H was a colleague of mine. We worked together from 2007-2008 before I realised I needed to leave that job to challenge myself in a better career.
She was another loud, confident character. An Irish girl who loved attention and seemed very easy to get on with. We bonded straight away and had a very intense friendship. She was away from all her friends back home so clung to me quite quickly. I didn’t mind, I needed to focus my attention to anyone other than my needy father. I opened up to her very soon into our friendship. She was shocked at first, she had met my Dad and assumed like all the others that he was a kind and decent man. He was generous in front of her and acted like the proud father he certainly was not. I never rejected his kindness in front of her, it would have been foolish to do so as it would have created an unnecessary argument.
She didn’t dispute or fight my accusations against my father as many others have in the past. She was just surprised as our relationship seemed so normal and my father seemed so loving.
During the year of 2007, we spent a lot of time socialising together, regularly going out to bars and flirting with men. From very early on, it was clear that H was a bit of a man-hater. She had clearly been hurt in the past and had very candid and brazen opinions of the opposite sex. She was over-protective of me and would “assess” the men I spoke to. She rarely approved of any of them. I was twenty five and had never had a long term relationship that I felt could have a future. I wanted to meet someone who I could love. It was something I saw happening. H wasn’t impressed often reiterating how useless men were and that I’d be better off without one.
At the end of 2007, I decided to become part time at the job I was doing and focus on Teaching. I went on a Teaching English as a Foreign Language course in the heart of London.
That course would eventually change my life. Not just in the career sense but it was where I first met my husband, David.
We began dating a month after the course having first begun a friendship. H was suspicious straight away. She couldn’t and wouldn’t trust any man especially ones that I had taken a shine to. She immediately hated David.
Having met him at my twenty sixth birthday party she was confused as to why I was with him. Questioning how I could be attracted to someone who was clearly the polar opposite of me. I was confident, friendly and fun. He was shy, quiet and distant. That was how she saw us but I knew we were both very different than that. We both had layers that we revealed only to each other. H never saw beyond the confidence. I had to be like that in my profession, I wanted to excel in my job and be respected by my peers. I was a people pleaser, a chameleon, I found it easy to adapt to different situations. Inside, there was much more to me as there was to David. We discovered those parts of us together, it was one of the reasons I fell for him.
My best friend K was there that night too. She also worked with us once before she also realised she was better than the job too. K made a few comments the following morning which resonated in my mind. She was shocked that H would not leave my bedroom when we returned, placing herself on my bed as David and I waited to go to sleep. She attempted to launch into a big conversation about nothing just to irritate David and I. It wasn’t going to happen, neither of us were that rude. I think K even tried to usher her to her own room but she just wouldn’t budge. K thought it was strange that H was so possessive and desperate of my attention.
I had never thought of her like that but K was right.
After that night, I began going out less with H, instead I spent most of my weekends travelling down to Essex to visit David. I didn’t mind the journey, I was so happy to be away from my father’s grasp.
H criticised that I was never free and had put a man before our friendship even though she saw me every day at work. It did not faze me, I had longed to meet a man like this for so long I was not about to throw it away. She, in my mind, was still my friend and I was hoping that she would not be insulted or take it as rudeness. I just wanted to make my relationship with David last. It was incredibly important to me.
Eventually her anger came out.
In a long winded message over Facebook, H launched a verbal attack on my personality.
I was horrified.
I was not expecting it.
It was cruel and merciless. She mocked and insulted me freely, accusing me of exaggerating my father’s behaviour for attention. She ridiculed David and shocked me with her nasty words that so naturally fell from her poisonous mouth.
I was upset. I was annoyed. How could I have fallen into this mess again? What the hell was I doing attracting these venomous people into my life? Was it true, were her words true? Too many girls have said it to me before it cannot be false.
Was my father a bad man or was I creating that in my head for attention?
NO, of course not! It happened and it happened to me. She could not face the truth. None of them could.
I won’t be held under suspicion or challenged by short-sighted people.
It is my truth, my life and H was not meant to be a part of it.
The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.