Thursday, July 30, 2009

Stories of Friendship and Betrayal: Part 1

We were in our middle to late twenties. I was the office manager, she was the receptionist. We formed an unlikely friendship. She was a shopaholic and just about every day, at noon, there was a delivery of items of clothing to her reception desk from a local store. Her blonde hair was maintained weekly - roots touched up, manicures and pedicures were de rigeur. I marvelled at the high level of her self-maintenance. She was most appealing in a roundish kind of way, hard to explain. She had a lot of dimples, in her cheeks, on her elbows, in her knees. These were the days of micro-mini skirts. Her face had an attractive smattering of golden freckles. I’ll call her Frieda.

We both had toddler daughters. She had a convertible. We would cruise Bloor Street, a high end shopper’s paradise in Toronto. The radio would be blaring, the girls would be in the back, pre-carseat days. The children would wave like royalty to the passing parade. We would have songs like “Brandy” and “Down on the Corner” blaring for the whole street to enjoy. The four of us would giggle uncontrollably. The world was ours. Husbands? They dwelled somewhere on the back burners of our lives. Truth.

Her husband, Len, was Italian. He was her brother’s best friend. He played hockey on Friday nights even though he was extremely heavy and completely out of shape for such a strenuous sport. He paid the price and had a severe heart attack on the ice at the age of 28 and was hospitalized and in therapy for 6 weeks.

I took pity on Frieda. At this stage she was a grass widow and she confessed she had never really loved Len. He had been kind enough to take her on as a ‘favour’ to her brother. You see Frieda had a child at sixteen, given up for adoption. She was considered ‘damaged’ goods and the family were grateful to Len for marrying her.

My husband played a lot of rugby and there was an active and fun social life associated with this. I invited Frieda to one of the Saturday night dances to cheer her up as she was so melancholy and had told me the weekends, after visiting Len, were very lonely and boring. The dances were a hoot - they always had a live rock band and manly chug-a-lug competitions. What can I tell you. We were young.

Halfway through the night, I noticed my husband was missing. I asked around. Someone mentioned he was on the long balcony off the second floor dance hall. I went out. And there he was. With Frieda. In an unmistakeable and passionate clinch.

I was sickened. I had to go to the washroom and throw up, literally. Afterwards, when I came out of the washroom and spotted him I tackled him on what had happened. He denied it. Said I had to be imagining things. It was someone else.

I had to see Frieda every workday, of course. Walk right by the reception desk. She reported to me. The relationship got very chilly and strictly business. Someone said she was having an affair with a guy in the office downstairs. He was married. I would see them together having lunch in the restaurant downstairs. Holding hands across the table.

Len came home from rehabilitation. He phoned me to tell me Frieda had left him. He was distraught. He really loved her. She had left him for this Adam guy who was married and thinking about leaving his wife. It was a total soap opera.

Adam was wealthy and rented a deluxe apartment around the corner from the offices. Here Frieda was installed. She had left the children with Len and her mother.

I was getting caught up with paperwork on a Friday night in September of 1971 when Len called. He was very depressed. He asked me could I meet him on the Roof Garden of the Park Plaza around the corner. Just for one quick drink and then we would both head home to our children. I agreed. In the way that we do when we are heart sick, he let it all hang out. He was going to live in the hope that Frieda would get over her Adam madness and come back to him, no questions asked. Way down below were the sounds of the busy city, the traffic and then sirens, so close by we remarked on them. Some trouble in the block we were in, obviously.

Later that night, Len called us. Sobbing. It seems that Frieda had gone to the apartment that Adam had rented and confronted Adam about leaving his wife. He said he had changed his mind. She straddled the twelfth floor balcony railing and either fell, threw, or was thrown to her death below. Those were the sirens Len and I had heard as we talked in the Park Plaza roof garden.

A couple of years later, we were at Len’s wedding to a nurse he had casually met on public transit. The wedding was held in Frieda’s brother’s garden. Frieda's parents didn’t attend. They were in the process of suing Len for custody of his children. They lost.

I'm curious as to feedback on this type of post. I have more stories of the truth stranger than fiction genre. All of which happened to me. Should I continue? Please be honest!

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Blogger Nevin said...

This was a sad sad story!

It was sad because a woman who got pregnant at a young age was seen as the "damaged goods", it was sad because people got married for convenance rather then for love, it was sad because 2 men betrayed their wives and didn't own up to it, it was sad because a woman was so badly cornered that she either killed herself or was killed... :(

I personally do not mind reading such stories every once in a while, as long as the people involved do not have a problem with it....

I wouldn't want you to get into trouble with any weird character in the future because you put it out there.....

On a separate not: Your writing skills and story telling is very strong which makes it an enjoyable read.

Thu Jul 30, 04:27:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

Oh thank you Nevin, for your kinds words. I've changed all the names in the story. And that's all I've changed. I've omitted some detail, like she did come to me in my office on the night she died to ask me to have a coffee with her and try and heal our friendship and I refused. It was after she left my office, Len called. And years and years later, out of the blue, Len and I were to have contact again. You couldn't invent this stuff. I still think of her though.....the sense of betrayal has never left me.

Thu Jul 30, 05:41:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Anonymous Grannymar said...

So long as there is no intention to cause pain, there should be no problem.

You tell the story well!

Thu Jul 30, 06:12:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Twilight said...

As the two previous commenters have said, WWW, your writing style is so easy to read and addictive!
I'm an impatient reader, prone to skipping paragraphs - but not so with your pieces. :-)

I'm fascinated by the stories of your life, but am comfortable only if you're absolutely sure nobody will recognise the characters. For your sake as well as theirs.

Thu Jul 30, 09:14:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Gail said...

You sing it well! Your writing skills are amazing and left me waiting for the next word.

Keep writing if it brings no harm and it may help you heal also.

Thu Jul 30, 10:04:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

No, there's no intention of that. It is so long ago and very few people would know the story and only a few that I know of would read this blog and know me.

Thu Jul 30, 10:40:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

Coming from you those are precious words. Thank you!
No as said to GM only a handful, even my exes don't have access to this blog!
I'm at the stage in life where I'd like to get the more personal stories down.

Thu Jul 30, 10:41:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

Oh thank you so much. I have the most devoted and loyal readers!
I don't know about healing, I think I've healed. It's more the story telling and how we can surmount all sorts of challenges and heartbreaks.
The "This too shall pass" school of philosophy. :^)

Thu Jul 30, 10:42:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger oklhdan said...

Love your writing. Yes, keep telling your stories.

Thu Jul 30, 10:48:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Anonymous Brighid said...

As long as your wellbeing is not compromised go for it.

Fri Jul 31, 02:37:00 AM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

Thank you oklhdan and welcome!
OK then!

Fri Jul 31, 02:53:00 AM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

All a long time ago and wellbeing is well and good!!
I was afraid more of the boredom factor for readers rather than anything else, actually.

Fri Jul 31, 02:54:00 AM GMT-2:30  
Blogger The Green Stone Woman said...

Just think what a long way you've come since then, WWW. You are a different woman now and would never be caught up in such a shambles now.This is all about betrayal and untrustworthiness and lewd behavior on the part of several people and you were an innocent bystander who was caught up in it against her will. Thank goodness you have left all of that behind you.

Fri Jul 31, 05:17:00 AM GMT-2:30  
Anonymous nick said...

A very sad story but it's always interesting to hear personal stories, particularly about avoidable tragedies like that. The rot clearly started when Frieda got pregnant, was seen as "damaged goods" and married someone she never loved. Her life never quite worked from then on.

Fri Jul 31, 09:17:00 AM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

I guess what I'm real;y trying to get across here is the complexity and neediness and sometime amorality of human nature. I am not perfect. Not by a long shot and had to work on my issues around all of this.

Fri Jul 31, 12:18:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

No one ever expected this to end like it did. I feel she thought she had burned her bridges and had never bonded with her infant son whom I didn't mention as I felt it extraneous to the core story of Frieda. She must have felt she had nothing left. The police investigated of course and Adam was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Fri Jul 31, 12:20:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plase continue your story, your writing is so fluid. I tend to believe that such a human interest story can awaken some understanading in all of us. We mortals can be tempted to judge so quickly, you were a good and helpful friend. Looking forward to more of your writing.

Sat Aug 01, 11:32:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger 20th Century Woman said...

Well, as you may remember, I got into trouble in my blog for writing a story, names changed, about something much less intimate than this. But your story was a long time ago, and the main character is dead. I think what you have to be careful of is the possibility that the story might be read by someone involved who would be offended. I hope we can all keep telling life stories on our blogs. That's what makes them interesting.

You wrote this story so well and with such sensitivity that I hope you will continue to tell us more. I am looking forward to reading the next one.

Sat Aug 01, 11:40:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

Thank you Anon, my thinking exactly about learning more and more about the complexities of human nature and gaining understanding of our own fragility.

Sun Aug 02, 12:29:00 AM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

Yes, Annie I remember and thanks for the caution but I maintain a level of anonymity here for exactly the purpose of feeling more free and I do change names.
thank you for your kinds words.
Part 2 coming up!

Sun Aug 02, 12:32:00 AM GMT-2:30  
Anonymous louis vuitton replica handbags said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Wed Apr 06, 06:20:00 AM GMT-2:30  
Blogger shiwali said...

hey definitely u should write..u r so wonderful..i must appreciate..GUd luck..keep up the good work

Tue May 03, 08:25:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Sammy said...

i really enjoyed reading this story... it puts things into perspective! I hope you dumped that man.

Wed Jan 16, 06:31:00 PM GMT-3:30  

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