I felt alone then, as if abandoned by the world. My fiance and best man together, I was left with nowhere to turn. Who's there left to speak to? Where do you seek solace when it's your very loved ones who've fucked you over?
I remember holding my tongue about it at work the next day. My crew could sense it. I worked in the California oilfields then, on an oil rig. Part of a three man crew. There came a point, when we broke for lunch, that Bob said "Hey, is everything alright with you? I mean, you seem a little down." Joe jumped right on it: "Something's wrong man, I can tell. Something happened. You're not telling us."
I blurted it out right then. I couldn't keep it in. It's wasn't out of a sense of friendship, it was just a desperate attempt to get some sympathy. I just needed somebody to help me cuss the bitch out, pat me on the back and tell me I'd been wronged; make idle promises to cut my ex-best friend down in some back alley and make him pay for what he'd done.
But Bill didn't do shit. It was all my fault.
Bill and I were like brothers. We'd been through the kind of shit together most people only hear about. It made our bond as strong as blood. Yet women will break even that if you let them. And I let Michelle do just that.
She was a basket case, Michelle. She was jealous of everything. She couldn't be in the same room with me if another beautiful woman walked in, because all she could think of was that I was checking her out, and liking her. Even if I never looked her way. She would go ballistic on me afterwards, when we were alone. Making me pay for nothing. Hell, I couldn't even stop at the store on the way home from work because she figured I was probably seeing somebody there. Some serious insecurities...
So occasionally, when she would go into a temper tantrum that I couldn't control, I would call Bill in to help me calm her down. And he'd go talk to her, try to get her to see things more clearly. It worked...or so I thought. I never realized what was going on. Not until it was too late.
She gradually became distant and started picking fights with me about every little thing that would come along. Eventually we decided to postpone the wedding. We called it a postponement but we both knew it was over. Postponing it was just a way to gloss over the ugly truth.
We continued living together while I got a place of my own. I had a lot of bad credit problems and little to no history with people in town. I'd been there for only a short while. So, Bill was helping me find a place. Ironic, as it turned out, that Bill would be helping move out of that house so he could move his treacherous ass in there.
And so it was that while in his company, I noticed Michelle behaving toward him like a scorned woman. They weren't even openly together yet and already she was giving him shit.
Well, I had to confront him with it. He laid it all out, told me they'd fallen in love with each other, but hadn't done anything about it for my sake. They were waiting for me to be out of the picture. You know, so as not to hurt me. Well that plan was shot to shit!
As he spoke, I began to feel the most intolerable pains in my abdomen that you can imagine. The type of pains that come only when you discover you've been horribly cheated. We came close to getting ugly, but our brotherly ties prevailed. I decided I wouldn't let a woman come between us.
Now that was a far cry from granting him forgiveness. That would come much later, after their inevitable break up and his remorseful, tearful apology.
I remember, in another pathetic attempt at obtaining sympathy, a stranger at a bar responding to my solemn, end-all statement, "My bride ran off with my best man," with a straight from the hip: "Ah, that's just hit on your ego. You'll get over it. Can't help it if the bitch falls for another guy. That don't make him a better man, it just makes him luckier." That put a lot of things in perspective.
I did get over it. In fact, within the following couple of weeks I met and began courting the woman I would eventually marry. The consolation in all this was that here I am, eleven years later and still happily married, while their little stunt didn't even make it through six months. So you tell me, who is the luckier man?