A little more than a week later, I sent Richard an apology message, apologizing for hurting Tracy in any way, trying to explain how I’d been gravely misunderstood–even though he should already have known how badly Tracy had misunderstood me.

It also made clear that restoring the friendship was impossible, at least for now.

I had spent all week in a burning grief, barely able to function.  I just wanted things between him and me to be okay, even though we could not be friends.

On the way home from the store on Saturday, a long ride even at ten minutes, my mind had nothing else on which to focus.  I could barely choke back tears as the words of this e-mail began composing themselves in my head.  As soon as I could, I transferred those words to the computer.

This e-mail was not meant as reconciliation, because friendship with Richard was forbidden without being friends with Tracy, and I wanted nothing to do with Tracy.  I had no choice but to respect her wishes, as painful as it was.

This e-mail was only meant to make peace with Richard.  Then if we saw each other on the Facebook walls of mutual friends, on the Forum, at church or around town, we could be kind to each other.

The first paragraph also reflects my biblical basis for this e-mail: The Bible forbade me from partaking in the Eucharist without attempting to make peace of some kind, even if friendship was impossible. As in Matthew 5:23-24,

Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.…

You will also see that even though my original message was platonically meant, I still took responsibility for the effect it had, and apologized for that.

However, I could not say I meant, or apologize for, something I did not mean.  That would be dishonest and soul-killing.

But I did attempt to find something that was my responsibility, so I could apologize, even though I felt I did nothing truly wrong.  This is what you do when you care about someone.

But unfortunately, it seems that Richard and Tracy never cared for us as much as they said they did, because they never made true apologies of their own.  As you will see later, all I got for this was more blame and justification from them both for how Tracy acted, even though Richard claimed to blame himself.

Tomorrow I hope to take the mysteries and confess with Fr. —, but first I need to leave my gift at the holy altar and try to make peace with the one who has something against me, as far as I am able.

I just wanted you to know that I am sorry for everything.  I don’t feel the message I sent before is quite adequate.  It’s obvious that we can’t be friends because of the way Tracy feels about me.

But I never did hate her or mean to hurt her or snub her or anything.  I am sorry for that too.  I was trying to be nice to her and do nice things for her and leave the past in the past.

I hope it didn’t hurt you when I returned the necklace; I know it was just a little gift for the hostess, but I feared Tracy would be upset if I kept it.

The message I sent last week was very poorly worded and embarrassing; it, however, was never meant the way it sounded.

I realize how it sounds, now, and I’m just mortified that I ever sent it.  I wish I could take it back.  

It was a stupid thing that was done in two minutes and not really thought about first, but it was meant well.  I had no idea it would upset anybody.  I am just appalled at the thought that it would have brought you trouble.

They were just hugs, and one was done in full view of Jeff if he were to look out the window.  They were just something you would’ve given a sister or cousin, and I had no idea they could offend.

I don’t want any more than that, and never meant to give an impression that I did.  I love my husband more than anything.

To me, you were a very dear friend, the one who led me into Orthodoxy, someone to tell my troubles and secrets to and talk about music and religion.  A spiritual brother or counselor.  I adopted you as family and treated you as such.

At times I think, Geez, was I clingy?  I hope I wasn’t clingy.  Or that I may have given you the wrong impression at times when I was just being playful.  That, too, is mortifying.

[Aside not in e-mail: Ever since college, my friends have said that I occasionally say things that surprise them.  From what Jeff tells me, people see me as “innocent.” 

[I’m not sure why: My sense of humor has been playful and occasionally wicked and flirtatious for some 20 years.  But that’s all it is: a wicked sense of humor. 

[However, it can be endlessly frustrating when you say something playful and you get weird looks or responses like you meant it seriously.  Blech!]

I never had any desire to offend Tracy or you.  I did some stupid stuff without thinking first.

This e-mail is not meant to re-establish a friendship because that no longer seems possible.  Though nobody knows what the future holds.  You don’t even need to respond to this e-mail if you don’t want to.  In fact, if you’re upset with me I’d much rather you didn’t.

This shows how delicate opposite-sex friendships can be: Misunderstandings can occur despite the best intentions.  Then you have awkward conversations and say embarrassing things you’d rather not have to.

I showed it to Jeff before sending it, though I didn’t need his okay: I wanted his opinion.

He said the apology was more than Richard deserved, but he wouldn’t mind me sending it if it gave me peace.  (After all, apologies had already been tried with Tracy.  But this was specifically for Richard.)

As I wrote, the next day I discussed everything with my priest, and got absolution.

He asked if I knew why Tracy was upset; without having to go into detail, I said, “She doesn’t understand me.”  I felt that summed it up succinctly and entirely.

He said that my sending the apology was Christ-like.  So I felt that I had done all I could to resolve things.

I waited and waited for three weeks for a response, hoping he would say that he and I were cool despite everything, checking my e-mail in perturbation every day, but nothing came.

Which disturbed me, because as I wrote at the end, if he was upset with me, I didn’t want him to respond.  Was he still upset with me, despite everything I put in that e-mail?  Did he refuse to forgive?

Then I discovered that Richard had blocked all of us on Facebook–me, Jeff, even our little boy!  What kind of person blocks a 6-year-old child?

I found this baffling and insulting after what I had written, and kept reading my e-mail over and over, trying to figure out if I misspoke somewhere or left something out–but it looked perfect.

As I wrote to Todd, “I send an apology and he blocks me on Facebook?  What do they want, blood?”

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

4. More details about Tracy’s abuse of her husband and children 

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

Sequel to this Story: Fighting the Darkness: Journey from Despair to Healing

 

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