Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What Would You Do?

This one has been rolling around in my head - and heart - for a few days. I keep imagining that I have written about it already; then I find nothing on the computer and realize that I had just thought about it. Again. Over and over. And then again some more.

I have picked up the phone and not made the call. I have gathered the words to confront honestly, the other version in which I belittle, and then the one in which I threaten.

There is a person who lives here in my small community with whom I was friends for many years. (I resisted the urge to insert the word 'stupidly' between 'was' and 'friends'.)
Too many years.
Friends with the community Gossip Queen.
Too many years.
Who would never talk about me that way, right?
Too many years.
For years before I had my own children, I would step in to help Marla with almost anything - firewood in a lean winter, wine on a rough day, emergency childcare for her three children, overnight care for her children to assist her 'on-the-rocks' marriage (now, long over), waived preschool tuition bills, offered my shoulder and sleeve for her name a few.
Some of these favors continued after I started my own family; the requests were unfailing, but my availability was more limited.
The addition of Elijah to our family brought along a new direction and uncharted territory, involving hours of OT, PT, and testing. With a two year old in tow. I remember calling Marla a few times to ask her to watch Supergirl while I took Elijah to some appointment. By this time, she was going through a dramatic divorce, and her response was always 'This is my alone time - I don't have the kids then, so I need that time to myself'.
Whatever; I didn't really have the time to feel jilted back then.
Then, just four months after Elijah died, I had a surprise pregnancy and an even more surprising miscarriage. Marla's commentary on this event was the wake-up call I had been ignoring for years to call it quits in this give and take relationship (I gave, she took).

"If you were taking better care of yourself and sleeping better and living a more spiritual life, this wouldn't have happened."

I remember walking her to her car and suggesting she get the hell outta my yard that instant.

At that moment, I was free. I was free to resume and maintain healthy friendships with supportive friends and be left with only the residual sheepishness of having been her friend for so damn long. For ten years I had listened to her gossip about every single person she knew, watched her take what she could from her friends, and flirt with every single friend's husband she could get near. Those memories are my cross to bear.
It was over.

Not too long ago, a good friend of mine who is one of the kindest, most patient and forgiving souls you have ever met, had a momentary lapse of reason invited Marla over for dinner out of pity after an impromptu playdate involving their daughters. During this time, Marla proved that she was still quite the chatterbox. She appalled my friend by insulting her husband, and then clawing her way through a list of common friends and their failings. Nina, who has little tolerance for such things, called her on her gossiping, and Marla admitted she 'had a problem'.
Nina then asked her about a specific situation which Marla herself had incited years ago, creating a deep rift between myself and another local woman.
A situation which, even at the time, I knew had to be somehow exaggerated considering the source, but I was so hurt and angered by it that I never explored the source or extent of the malady.
The situation?

The short version is that this woman was a friend of Marla's and threatened to call CPS on us because we lied about Elijah's age in an elevator in Hawaii.

The longer and more detailed backstory is here, and highly recommended if you wish to follow along.

So, Nina asks Marla about this situation in particular, and Marla agrees, "I probably said too much."
Nina presses on and says, "You think so? I know so."

And then, Marla tells Nina something she is sure she didn't already know.
"I know how Elijah died. I had told her too much."


"You know what?"

"Well, you know that Gwendomama was in the hospital [on too many pre-term labor drugs to count] for six weeks when she was pregnant?"
"Yes, I knew about the pre-term labor."

"Well, the reason she was in the hospital was because she was anorexic and starving herself and then...well...the know...."

It was at this point that my friend Nina ended the conversation, then sat on it for two weeks before she could even tell me. I appreciate that she did.
But I am beyond angry. Beyond hurt.

To take the knowledge of someone's past - a painful past which took years of effort to work beyond - and then use it to form some crackerjackass diagnosis for not only me but for MY CHILD -


Wait. They are coming.

And then? Then to spread that diagnosis around the mountain like poison oak, because that is what Marla does -

I think of the hatred I have carried around for this woman, and now I feel horrible! I can understand why she freaked out if she had believed Marla's backstory.
I don't entirely forgive her for being so fucking superior and ignorant at the same time, but I this whole story is different now.

I think of all the people up here who have looked at me and wondered if her story was true...I want to kill her.


I have not called Marla, I have not shown up at her door (which itself shows incredible restraint since I do know where she lives), I have not exposed her real name, and I have not even sent her a letter insisting that she cease and desist defamation of character.

I don't currently trust myself, so I am giving myself some time to calm down.
Just a little.

So......What would YOU do?


Blaize said...

Because I would NEVER be able to say what I needed to say without crying and then punching her (or vice versa), I would have someone else, someone I TRUST, talk to that person and tell her to Shut the Fuck Up. Because I really don't need an assault charge at this point in my life.

Sophie said...

I am speechless really. I am amazed at your restraint. What a bitch. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this shit.

To answer your question I would probably wait a bit. After that, I honestly don't know. :( Not much use to you, sorry.

Lin said...

I would call my attorney and get her to write a cease and desist letter to this sorry excuse for a woman and suggest there could be repercussions for her lies. That there are laws to protect people from defamation of character.

Then I'd hire a hit man (j/k).

L xoxo

And G, we have all had 'Marias' in our lives...not all as damaging as this bitch, but we've had toxic 'friendships.' Don't beat yourself up over it.

Gretchen said...

I think I've followed the story, and with that - it would take every ounce of will in my body not to open a can of whoop-ass.

RoseRedHoofbeats said...

Should you ever have a momentary lapse in judgement of your own and say, tell me where she lives so I can leave a flaming bag of dog shit on her porch, you know... I wouldn't be opposed.

Fucking cunt. I can't believe she said that to you.

Also, if you want to get really juvenile, tampons soaked in cherry syrup are really gross looking and IMPOSSIBLE to get off.

Vicus Scurra said...

What Lin said. She is very wise.

Rachel Inbar said...

Aside from calling an attorney (which I would consider, but I don't know if I'd do), I would try to trust my true friends and hope that they are smart enough not to buy into whatever they hear.

mama to many said...

how strange, I went through something very similar just before and sadly *while* she died. I never really responded, because I obviously had better things to deal with, but NOW over a year later I'm PISSED! Some people are so miserable in their own lives they have to seek and destroy to make themselves feel better. Sorry I don't have any advice. It sucks.

mamadaisy said...

jesus H, how evil. how sick! this woman has a problem that she cannot control. after putting away my icepick, i would be tempted to call a lawyer. i don't know if anything could really be done legally, but she deserves at least a threatening letter.

good for you for not smacking her already.

Aunt Jennie/Dee-Dee said...

Ok sis-in-law! I know people!!!! I'll send them out! Seriously! That bitch! That bitch! That's all I can say! WTF??!! I'll send them after her AND the wacko that ran Supergirl off the road! that I got that off my chest...I'm glad you are using restraint! Truly, an assault charge you don't need. I'm very proud of you! Now that that is said, let's get her!! I LOOOOOOOOVE the cherry syrup on the tampon! That's cool! We know B would send a GREAT legal letter...but actually, you write so well G that you should write the letter. Calm, cool, collected, stern, heartfelt. You can do it! After reading your words, she'll want to dig a hole & jump in after you are done with her. Write the letter and then move on. Forget her! Hang in there!!! Hugs...

Jerri Ann said...

I hate confrontation. I will avoid it at all costs just because I am like that. I'd rather just sulk in my own body and mind than have to confront with that said, is egging her house out of the question?

InTheFastLane said...

I just read through some of your posts about Elijah, since I did not know. And I have just finished wiping my tears off my face before co-workers find me this way.

I don't know what I would do. I think, I would want to hide from her forever, in fear that I might kill her if we met.

The Governor said...

I'd take a deep breath and remember that she'll get hers, if she hasn't already. As you are soooo aware, life is too precious. Don't waste the priceless moments on those who don't deserve them. It sucks, but she is just not worth the effort. Going after her only serves to tear you down - because it's not like she's going to change.

Boss of Seattle said...

MONA is and idiot! Woops! I meant to say Marla. I bet you and I could write one scary legal style letter to her, and the next time she pulls into school and sees you walking by, she will turn around and scurry home. Then we can egg her house...

Lori said...

I am so sorry Gwendomama. So, so sorry. There are enough "what ifs" and "should haves" running through our brains when we lose a child. For someone to infer that you would do anything to harm your child is horrifying. And just adds to the grief.

With that said, everyone knows a Marla. And everyone knows these Marlas wouldn't know the truth if it jumped up and bit them in their oversized arses. So I'm sure no one believes a word she has said. She's not worth wasting a single thought on. Don't give her the gift of your time and energy. She doesn't deserve it.

Squid said...

Be straight with her the next time you see her. Tell her, in the calm but beyond-frank manner you have already mastered, that you do not not need negativity in your life, that your community does not appreciate her behavior, and (if need be) that her continued compulsion to spread negativity is indicative of a mental condition for which she should be seeking help. Get a friend to come with you and back you up.

You do need to confront her, so that you know you've done everything in your power to handle the situation, to give yourself an outlet to channel being fucked over by her repeatedly.

And since this probably won't work, at least in terms of getting her to change her behavior (because she really does sound ill), any future mention of her and her lies should be met with, "Mona has spread lies about me, I asked her to stop, and she refused. She no longer exists, as far as I'm concerned."

Love you.

Mama Deb said...

She sucks. I'm so sorry about this :(

MFA Mama said...

I...have no words for a situation like that. I mean, part of me wants to be all "well, YOU know it's not true, and anyone who KNOWS you knows you would never--" and part of me wants to be all "and then we douse her in bear pheremones and leave her in the middle of Yellowstone with her hands superglued to her knees."

Probably you should do the cease-and-desist order thingy. That goes on her record, and if/when she does something like this to someone else, they'll have more recourse. Sadly there's not a damn thing you can do to MAKE someone shut up if they are genuinely insane, so I don't know that such an order would even help YOU, but it might be good for the old karma for you to address this issue through the non-bear-pheremone-type channels.

Cindy said...

I'll help you and the Boss with the eggs. Because I can't even begin to think what you could do with words. But as long as people who love you know the truth, can you find a way for that to be enough? No, neither could I. Eggs.

RoseRedHoofbeats said...

I'm telling you people, the tampons are better. They don't leave permanent damage like eggs so you don't have to worry about paying for it if you get caught. =P

Anonymous said...

What a cow.

You should bring her the fuck down.

Blaize said...

After thinking about this, I realized that I agree with The Governor above. I used to be a far more vengeful and wrathful person, but a quote from Richard Wright has changed me. Surely one of the greatest American authors of the twentieth century, Wright says,

"People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become, and they pay for it, very simply, by the lives they lead."

You needn't do a thing. That person has to be herself, and that is more punishment than you could ever mete out to her.

Lunasea said...

Wow, there's a woman with some serious problems. She must have an unfathomably huge black hole inside her. I agree that that's punishment enough.

Anonymous said...

You have the patience of a saint. I don't know how in the world you continuously restrain yourself, but if I were you, I'd be beating people up left and right.

Tricia said...

I'm with Squid. Except for maybe after the part where you say- "she no longer exists for me" you could mention something about how weird it is that M. still persists in believing that no one can smell vodka on her breath...

Anonymous said...

Ok first of all what a bitch. Secondly do I neeed to come kick her ass? I am freakishly strong andin the mood for a rumble. Seriously. Love ya babe. Let me know what you decide to do, I'll back ya either way.
Oh and love the cart wheel pic. I thought for a minute that I was on my blog and that it was me. Oh wait you are much thinner, and I have bigger tits hahahah.

Boss of Seattle said...

Well my dear, it is done. I called Mona as you requested and let her know that her behavior is UNACCEPTABLE and that it does not only hurt you, but her as well. I told her the next step is to have a lawyer to write her a letter and that her actions are not only hurtful, but ACTIONABLE. I hope this lays this one to rest (no morbid pun intended). So Mona, if you are reading this, consider yourself warned...

And btw, it felt GREAT!

Redneck Mommy said...

Wow. I'd get a lawyer all over that Mona's ass faster than her eyes could blink.

I'm so sorry. What utter bullshit for you to have to go through.

Smooches friend.