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Like the word symbol love in Greek, I have different levels, really, of who I will consider a friend, but the majority will fall much closer to "acquaintance", i.e. someone certainly not an enemy; someone I can exchange banter with, even admit I am having a hard day, and I'll listen to him or her in the same way.

Friends, however, fall into two categories:

1) Can slip back into acquaintance readily, though it (betrayal) may take a while to come to terms with mentally, 2) Hard to remove from this very limited list.

My husband is my best friend. I cannot image his ever becoming less so, unless he loses cognitive powers to the extent that he gets put only in to a loved one position, no longer a friend; rather, someone I nurse or help others nurse, no ability for equality with me, or anything close to it.

A "solid" friend is someone who I would give or lend just about anything to, and it would be reciprocal, though I don't keep a mental or actual checklist for reciprocity. A solid friend would not betray me in basic ways.

So an example of someone who used to be a friend and betrayed me; who passed through an enemy phase, and is now, to me, an acquaintance "and" someone to keep at arms' length without being obvious about it in this small town:

He called the police on me for crying.

Shortened version: I left my front door unlocked (this was almost a year ago) because another friend and I had plans to get together at my house an hour from that time, and I didn't want to forget, maybe be out of earshot when he came later on.

I was in a lot of physical pain and wrestling with something psychological, private. And I was crying, hard.

The friend I had plans with showed up extra early, knocked and came in, found me crying, got scared, and called the mutual friend in a panic. The mutual friend rushed over as though I were up on a roof threatening to jump or shoot anyone who came near me.

The mutual friend couldn't stand the crying, nor the other friend's near hysteria over my grieving, so he called the non-emergency police line.

Four officers, as I recall, showed up, which triggered more crying on my part, and one took charge, told me to get up and come along to the hospital. I indicated I didn't want to go. He repeated, more firmly, to get up. I said I didn't have my shoes, I wanted my backpack, and so on. He said, dismissively, "He'll bring them", indicating the mutual friend who had called.


I was put in a room to be observed. I refused treatment and was treated, anyway: Blood was drawn, I had to pee in a cup, a chest x-ray taken, and I had to ask permission to urinate, and approach the desk slowly, in a passive manner.

After approximately six hours, a social worker showed up and asked me questions, had forms which she filled out, "Why were you crying?" "Do you want to hurt yourself?" "Do you want to hurt others" and so on...

The social worker determined I was not a risk and could be released.

My husband showed up after work and drove me home.

The mutual friend did not seem to understand when I explained my being upset.

He said, cheery tone, "But you went willingly."

I said, "If I had not gone willingly, I would have been handcuffed and taken, anyway as I've seen happen to others.

Once someone lets a police officer (or more than one) into a person's home that indicates the police are in charge; my rights went out the window when you called and let them in my house..."

I will forgive a lot.

I could have forgiven this act of betrayal if it had been based on ignorance of the law, and if he had apologized with any sign he really understood what he had done, and could and would have made a commitment to never call the police on me again when I was in my own home crying, or doing or saying anything less than threatening, with clear intent, to harm him or others.

I remember sitting in the hospital room, having stopped crying in the police car, just sitting there in the narrow bed, under a pile of blankets, feeling cold, waiting... and saying aloud, "Now, it's a crime to cry."

An orderly or someone similar, a man standing outside the door mopping or messing with a box on the wall--I can't remember which, nodded, looking grim.

I said, "You heard me?"

He turned and looked right into my eyes and nodded yes.

"It's wrong" I said, and again he nodded, then he went away.

ADDITION: During a recent visit at my new flat, I shared with another friend--closer to acquaintance line--as I have indicated most friends are--what happened, all the details, "who" did the betrayal (someone she knows, didn't surprise her, though she was outraged).

When I said, after indicating how much more hospital debt we have even though I refused treatment--and was treated anyway, knowing what would happen if I resisted physically, instead of simply saying no, verbally, "I wonder why they made me get a chest x-ray," she answered:

"I know the answer to that one. They did that in case they decided to take you to a --" She hesitated, and replaced whatever she was going to say with, "if they took you to a psych facility".

Also, when I told her how the mutual friend had said cheerily, "but you went willingly!" my friend, a former social worker, said "Of course you did, otherwise, it would have been cuff-n-stuff", and we laughed.

She laughed from knowing that term and enjoying it--and got a kick out of my own enjoyment of the term. I, the linguist, had never heard the term, so I laughed from immediately understanding its nuanced meaning.

We laughed and laughed, and it took some of the tension away, made us feel closer for a bit.

Cuff-n-stuff 'em:

Arms pulled behind the back, handcuffs added, dehumanized person marched to a patrol car, head pushed down then body stuffed in the backseat, door closed, and away we go...

My former social worker friend and I, with vastly different backgrounds in many ways, have both witnessed, cuff-n-stuff 'em.

I told her, "I've never been arrested. I've never spent time or even visited a jail, and maybe I sound foolish or childish, and I am not being condemning about those who have spent time inside (I named a few persons, including a couple of my relatives and then someone she and I both know), but it's like, well I'm 55 years old and I still have this bit of innocence left, and I'd like to keep it."

She understood.

And we both agreed that the former friend, and one-time clear enemy, moved up to acquaintance to keep at arm's length, would--as a solid citizen of this town--have gone to every authority to have this wrong righted had it happened to him. He would have held a grudge, perhaps sued the betrayer, the police, the hospital...

But me?

I'm a newbie to town; poor; eccentric; got debt; otherwise don't look good on paper.

Who would be believed, Mr. Solid Citizen or me, if I had tried to get this "righted"?

Growing up.

I've been growing up, while avoiding it, since I was an infant, no exaggeration.
And in an odd way, this betrayal has helped me come to terms with a huge "Why" and "How to Resolve" that has shadowed and stunted me since childhood.

I am not a Christian.
No pussy-footing around, any longer.
I don't fit the "check list".
I'm a Truth Seeker.

There is a lot about religion that is harmful and much about it to keep and see it for the symbolic beauty in it.

And it is necessary as is for a minority in the world who, for a variety of reasons--not just "fear", not to be dismissed as "stupidity", need it.

And I'm OK with the paradoxes; I'm OK with a lot, now, that I hadn't accepted before the betrayal but was, at the time, working through...

Growing up isn't linear, that's for sure.
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