If more of us valued food and cheer and song
above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
~J.R.R. Tolkein
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When we were six years old we held hands and told the grown-ups we were going to marry when we grew up. Later, in our youth, she became a good friend's girlfriend, much to my chagrin. I would have loved it if she had chosen me, though I was too shy to do much to encourage her. Then we each went away to separate and distant boarding schools, though I don't think I ever knew where she'd gone til much later. In adulthood, we lived an ocean apart, until her father's imminent demise brought us back in contact. It was then the flame was rekindled. And also then that she reached out to me pleading for help. Her chosen lifestyle had made her an undesirable tenant, leaseholder or borrower and she needed help finding a place to live. The apartment she had lived in for years was going to be sold and she would be evicted. I stepped up to the plate and offered to provide a solution. She suggested we form a company to buy the apartment, she acting as partner and manager of the company and I as major stockholder. We went ahead.

Of course, it soon became apparent, though, that she wasn't interested in me, per se, but rather in what I could do for her. When I visited 'my' apartment, she was barely polite, like she was doing me a favor, and I quickly became disenchanted with the whole arrangement.

Now, nine years later, we don't speak. After being maligned, badmouthed and insulted in the most violent of terms by her and all her relatives and friends, after many months of negotiation, after she signed an agreement and then tried to renege (and the judge said "In all my years on the bench I've never seen the likes of this"), I had to buy my way out of the deal. She now lives in a smaller place, courtesy of yours truly, further from the center, but she owns it outright and, actually, it's worth the equivalent of millions MXN. And yet, in her eyes, and as far as I can tell in the eyes of all her kith and kin, I'm the bad guy, the dirty, cold-stone-hearted, money grubbing capitalist.

And all for trying to be a friend and lend a helping hand. Is it any wonder my “faith in mankind” is shaky at best? Or that I have become mildly bitter and melancholy?

Comments

Curiously, the only time in my life that I've been invited and then later uninvited, was to lunch (with her whole extended family) at her cousins house.

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