The other night I was invited to head out with some people from the town I'm living in. The woman (whom I'll call Lisa), who invited me very kindly offered to come and pick me up so I could ride to another nearby down where she, her boyfriend and some other locals were going for dinner and drinks.
While I'm always hesitant to turn down any offer that might result in some kind of actual social life here, I was reluctant to put myself in a position where I was in any way dependant on people I don't know for getting home. While I like this woman, from what she had told me, I really wasn't sure if the people she hangs out with are ones I would be able to tolerate completely sober.
So I took a rain check.
As it turns out, I couldn't have picked a better night to follow my instincts.
Apparently, the person who ended up driving was a friend of Lisa's boyfriend. Once upon a time, when this guy was over at Lisa's house, he hit her 5-year-old son. He has since not been welcome in her house, so don't ask me what she was doing double dating with this guy.
He had brought along his new girlfriend, who he was horrible and rude to all evening. They had just started to drive home, when Lisa decided to tell him he shouldn't be talking to his girlfriend like that. So naturally, he pulled over and made Lisa get out of the car, leaving her to walk the 20kms of midnight country highway, where drinking and driving seems to be a given, home.
Her boyfriend? Stayed in the car.
Lisa started hitching and was picked up by a car of high school boys who decided to take her on a tour of some backroads instead of driving her home until she insisted they let her out of the car. Fortunately they did let her out and she was free to walk the 10 or so kilometres home.
When she finally arrived what must have been close to three hours later, her boyfriend was asleep in bed. When she woke him up to confront him, he just held up her cel phone, which he broke recently when he was mad at her, and said "See, this is the kind of thing that happens when you act like that."
I heard all of this secondhand, but it falls completely in line with other stories she's told me about problems with her boyfriend. From what I can tell he's a real prize who sponges off her, lives in her house for practically nothing while she struggles to pay her mortgage and feed her kids. Oh, and of course, he frequently threatens to leave her and makes her feel stupid or crazy any time she gets up the courage to ask him for anything.
Every time she says his name it makes me feel ill. I'm at the point where the next time she brings up something horrible he has done, I'm ready to tell her that as much as I want to support her, unless she's ready to seek some counseling (in which case, i will happily drive her/watch her kids/pull her there in a little red wagon) or leave him, I just can't hear about it anymore. I can't know what a creep he is and then have to smile and act like I have no idea the next time I run into the two of them. There's a reason I didn't go to theatre school. I'm just not that good.
I don't know how it could be any clearer. If he leaves you to your fate alone on the side of the highway and goes home to sleep? He does not love you. Oh, and as a bonus? He has no idea how to treat a fellow human being.