With friends like that?
Friends like what?
Well it’s kinda hard to explain.
Have you ever had or do you currently have a friend that you love dearly, that you’ve went through lots together, marriage, divorce, in his case re-marriage .. long term friends who have went through the good and bad together.
I was best man at his wedding, the second one that is, been there when the twins came along, advised him to play more of an active part and stop using work as an excuse to avoid dealing with the kids as his wife needs the help.
Not that I’ve ever been a fan of his missus, I never thought they were right for each other, particularly as during the pre-marriage days he had a few misdemeanours, one in particular where his future wife turned up at my door asking me if he’d stayed at mine the previous night.
Now what can you say in that situation?
Tell the truth and stick your bestie deep in the doo-do?
Or lie your ass off and swear to the big guy in the sky that you’d been out for curry and beers, came back to mine for some more drinks and he’d fell asleep.
Nobody sticks their mate in the shit, it just isn’t done.
The missus couldn’t prove I was lying and although I was deeply uncomfortable with it, what else could I say?
He’d texted me that morning in a panic, he’d met a girl a few weeks ago and unbeknown to me, was out with her on the Friday night, telling his girlfriend that he was out with me for the night.
Boys will be boys and all that.
They go out for dinner and drinks, he goes back to hers, nature takes it’s due course and the fud then falls asleep, waking up at 7 in the morning in a panic and calling a cab.
He then texts me from the cab to ask me to cover for him if his missus gets in touch.
What can you say?
Errr .. Nah mate, your on your own?
So he gets home, the missus suspects he’s been up to no good and rightfully gives him the third degree.
He feigns innocence and has deleted the text to me from his mobile.
I wake up at 8am .. well it is a Saturday .. and see his text, I can tell he’s panicking and on the way home and know that he’s in it deep as he has a bit of previous.
I swither on sending him a text, but don’t want to say anything that drops him in it and don’t’ really want involved either.
Nothing happens the rest of the day, she’s obviously watching him like a hawk and he’s on best behaviour. But later that evening, while eating a take-away with the kids, the doorbell rings. It’s his girlfriend asking if she can come in for a chat.
“Of course you can, I’m surprised to see you, hope everything is okay?” .. and I was surprised to see her .. hoping that my genuine surprise is masking my discomfort.
So she comes into the kitchen and I put the kettle on, any excuse to buy a bit of thinking time.
I turn to face her and although her blue eyes are red as she’s clearly been crying, they’re intensely staring at mine and she wants a straight answer.
“Did Robert stay here last night?”
Short, sweet and straight to the point.
It’s the moment of truth .. or lie. It’s the moment of choice.
To choose the path of the hard and hurtful truth or to tell a horrible but gentle lie?
What would you do?
Back your best mate up or tell the truth and drop him right in it?
Call me weak, I chose the easier path and lied .. yep, as brazen-faced as I could manage, I put surprise on my face as if the question had came out of the blue and lied through my teeth.
“Yes, he was here” .. and I’m doing my best to look as if the question itself was a surprise .. “We went for a curry and a few beers, then he came here and we put on a Bowie concert and that Depeche Mode one that we had been to, he fell asleep on the sofa, so I went to my bed and when I woke up this morning he was gone”
Bowie and Depeche mode an easy and convincing add-on .. my bad … but she knows we are both fans and have been to see them and watched these concerts at his house after nights out when she’d been there and went up to her bed.
“Is that what really happened?”
“Not sure what you mean? Yes that’s what happened, did he say that we did something else? Is everything okay?”
“He says that he stayed here last night, but I don’t believe him. He’s been too secretive lately and disappeared a few times without saying where he’s going or where he’s been, making excuse to go shopping on his own, anything to get out the house for a while”
And she stares at me, almost pleading to hear the truth “Are you sure that’s what happened?”
And she knows, of course she knows, she just can’t prove it.
And I lie again, shamefully, brazenly, I’m even embarrassed about it now 15 years later.
A lot has changed in that time, their married, got the twins, I’ve never had to lie for him again.
Back then, after the dust settled and we met for another beer and curry night .. I ripped him up for putting me in such a horrible position.
If his missus was to read this now, how would she feel, knowing that despite him being a good dad and husband, he had lied to her back then, would it change anything .. or does time heal and we move along and close off the past, preferring not to look at its dark secrets?
Let me give you a wee bit of advice … if you’re ever in that situation where you know your partner has cheated but can’t prove it and he has his best friend backing him up.
Trust your instincts.