. There are many secrets surrounding her condition due to the health care privacy act and strange circumstances. I know she’s hurting and I just want to send her my support and love, but I can’t for many reasons that are out of my control. I’ve done as much as the circumstances will allow and it just doesn’t feel like enough.
In real boxing matches, boxers often hug after the fight or at least shake hands. They battle, then it’s over. Taking corners only temporarily. In life, when people take corners they seem to stay there for a long time, depending on the circumstances. The problem is that you just never know when someone won’t be able to hear you anymore. You never know when your last chance to try to fix the situation may be gone.
I wish I had the chance to tell her I forgive her for taking sides, standing in his corner, because I do. I’d like to ask her for forgiveness for my anger and my errors in judgement. The chance to talk it out would be healing. I wish for anyone who’s taken a corner in someone else’s divorce to reunite with the person and let the past go. If we stay in our corners, we cannot heal. Corners are meant for enemies, not friends. Harboring negative feelings doesn’t do anyone any good. She and I should have left our corners, fought it out, and hugged. I miss her more than ever and now it’s too late. I can only pray that she will get her memory back so we can talk again. May I never lose another friend and if I do may we find a way back to what we once had.