It was my senior year of college at the University of Washington. I worked as a cocktail waitress at the Tally Ho, which were restaurant lounges in three hotels in Seattle. I had worked my way up from hostess to breakfast waitress to cocktails during my years in school.
One night at work, I got a phone call from a suicide hotline. (I need give a shout out to LA from Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50 for her post about her burn and reminding me of a scar I still carry.)
The person on the line said they received a call from a family member of mine who attempted to end their life. She refused to give me any more information and quickly hung up. I called back and learned the phone call was an error. They were not allowed to give out confidential information of any kind. They weren’t supposed to call me in the first place and could give me no further information.
My parents were going through a messy divorce. I remember feeling like gravity had disappeared and at any moment I would fall off the Earth.
I left work and drove home to Snohomish to our family home, which was 45 minutes away from Seattle. I remember commuting to school and staying home with Mom as much as possible. She was the person who called the suicide hotline and gave them my work number after slitting her wrist.
Weeks later, we were at Nordstrom downtown Seattle and Mom wanted make up for her scar on her wrist. I was mortified when she approached a woman at a counter and asked for help. She showed her scar on her wrist and the woman behind the counter after an initial shocked look, was gracious and found something for my mom to cover up the scar.
Unfortunately, my internal scar never went away.
I was taking a class at the UW in radio broadcast and I had to splice together a recording. I chose the Beatles song “Help” and wrote a piece about the suicide hotline. My professor was very concerned and wondered why I had chosen that specific topic.
I am amazed I made it through the quarter and graduated.
Speaking of scars, which ones do you carry with you physically or internally?
Have you ever been around a couple who isn’t getting along? We have close friends who are going through a difficult time. When the four of us are together, you’d never know anything is wrong. We laugh, enjoy each other’s company and reminisce when we became friends before kids.
But when I’m alone with my friend, she confides to me that things are not all rainbows and sunshine. It’s been this way more than a year at least and seems to be getting worse.
I brought it up to my husband and he said he’s hearing similar things from the husband.
He wants to ignore it and enjoy our friendship. Compartmentalize it. Somehow it seems fraudulent, but I’m going along. I’m not a making waves type.
I feel like if my girlfriend is complaining to me and it’s that bad, why doesn’t she do something? Get counseling or stand her ground? Or, are they stuck in ugly relationship patterns? I do complain a bit about my husband, too. It’s something many wives do. I’m going to stop that because I see how it looks from the receiving end. But this feels different to me.
We’ve had two or three couples we’ve hung out with who got divorced. One divorce ended a relationship with one of my husband’s childhood friends, because after coming to my husband for advice, my husband confided that the wife made a pass at me! She did. Then my husband’s friend made up with his wife and they blamed US for their problems. Eventually they got divorced.
The other couple wasn’t as close to us and I realized that when we talked to the husband, he’d use whatever we said to attack his wife. So I kept my distance and my mouth shut.
I guess our single friends are easier to be around.
How involved do you get with your friends’ relationships? Have you ever offered advice that has come back to bite? Do you give relationships advice or avoid it?Have you been around friends who aren’t getting along?