About 8 years ago or so, I ran into someone I had known since Elementary School. KBO had married the older brother of the girl I named KC for. That was kind of weird, but cool at the same time. We struck up a, cautious at first, friendship and were getting along pretty well. In ES we had been what I would call friendly, but not really friends. She was 2 years ahead of me and you know how that goes in ES, right?
Flash forward to High School. We re-met there and were friendly again. KBO was BFF's with JLP. I had no idea who JLP was then, until I started dating MM. He was also BFF's with JLP. He introduced us and tried to start a friendship between the two of us. That just did not happen. Not long after that, MM started "playing us off each other" as often happens in HS. In hindsight, it was a power play, but back then we were cluless to recognize the manipulation for what it was. It short order JLP and I hated each other and by default KBO had to hate me too.
At some point MM and I broke up and he started dating KT. I had known KT for some years as her BFF and one of my BFF's were pals and we knew each other in peripheral terms. We lived near each other and out of sheer lack of others to do stuff with, we occasionally attempted to hang out. We were tolerant of each other for the most part, but I would not say we were friendly so much. Suddenly lots of ugly things about me that only MM could have known -- and distorted -- were going around school. I presumed that they were told by MM to KT and that they were then shared with KT's friends, because that is what girls do. However, there is plenty reason to suspect that MM was the one who was doing the talking. So, the already tenuous relationship I had with KT was severed for good by all this.
Generally we all moved on to other things... except for that little thing called hate between us girls. KT and I just steered clear of each other. I steered clear of JLP, because she had announced that she was gonna beat me up if we crossed paths... I was so NOT interested in that! LOL! Later I was dating JZ, whom we all know as the father of my first born. To say we had a rocky relationship would be an understatement. JZ was from another school. That particular school had a significant concentration of what we would call rednecks. Far more than my school did, though the rednecks school was in a hoity-toity neighborhood. JLP was friendly with LOTS of these rednecks! So, dating JZ was all the more difficult, because as soon as the redneck population got wind of my volatile relationship with JLP, I was an outcast. JZ was penalized for it also. Why he stuck with it for 4 years with all that hate going around is beyond me!
We used to go bowling a lot, because it was cheap. Everyone knew I would see "red" at the mention of JLP's name, so if I was having an off night, my friends would chant her name and I would see her face on the 1 pin, front and center. I nearly always got a strike if I got a good vision of her there! Though there were few encounters with JLP, the ones that did occur were full of ugly invectives... Again, we all moved on to new things, friendships and relationships, but that hate lingered on.
Getting back to reconnecting with KBO, there was some uneasiness on my part about the friendship, because I learned that she was still BFF's with JLP. I really did not want to get into a thing and have KBO in the middle. KBO had one of those "sex toy" parties and I was invited. I had never been to one, but I was looking to get out of the house and so I went. JLP was there. I knew she would be but seeing her in person was altogether different and I was nervous enough that I stood the whole time, in the back of the group, as far away from her as possible! At the end, I was hoping to make a clean getaway, but KBO wanted me to stay. I bit the bullet and did... so did JLP.
As it turns out, we got to talking about the past and the reasons for our dislike of each other. In the end we learned that MM had told each of us that we were the problem in why he did or said things. He played us against each other using me as an excuse to not be able to hang out with JLP anymore and using JLP as an excuse for going out and doing stuff without me around. In the end we realized that the whole problem was centered around MM and his many manipulations. It really sucks to think that we allowed a guy to have so much power over our lives and here we both thought we were pretty strong people back then. We know we are now, but damn that stings.
JLP and I are friends now. When I do get to go home for visits, which are fewer and further between now, I always make a point to see her. We try to have lunch, dinner or drinks to catch up and I consider her a treasured friend now.
A few weeks back, I got a FB message from KT. We share many mutual friends on FB and have commented on things at the same time. I gave up my maiden name when I got married, so I did not even think she had any idea who I was. Eventually she put 2 and 2 together and got in touch. She was looking to find an old friend that she heard I was still in touch with. We chatted a bit back and forth, feeling out the situation. Turns out our mutual problem was definitely related to MM and once again it was discovered that we were manipulated. I never thought MM was smart enough for these kinds of manipulations, but apparently I/we underestimated him ~ A LOT!
Now, KT and I are FB friends. Who knows where this is headed, if anywhere -- but I am game to let it play out. She is quite the funny person and I have to wonder, as I did after connecting with JLP, how things might have been different if MM had not had so much power in our HS lives. The thing I have realized is that it is my fault, and JLP and KT's as well, that we allowed MM to have this control and worse yet that we failed to see it for what it was. After all, even if we weren't as knowledgeable back then about human nature, we certainly had some idea of this behavior or there would have been significantly less drama in HS all around.
If you had a jackhole like MM in your life that you think may have been a significant player in causing this kind of problem with people, I say reach out and friend up. I never thought in a million years I would be friends in any way with the two people in the world I considered my mortal enemies. Life is short and friendships are valuable, if only you allow the past not to interfere in your future.
I have to say that HS should be left there. Too many people are far into their adult years and still behaving the same way as in HS. I had to grow up too fast for that kind of BS to factor in my life so much. I imagine if I gave it a chance to fester I could easily revert to that kind of mind-set. Thankfully, I prefer to leave HS in the past and I believe I have discovered 2 people that are proof that I have made the right decision!