The horrible person

I’ve avoided talking about The Horrible Person. I will sound whiny and bitter. It’ll read ‘poor me.’

I don’t really know why I’m doing it, now. I just can’t stop myself, being the victim of such great trauma.

My Oldest Friend and I were actually part of a threesome. The house we stayed in from first through sixth grade came with a girl, two years older. (My Oldest Friend had a year on me. She was there also for kindergarten.)

The Horrible Person boosted herself by choosing one of us to be in the good with her, and teaming up against the other. This always involved cruelty.

For instance, once they locked me in the sunroom and made cookies. They waggled them in the window. They waited until they were sure I was watching to eat them.

When we were in our 30s My Oldest Friend called to tell me it was time to set aside my anger and call or write. The Horrible Person had fallen asleep driving. She was alive, but badly injured. She is permanently mangled. Fine.

There are three possibilities to my being the only one with hatred in my soul: My Oldest Friend is more mature and forgiving; I was on the wrong side of the trio more than she; or her memory sucks. It’s probably a dash of each.

I rue my extraordinary memory, as you know.

I’m thinking about this tonight, because we just got back from the theater. I was raised on Broadway musicals, and so were my children. Two weeks ago we went to see Avenue Q; last week we went to The Producers; tonight we went to Little Shop of Horrors; and next weekend we’re seeing both Once Upon a Mattress and Thoroughly Modern Millie.

When I was 9 the sensation was Annie. We all knew the soundtrack by the time it came to the Shubert in Los Angeles. The Horrible Person and My Oldest Friend went to see it together. They came back all smiles and tales of greatness.

Then my grandparents took me for my 10th birthday.

I was excited, and it was great. I couldn’t wait to go back and talk about it with the girls.

When I was on the porch the next Monday at 6 a.m., hand on the knob ready to enter, I heard The Horrible Person telling My Oldest Friend, “She’ll be all hyper about ‘Annie.’ Don’t talk about it with her. If she tries to talk about it, get up and leave the room.”

So I acted as if I hadn’t gone.

Just like tonight, I remember it fresh every time I see a show — just for a moment, when I want to share my excitement.

Now you can put away your violins. I’m done talking about her.

link to photos

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11 Responses to “The horrible person”

  1. Mike Says:

    I sometimes wonder if our good little responsible habit of not talking about these wounds–much less pointing fingers at those who inflicted them–keeps us from healing. Sure, we’re not being victims, at least not whiny ones. But maybe in our outward silence we end up being nastier overall. Thanks for whining just a little here. And here’s to the healing it opens up for us all.

  2. T. Says:

    I’m nasty for sure, but very kind.

  3. gunky Says:

    hi! “oldest friend” here! i don’t remember this instance. of course. i do remember “the horrible person” being not only the elder of the three of us, but the much larger one, and her dominating and orchestrating our time together. i don’t think she was evil. i do think she was jealous, and i do think that the two of you especially didn’t get along. but please believe me when i tell you that i never, never ever, have had a malicious feeling toward you. i love you!

    i am way behind on the musicals. the ones i have seen in the last ten years make me burst out in laughter. i can not suspend my disbelief. but i haven’t seen any of these major new ones. i still have hope.

  4. T. Says:

    Of course I don’t blame you.
    Sometimes you were on the wrong end of it. The worst instance of this that I remember is when she made a list of mean things to say about you and had me re-write the lyrics to ‘I Will Survive.’ We sang it to you and made you cry.
    I also remember when we finally were old enough to get out from her power, and we wrote letters telling her exactly how we felt about her.
    Our moms were called by The Horrible Person’s mom, and when my mom picked us up from ballet class she was pissed at us.
    I never thought you had malice. My eyes were open.
    I love you too, a bushel and a peck.

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