“So how have you been?” Jen asked when I sat down.
“Good, really good, actually.” If it weren’t for the conversation I knew we were about to have, I would have meant it whole-heartedly.
“So I wanted to start by apologizing for how I acted last week,” Jen took a sip of her water. I noticed her hands were shaking. “It was completely inappropriate of me to hijack your night like that, and I feel terrible about it. I’m really sorry.”
“Thank you, I appreciate that.”
“Also, I never got to tell you congratulations on the book deal, that is really exciting, Josie.”
“Thanks,” I stuffed a piece of bread in my mouth. Even though I genuinely accepted Jen’s apology, I just couldn't bring myself to act warms toward her, knowing what she was about to tell me.
“There’s something else I want to talk to you about.” Now Jen looked really nervous.
“Andrew and I are back together, we’re going to try and work things out.” She spit it out so quickly that all of her words jumbled together in one long, nearly-incoherent string. “We’re not engaged, we’re going to take it slow.” As if that makes it any better, I thought.
I paused for a few moments, chewing. When I swallowed my food, I said, “I don’t know what you want me to say.”
“Please just support me.”
“I can’t, Jen, I’m sorry. It’s your life, and your choices, and I respect that, but it doesn't mean I have to support it.”
“You should support me being happy. That’s what good friends do.” Jen leaned forward and I could see tears shining in her eyes. “Being with Andrew makes me happy. We are not perfect, not even close, but we are committed to getting back on track. He even said he would see a couples’ therapist with me.”
“A couples’ therapist!” I couldn't help but laugh. “Jen, you’re 24, he’s 25, if you need a couples’ therapist now, what are you going to need in 10 years? A freaking straight jacket?”
“Fuck off,” Jen muttered as she slumped back in her chair. That temper of hers again.
“Jen, I don’t have to take this, to take your fiancé feeling me up, then you not believing me and lashing out like a 2-year-old, then you flirting with my boyfriend, and now this ridiculous expectation of yours that I should ‘have’ to support you no matter what you do, and if I don’t, I’m not a good friend.” My voice pitched, and I could feel people looking at us, but I didn't care. “I am a very good friend. My friends are extremely important to me, but if Peter ever did to you what Andrew did to me, or if Peter ever cheated on me the way Andrew did, then I would hope to God that you would believe me, and that you would fucking say something if I was about to make the biggest mistake of my life by getting back together with him.”
“You’re so dramatic, Josie, this isn’t the biggest mistake of my life.” Jen was trying to be sarcastic, and blasé, but I could see her unease rippling beneath it all.
“Jen, I really hope it isn’t. I hope this works out, for your sake, but I can’t watch it go to shit again.” I put a $20 on the table to cover my drink and the appetizer we ordered.
“You’re serious?” Jen narrowed her gaze at me as I stood. “You’re seriously going to stop being friends with me because you don't like my boyfriend. Are you in the sixth grade?”
“Bye, Jen,” I had had enough of her insults. My rage was so high, I couldn't stop myself from adding, “And on second thought, since I’m apparently a middle-schooler, I’ll say something very sixth grade—I hope it doesn't work out. I hope he makes an even bigger fool out of you than he already has and I get to say ‘I told you so.’”
I swear, Jen’s jaw unhinged as I walked out.
Phew. Okay, not my finest moment at the end there, but this so-called friend had pushed me over the edge and then some. So I think I deserved to get in one little dig after the laundry list of ways she’s insulted me over the last few weeks.