Jul 252010

She denied it up to the day the final nail was driven into our friendship’s coffin, but Christina was crazy jealous of my friend Alisha. I often wondered if it would have been an issue if Alisha had been my friend first, but as it turned out, she didn’t enter the picture until nearly two years after Christina put her possessive fingerprints all over my life. Christina’s jealousy was rooted in a few factors:

  • Alisha and I became fast friends and quickly began spending pretty much every weekend together.
  • Alisha is a lesbian so clearly we were having sex together here, there and everywhere during all those weekends.

Unfortunately, this was not true, but it’s how Christina acted.  I thought she would be happy for me because at that time, I didn’t really have many friends around Pittsburgh. And now I had found one with whom I connected on a deeper level than I would typically. Alisha and I could spend hours just sitting in her kitchen, smoking cigarettes and talking about everything; I could be myself around her, serious and silly all at once. And I quickly found that she was open to new music, so I started making her mix CDs.

Another thing that boiled Christina’s blood, I’m sure.

Alisha was also the one, back in March of that year, who warned me of the potential dangers of getting romantically involved with Christina. We had a talk about boundaries and when I told Christina this later, she insisted Alisha was trying to talk me out of it because she wanted me for herself.

Obviously! But I wonder why Alisha, after FIVE YEARS, has yet to make a move? Maybe because WE’RE JUST FRIENDS?


That Sunday, the day after the infamous pb&j meltdown, Alisha came over to meet Christina. I’ve never really felt like that before, but I was actually embarrassed to have them meet.

Embarrassed that Christina was going to act like an idiot.

Embarrassed that Alisha was going to think, “Oh my god, THAT’S what you’ve been having sex with?”

It was pretty awkward. I don’t remember the two of them really talking at all. I can close my eyes and picture Alisha sitting in the chair by the window, her back to Christina, eyes on the TV. Eyes still closed, I can picture Christina roiling about on the couch, animation level kicked up to 900.

And then Henry left to pick up pizza, at which point the tension increased significantly. It was obvious that Christina wasn’t going to make an effort, and I honestly didn’t feel it was Alisha’s job to go out of her way.

Since the next day was Memorial Day and Henry was once in the SERVICE, I decided we should make him a card. Not out of love or respect, of course; don’t get it twisted. But out of my special brand of emasculation that I reserve for Henry.

I got out all the supplies and set to work on the floor of the living room. All the other two had to do was sit there and wait for their turn to sign it. I’m very Type A when it comes to arts and crafts. Since we didn’t have much time before Henry came back, I tried to be as simplistic as possible, relying mostly on marker but adding a small amount of glitter glue for spunk. A very small amount.

Before handing the card over to be signed by Alisha and Christina, I warned them to be careful they didn’t smudge the glittered outline of the stars.

Alisha signed her name with competence.

Christina grabbed the card and immediately rammed her big fucking thumb into one of the stars, smudging the perfection of my masterpiece.

It was not a good weekend for something like this to happen and I probably made a bigger deal about it than I should have. But there was already an air of annoyance steady radiating around Christina all weekend. Even when she was sitting quietly, I was finding things to hate about her. Glitter-thumbing Henry’s card was the last straw. I was over it. Done-zo. Couldn’t co-exist in the same room with her anymore.

It’s safe to wager that I made her cry after vomiting my wrath all over her face.  I had a knack of making her cry just by slitting my eyes in malice.


Apparently, Henry liked the card so much he jizzed on it.

Then Henry had to ruin the already-cursed card by pointing out that he’s not technically a Vet, which caused me to cry, “OMG YOU HATE MY CARD!” (This card’s clearly been through the war over the last five years. OH!)


At the end of the night, I wanted to take Alisha home by myself.

“She only lives 10 minutes away, if that,” I argued with Christina. “Just stay here.”

“But I want to come!” she begged. She wasn’t taking no for an answer. God forbid I should be alone in a car with Alisha! She might try to impregnate me. Short of distracting her with a toy and sneaking out like I do with Chooch, it was clear no ditching was going to happen that night.

So not only did she get her way, but she sat in the front seat! Alisha is very mild-mannered and didn’t make a big deal about it, but I was pissed. Alisha was my guest and Christina should have sat in the backseat where she belonged.

We drove in silence.

Alisha got out.

We drove back in silence.

That night, I lay in bed with Henry and blurted out, “Henry, what have I done? I can’t stand to be around her! I want her to go home.”

He just laughed and mumbled something about the bed I’d made.


After watching the annual Memorial Day parade that goes past my house, Christina and I were sitting on the couch together. I was trying to watch the French Open, but all I could hear was her breathing.

And her toes cracking.

And her breathing.

There was a good three feet between us on the couch, but it felt like she was melding into me.

“When does your bus leave?” I asked with gritted teeth.

She answered, “6:00pm” and I felt my heart sink. It was only 11:00am.

“Aren’t there any buses that leave earlier?” I prodded. She shrugged and I suggested, “Maybe you should go FIND OUT.”

There weren’t. Short of dropping her off at the Greyhound station seven hours early (which I wanted to do but Henry stepped in and stopped that), I was pretty much stuck with her.

And her toes cracking.

And her breathing.

This was not something I’ve ever experienced with friends before – only boyfriends that I’m growing tired of. It’s the inevitable closing credits of the honeymoon period where the reality of all their flaws and peccadilloes come bubbling to the surface, leaving a trail of strewn socks and Q-tips and puddles of urine all over the lip of the commode. There’s little physical contact and everything is amplified. I never noticed her breathing before. Or the cracking toes. Or how pathetic she looked when she stared at me with her jutting lips and drooping eyes. I wondered how much her presence  was responsible for tipping the scale during my bi-polar episodes; if the pb&j craving would have even inflated to such Sybilacious proportions had she not been there.

I knew that it was time to end this bizarre relationship and try to salvage what ever pieces were left of our friendship. I didn’t want to hate her. I wanted to go back to the way things were. We didn’t talk about it that day. The whole weekend was so traumatic to me that I just wanted it to end on a good note. So Christina watched old home videos with me, videos from when I was 18 and living in my first apartment. It helped to see myself so happy on TV. It distracted me from the cracking toes, the breathing, and the Dear John letter that was looming around the corner. We were able to spend the last few hours laughing together as I immersed myself in the backstories of everything she was watching on these videos.

Sharing those memories with her made me realize that I definitely didn’t want to ruin our friendship.


I emailed her after that weekend and explained it all to her, how I felt that every time we crossed that line, it might have seemed like it was making us closer at first, but I was afraid that it was actually chipping away at our bond and I didn’t want to reach that point of no return, where it became all or nothing.

Her reply:

i just don’t know what to say.

i understand that our “relationship” wasn’t typical,
or as you say it was barely one… but even so- it
meant a lot to me. i can move on though- because our
friendship means more to me than any of that other
stuff ever did. i’m not trying to do anything that
makes us not friends…

She swore she was fine with things, but I knew she wasn’t based on the fact she had resorted to her old ways of drowning her problems in sex. She still hadn’t fully come out yet and would pretty much give herself to any man with a working penis. I remember one day that June, she called me and bragged that she had given a blow job to this guy Jack from her work. He was married. His wife had just had a baby. Kudos, Christina.

I didn’t seek out to hurt her through the whole process. I never felt that I was playing games with her. I was following my heart. I was willing to give her a shot. It didn’t work out and now she was going to make me pay for it by whoring herself out and bragging about it to me.

We were supposed to go to Warped Tour together in Columbus (our halfway point) shortly after that, but I bailed on her the morning of. I just couldn’t imagine spending an entire day with her so soon after breaking up with her and then processing the fact that she was essentially doling out blow jobs at the workplace. Christina wound up still going with her sister instead and told me later that she saw Sylvia there. Awfully coincidental that Sylvia, whose brain isn’t developed enough to appreciate anything that isn’t Mariah Carey or anything equally as banal, would not only go to Warped Tour, but one that wasn’t even in her own city.

Even when Christina and I were just platonic friends, that hag was always hanging around, waiting, plotting, salivating hungrily for her turn at Christina. I always knew in my heart Sylvia would eventually get her way, but I still had faith that Christina would make the right choice.

Jul 222010

[Ed.Note: I mentioned when I started this series that I was going to write some things that would make me look bad, too. This is one of those things. But it’s important, because otherwise I would just be writing a biased “Christina is a horrible friend, pity me!” series of posts. She was, at one time, a loyal friend. Maybe now it will make a little more sense why I kept going back to her, in spite of the stalking and the lies.]

The month of May 2005 was practically a Lifetime movie of the trials and tribulations of a bi-polar asshole. It had it all: suicidal thoughts, attempted OD’ing on anti-psychotics, and worst of all – LIVEJOURNAL DELETION. I know what you’re thinking: How did you ever survive that, Erin?

Well, I had Henry and Christina. They were like a Bi-Polar Damage Control tag team. When Henry couldn’t handle me, he’d turn me over to Christina, who would try to soothe me via telephone. Christina took to buying me CDs and even made me a memory box full of things only she and I would understand, in an attempt to keep me on this earth.

The hot and heavy portion of my relationship with Christina had fizzled out into a ramekin of soggy, ambivalent passion ashes, like a culinary student’s first flambe, but she was still my best friend. At the end of the day, that was her number one role in my life. Best friend.

It got really bad one weekend, like wrist-slitting bad. Henry called Christina himself for that one and asked her to come here. It was a Sunday, but she didn’t hesitate. She somehow bribed her sister to drive for 300 miles and I was a total shit to her when they got here. Christina had stopped somewhere along the way and got me a ring out of a gumball machine. It was a lion,  still inside its round plastic cocoon; I took it from her and chucked it across the room. She spent the rest of the night sitting on the couch, me all curled up like a suicidal cat, crying and punching her. Then crying and hugging her. Then crying and slapping her. She had to leave the next morning so she could make it to work that evening. 600 miles so I could take it all out on her.

Like I said, it was a bad month.

And like I said, she was my best friend.


She came back for Memorial Day weekend, arriving here that Friday night on a Greyhound. I was still not feeling right mentally, but she had started to broach all those dreaded relationship questions. She was definitely the female in this dynamic. Me, I’d have been delighted to just let it fizzle. But she was so lovesick. I would literally catch her staring at me with these droopy, sad eyes and her lips would be protruded in such a strong pout that Gary Coleman could have used it as a trampoline. And the heavy, wistful sighs. And the unwanted gestures. And the breathing! God, just fucking stop breathing on me.

I couldn’t have felt more smothered, even if my face was pinned under the ass of Ruben Studdard. (And I don’t even watch American Idol, so figure that one out.)

Saturday afternoon, I was hungry. Actually, I was passed the point of basic human hunger, and had reached the point where I was trapezing from the precipice of homicide. There is a small window in which my hunger can be sated with no causalities, but Henry and Christina were too busy being insensitive to my needs to realize I was about to start busting caps.

For the 79th time, I screamed, “I want a fucking peanut butter and jelly sandwich!”

“We don’t have any bread,” Henry said in the calm tone of Dr. Loomis, after Michael Myers escaped for the fortieth time.

“Well, I want a peanut butter and JELLY SANDWICH!” I roared.

This went back and forth for quite some time and you can imagine how pleasant and thoroughly intellectually stimulating it must have been for all involved parties.

Eventually, I did what I do best and stormed out of the room, being sure to brattily knock things over in my mad wake. I pouted at the computer for a little while.

Meanwhile, golf was on. Yeah, I was missing GOLF because Henry was being a complete prat and wouldn’t go buy BREAD so that his QUEEN could have her fucking  CAKE (peanut butter and jelly sandwich). And then I heard something that shot straight up my spine and bazooka’d my amygdala.


Quiet, sly, SHARED laughter.

“What’s so funny?” I screamed, twisting around in my chair to further inspect the guilty parties. I hated that they were straight up twittering over there. They were supposed to hate each other!

“We were just laughing at what this one golfer is wearing,” Christina started to explain, but I had already stampeded up the stairs and slammed my bedroom door. Unfortunately, I was still hungry so I came back down.

Somehow I wound up with a grilled cheese suctioned to the bottom of a  styrofoam container on account of all the molten cheese tentacles congealing with grease and pure disgust. It was from this sandwich shop that used to be down the street but went out of business on account of all the molten cheese tentacles congealing with grease and pure disgust.

It was so far from what I wanted. You know how can you tell? BECAUSE IT WASN’T A PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY SANDWICH. So I found myself sitting there on the chaise, picking at this grody grilled cheese, when suddenly Henry decided it was cool to make light of the situation and began poking fun at how “difficult Erin can be when she’s hungry!” Oh hardy har har, you mother fucker, let me show you difficult.

I freaked out. Tossed the sandwich. Began windmilling my limbs like I was at a Gravemaker show, while screaming, “Don’t make fun of me! What’s so hard to understand when someone asks for a PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY SANDWICH?”

This went on for awhile and ended with me locked in my bedroom with a bottle of Trazadone.

Actually, when I tell this story to people, I always say, “And then they thought I was trying to like, kill myself or something, but all I was doing was reading a magazine.” Though according to the entry I made that night in my journal, which I just read to make sure my facts were straight for this, I was totally hoping to kill myself. I must have blocked that part out.

All these years, I really thought I was just trying to read Alternative Press.


That’s the thing about being bi-polar. The good times are really super good times, and the bad times are slit-your-throat-with-a-frying-pan bad times.  It wasn’t really about the peanut butter and jelly that day. It was a greater frustration, a sad confusion, a muscle-shaking fury which all met in the middle and took on the embodiment of a two slices of bread slathered with Skippy. There’s always a trigger. Sometimes it can be someone’s tone that I’m mishearing, sometimes a shirt I can’t find in my dresser. Today it was a pb&j.

I’m not that bad anymore. As I age, I find new ways to control it. Oh, I still feel it. I still break things and I still lock myself in my room. But mostly I can just walk away now. Mostly. It’s still there, festering in my brain but I’m a mom now. I have a kid. I have to try extra hard to make sure he doesn’t see Hulk Erin. And this is why I don’t have many close friends. It’s embarrassing when this happens, and it has happened in front of an audience before. I keep most people at arm’s length, because no one should be expected to have to deal with this behavior. It’s easier that way.


I ignored the knocks at my bedroom door; after awhile, suspiciously, they stopped. I imagined the two of them leaning into my door with Peanuts glasses pressed against their ears, listening for sounds of a razor meeting flesh.

Then I heard Henry’s muffled voice telling me Christina was crying. Like that was going to lure me out. Oh, Christina’s CRYING? Let me suddenly turn off my psychosis and I’ll be right down.

Then I heard Christina sniffling. She said, “I walked to the store and bought bread,” and when she received no response, she added, “And I bought you something.”

Meanwhile, Henry, not to be undone, had fetched his TOOL BOX and was going to take the door apart the door, I suppose. I could hear him out there pissing around in some manner of disassembly and it was really jacking me off.

But Christina had won with the words “I bought you something.” Maybe also because deep down, I couldn’t stand that I had made her cry. I opened the bedroom door before Henry could even figure out which screwdriver to use on the hinge. It was the most passive aggressive competition ever. What happened to the days when Scott Ash and Jay Mulligan fist-fought for my love after gym class in ninth grade? Now all I get is a purple plastic cup with a straw bent to resemble a flower and some pedestrian attempt at breaking down a door? A real man would have shouldered that bitch right off the frame. A real man like JOHN BLACK from Days of Our Lives.

So Christina came in and laid down with me in the bed, trying to suggest all these terrific diversions, like going for a drive and listening to Fall Out Boy. (Please, this was 2005.) I kept telling her shut up but she wouldn’t so I screamed some more and ran downstairs, where I sat on the chaise and tried to just focus on the really exciting golf thingie that was on TV.

And here came Henry, with a goddamn peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Like he was some goddamn hero now.

“No thanks,” I said. Like I wanted that now? That ship has sailed, you bastard. I mean, Christ. Now they’re both so eager to feed me peanut butter? (I realize I could have solved this whole dilemma myself hours earlier, like a big girl, but then I wouldn’t have this super awesome story to share today. And you might not have gotten any other chance to see how fucking retarded I am!)

But he kept pushing the sandwich on me.  “No, I don’t want this anymore,” I said again, clenching my hands. Besides, Christina bought the wrong kind of bread.

Henry then began baby-talking me, like it was OK to start with the jokes ten minutes after they were practically hanging up with the suicide hotline.

Finally, I knocked the plate out of his hand and yelled, “I SAID NO, I DON’T WANT THE FUCKING SANDWICH! WHAT PART OF NO DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?”

Then I spent more time locked in my room. I suppose you would be upset too, if you nearly got raped by a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.