There is no romance involved in this story. Only about a special friendship between a man and a woman gone awry—over absolutely nothing. An oversight and a miscommunication that should not have happened, had one of them put the brakes on an overwrought imagination and put more trust in a well-intentioned friend.
Both our jobs were in NGO. We thought alike, knew the same people, and did our work with intensity. He’s happily married with grown children, and I was happily single, married to my profession. The moment we met, it was like we had each found a long-lost buddy. We spoke on the phone so much that people close to us assumed we’d been friends forever —without benefits. We both felt so comfortable with each other.
I was happy he was not at all my type in the romantic sense. I was then in a relationship with someone I truly adored. I knew, too, how much he loved his wife and how comfortable she herself felt about me. She would call me occasionally when she assumed some news she picked up would be of interest to me.
One Christmas season, when the whole country was texting each other and crowding cyberspace with holiday greetings, I sent this man-friend a text which summed up the struggles we both had in our jobs. I quoted a philosopher who said that people with vision should have the courage to fly to the sun no matter if it melted their wings fulfilling those dreams.
I sent the message at 9 in the evening, but it didn’t get to him till the wee hours of the next morning. His wife saw it on her way to the bathroom and wondered what the message meant. He called me in the morning and asked what it was I was saying to him. I said it just meant we should pursue our dreams no matter how great the obstacles were. He called me three more times to squeeze from me what I really meant.
A few days later, he told me his wife has not stopped questioning our relationship. He then told me we’d have to stop our friendship for a while because of the strain it was putting on his marriage. He said we’d lie low for a month or so and let the storm pass.
That was nine years ago! We’ve not made any contact since then. It’s amazing how much can be read from a blank canvas by people who are supposedly intelligent with mature minds. How an honest friendship can be held suspect to be anything—but. How easily one can lose faith in humanity because of the inability of some to judge other people who have absolutely no hidden agenda.
Clearly you were disappointed by your friend’s inability to explain to his wife your innocent friendship with each other. The texting traffic in cyberspace that holiday season opened up his wife’s disaffection toward you, despite her seeming cordiality before. Your closeness to her husband, your frequent phone conversations must have been brewing quietly in her mind—and came to an abrupt boil with that innocent text she saw in the middle of the night.
Your friendship with this man must have been nothing but friendship to you. But what about him? Was it only friendship as well? He might have had more designs than friendship here. What may have been a totally innocent camaraderie on your part might have blown his mind by the intensity of his feelings for you. His wife might have known something was happening somewhere which he has denied to himself all along despite the platonic friendship.
There’s really no clear-cut answer to what you wrote. You found a friend. You lost a friend. But did you really—don’t you think it was his loss, not yours?
You must surely know by now that he’s not someone worthy to be called a friend. Not when you have to explain every word or every placement of a punctuation to him.