Sunday, March 27, 2011

It Puts the Lotion on Its Skin

I know you remember that line. From Silence of the Lambs - remember? Buffalo Bill has his latest victim in the pit and he's lowered a bucket with lotion for her to run all over her soon to be filleted plus-sized body. Ick, gives me the willies just thinking about it! Alas it's all I can think about with the peculiarities of a former friend. Or should I say, future former friend. He's not taking the break-up very well and I'm running all kinds of scenarios through my head... like, I'm Ronald Regan and he's John Hinckley and everything's moving in slow motion while Secret Service men knock me to the ground, shouting "Gun!"

This particular friend came from a bible study this particular heathen used to attend. He was always odd but well-intended, and while awkward and possessing poor social skills, once he got over his discomfort around you (God forbid he be around people) he could be funny and caring. He did have a lot of anger - it would bubble up on occasion, always carefully, tightly contained. It was like you could see the steam coming out but he never let the lid off the pot. I think in my naivete I figured some good old fashion friendship and support would help him. He became a movie buddy. We'd connect every so often and go to a screening together. And once, when he had no place to stay before his next apartment came up, he crashed with me for a couple of weeks.

Some kind of scandal arose at the bible study a few months back surrounding him and his seeming refusal to accept the end of friendship with a young woman at the study (are we seeing a pattern emerge here?) and he eventually was asked to leave it. By that time I had felt the flames of eternal hellfire licking at my heels too frequently to continue with the study, lest I infect my more Christian brethren with my sinful ways, so I never caught all of the drama. But I did hear from him that he was asked not to attend. I heard it every time we talked. Every time he called, whether we spoke or he left me a voicemail, the message started off something like this "Yeah, so I got some interesting stuff to tell you..." As in, I've got more angry gossip stuff to spread all over you and drag you down into my self-angry hellhole with me, bwaa ha haa.

The other day I ran into his former roommate and we chatted about the study drama and our mutual friend.  Former roommate confided in me that my future former friend is a (closeted) transvestite, something the roommate stumbled upon by accident. Closeted, for sure. You think I'm a sinning heathen? Slap a woman's dress on a Christian man and you've got one FastPass to Hell, coming right up! So he's a transvestite. Rock on, baby! Do your thing. Be the most beautiful woman you can be, hairy legs and all. But to hide it from me - to be secretive and deny that you're doing it, even when I, a very open-minded and trustworthy friend shared deeply personal stories with you... that doesn't sit comfortably with me. And then I thought about his anger, the rage I often sensed was just below the surface, and I started getting freaked out. Anger, awkward social interactions, secretive, deeply rooted issues... more than I can handle in a "friend" who will not address or admit to his rage. He's got a timer just ticking away inside and given my new found understanding of the depth of his issues, I just thought... Not me. You're not making an all-weather wrap out of me, 'Bill. I'm out.

Finally the other day came the voicemail from him I knew would arrive one day, the angry, I-don't-know-why-you're-blowing-me-off message, with the end tag "If I don't hear from you I won't call again" ...followed by an email today saying "Just want to make sure you got my phone message? If not, call me. If so, you can just ignore this email."

I don't want to engage him any further. How do you tell the rational truth to an irrational person? "You have a lot of anger issues and I'm concerned everything that's been building since you were a boy in a very abusive home is going to come up one day soon and explode. You'd benefit from professional psychological help. What do you say?" Yeah. And then he hands you the bottle and tells you to start spreading the lotion.

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