Monday, 24 March 2014

A little later


I guess you could call it a happy ending. A came to my wedding with his wife. B played for us (she is a musician) and was my maid of honour. Mum and dad were there, old and dear friends were there -- all flown in from abroad. And it was lovely. I even won mum's approval: she rang me after three weeks and told me how much she had enjoyed the wedding. THAT's actually something to enter into Guinnes Book of Records. All daughters struggle to gain approval from their mums, I am no exception. That said, it took a while to get mum to accept T completely. She was unusually fond of my ex K as they shared a wicked sense of humour, but when she discovered how able T was with power tools her tune completely changed and her approval stamp was duly distributed. If she could have done so on one of his buttocks, she would have done so. Formerly known as best friend -- L -- was not there. I've no idea if she even knew of the wedding, or cared.

You may have gathered that something else has happened since my last confession. Yes, mum died. In 2012. She was not the only one. 2012 turned into a devastating year of loss. G died first, in April -- he was the one who introduced me to my K but still forgave me our split and refused to abandon our friendship. Then we lost one of our dogs in dramatic circumstances. Then Uncle D (not my real uncle) who'd been part of introducing me to appalling theatre direction against a lovely backdrop of great set design. Then H, who'd been diagnosed with cancer 8 years earlier and given three months to live and finally died from complications after an unrelated leg operation. Then mum. My wonderful, irreplaceable mum who got so terribly ill during a holiday in Spain, and B and I were flown to Benidorm by the insurance agent to say goodbye. I moved into the hospital, dragged mum back from the grave and sent her home on an SOS flight -- and that was the last I saw of her. She died a month later. But at least she died in a country where she could understand the language. I miss her more than -- no, this is something there are no words for.

I've managed to get off the anti-depressants. It took me well over two years and was fairly unassisted, medically, though it would not have been possible without T. I still have black days. I try not to bother anyone with them.

2013 set off with another couple of deaths but was then quiet. And to patch up the loss of O, our dog, we got a puppy. He is now 9 months old and a real handful. But if you thought we managed to get on an even keel here, you're wrong. The puppy is deaf... When the breeder made the discovery she immediately asked us if we still wanted him. T and I both had the knee-jerk reaction that one does not choose away a deaf child, why would we choose away a deaf puppy? There have been problems. There are still problems. But we're learning -- as is the puppy. And we love him to bits.

Are you waiting for my impression of A? :-) Here is: a really nice guy! Heart in the right place, looks just like dad. Large, a little oafish, large and also a little oafish wife, both of them lovely people.

I have yet to meet their son, but from what I've seen on Facebook, he's grown into a really good-looking young man who, incidentally, is doing military service in the same battalion as B's oldest son.

It's a small world.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

We will meet for the first time on Thursday

A is coming to town.

I'm getting remarried in a week, and I took this opportunity to invite A and his wife. I asked dad if he was ok with it, and he was. I guess it's easier here, so far away from the people dad seems to fear.

My 'future husband' (gosh, that sounds so -- cheesy) and I are not people to judge others. T has been married twice before, I once, he has two teenage sons from his last marriage (they and I are occasionally like cats and dogs, but mostly we're fine) and we both know that Life -- well, it stabs you in the back sometimes and after that one has to pick oneself up and get on with things.

Now, wasn't that just profound?

Wish us luck! I will tell you of my impressions after I've met A. I hope I understand what he says... I have a hard time getting him to slow down when he speaks. He seems to find it really puzzling that when one no longer uses a language it goes a little rusty over time so he speaks at the rate of knots and at the same time a dialect I'm not used to. But -- it will be interesting! And it's high time we met, after five years of knowing about each other.

Have a nice day! :-)

Thursday, 18 November 2010

'I hated seeing my face in the mirror'


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-11780938
Just found this on BBC news. Not all reunions end happy. But I think he's cute and he's done really well. :-)

Friday, 18 June 2010

Attention span of a gnat

I haven't read Suz' blog Writing My Wrongs in a while. Then I thought -- wonder how she's doing? and found this. And then I thought. Which is unusual these days as I'm really tired of thinking and would just like to sleep and finish with these damned anti depressants and... Didn't I tell you? I'm on anti depressants. Have been for over a year because of my separation and impending divorce. Even as the one who initiated it it's friggin' hellish. But at least now I've reached a stage where I can start cutting down on the pills and hopefully get off them completely at some point.

I've been on half dose for a week and -- it's shitty.

Now what was I saying...

That's another thing. Concentration is something I only know how to spell. My attention span is that of a gnat. The neurons in my brain are partying without permission, and even without offering me a single tequila.

But. This was going to be about A and the state of things now. And all because I read Suz' post.

Now, where was I. A. Quite. A.

All is seemingly hunky dory and wonderful and oh-what-a successful-reunion-and-how-normal-everything-is. And it is. It's great. A and we write to each other regularly. His wife is on Facebook and is one of my friends there. His son is also one of my friends there.

A and dad also correspond regularly. Birthdays, Christmas, news -- that sort of stuff. He has less contact with B, but I put it down to her generally not replying to e-mails whether he is the sender or I am. He wondered if it had something to do with him but I was able to set his mind at ease on that point.

So that's all great, right?

But what had me thinking is this connection with his wife and son on Facebook. Well, I might accidentally wish A's son a happy b-day saying 'Happy birthday, nephew!', or refer to wife as sister-in-law -- and then there would be questions. Would that be so terrible? No. Not at all. But I'm still being protective of dad who, in spite of regular contact and a seemingly normal relationship with A still will not officially refer to him as his son. Only within the family. Where he seems relieved to be able to do so, even revelling in saying things like 'I received this e-mail from my son...' before launching into retelling of the contents.

And you know what? I think that if he did that in 'polite society, when together with all those people he is so scared will point a finger and generally find his 'mistake hugely entertaining, I'm convinced there would be no laughter and any Schadenfreude would quickly vanish.

It's so much easier for me who live in another country, though. I already refer to A as brother rather than half-brother, everybody knows the story and the news value is long gone. I'm afraid I might just accidentally let slip while visiting, though. Am going there on holiday in a few weeks and I know how much I babble and little I think and... There is a small disaster hidden somewhere in the chaos of my brain. Though of course it may take the attention away from my own mistakes. Divorce and such. Right? Right.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

We didn't meet

And I could end this post right here. I said it all. Ok, a little more. I sent him an e-mail suggesting we meet each other half-way. I received an e-mail in return telling me he was a little too busy to make the trip, followed by an outline of the many things that were bogging him down (not really necessary, I'm rarely upset by a simple 'no'). But he also write a small PS that his wife was mumbling something about a weekend trip to W (where I live) in the course of the autumn.

I'd love for them to come here. But as we have never met, should I also offer to have them stay with me? Would that be too intense for a first meeting? I can talk with A on the phone and feel totally at ease but I know from B's description that as types we are rather far apart and I worry that we might experience a lot of awkward silenced that I, being who I am, may attempt to fill with slightly hysterical noise and say lots if idiotic things.

Oh well. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now I'll just get myelf back into the swing of things -- you know, work and all that. And then we'll see. :-)

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Status quo

I realise it's been months since I posted, but very little has happened. That is just the way it is when geography prevents progress. But I am on the steps to go home on holiday. And this time it's a properly long holiday which allows for a little travelling here and there, seeing friends, and why not also see A while I'm at it?

We talked briefly on the phone a couple of weeks ago. Our tone is relaxed now, and we talk like friends. I like that. And now it's me wanting to meet him. I am ready. So tonight I am going to send him and e-mail telling him when I will be in the country and ask if he's around at the same time and if we should perhaps try to meet.

I'm optimistic. And that's a good feeling, isn't it?

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Open records

It is clear to me that most of the readers of this blog are American. And that means that you are used to adoption being part of a free market based economy which again is based on demand and supply. And within that market, babies are little more than another commodity to be sold and purchased as dictated by supply and demand.

Suz: I have not stated my country of origin. But you can check out the laws of various European countries and find my country among those with open records. All A had to do was send a letter to the authorities stating that he wanted to know the names of his birth parents, and whether or not they were still alive. The law of open records, which also worked retroactively, was implemented in 1993.

A sent a letter, and was in return sent the requested information supplying him with the names of his birth parents and that they were still both alive. Simultaneously, letters were sent to each of his birth parents informing them that A had requested, and been sent, this information, and were they willing to have contact with him? please fill in this form and return in the enclosed pre-paid envelope.

Both reacted with a resounding 'no!'. They both thought they had buried their past mistake. Their replies were passed on to A.

A was too curious about possible siblings to let it go at that, and B and I were easier to find than his birth mother's children because of our surname, and as my sister is as easy to Google as myself and dad, and she can be traced to the same area as my dad, A correctly surmised that B had to be his sister.

The detective work required on A's part was pretty much non-existent.

That is what open records can do for you.

I am personally all for the open records law of 1993. Over time, I hope it will contribute to diminish all forms of shame in connection with adoptions. There are, of course, far fewer unwanted pregnancies in my country than before because sex ed is thorough and most young couples know how to practise safe sex. Abortion is also a free choice and we are luckily spared the oppressive presence of militant pro-lifers.

You may then wonder why my dad finds this situation so hard to deal with in such an open and liberated society.

All this happened after his contribution to the world of adoptees. And no matter how many laws and regulations introduced from top-down, and no matter the amount of sex ed, there will always be those who are ashamed to admit to having been sexual beings before marriage. There will always be smaller societies where various religious rules go before any form of common sense and shame is doled out in generous helpings following ancient scripts that have been interpreted and re-interpreted by narrow-minded men for as long as the same scripts have been in existence.

There will always be those who demand the right to point a finger.

And Suz, you may find it shocking that dad can't remember the name of the birth mother, but at least I am willing to admit that I can't remember the name of every guy I've slept with. I've had the odd one-night stand not worthy of mentioning in my memoirs. If that makes me a 'slut', a 'bitch' or just cold-hearted, so be it. I really couldn't care less. I guess I can just thank my lucky stars (+ condoms and the pill) I never had to find one of them to stick his name on a birth certificate. Sex is great, but let's not get all forms of sex confused with either love or rape.

Pat: thanks. I hope so too. It would be nice. Most of all, it would be nice if dad could shrug and say 'bygones' to the past and then see A as a valuable addition to an already rich and eventful life. I think they both deserve that.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Dear all adoptees, from a halfsister who doesn't know you

Suz, it is bad. But not because dad is ashamed of A. He is not. His shame is of a far more general art. He is ashamed of having abandoned a young pregnant woman, and a child. He is ashamed of what A represents in his life, not of A.

This post says a little about where dad comes from; the 50's setting during which A was conceived. It's all of THAT which has added up to dad's shame, multiplied it to a degree where he can't face the past.

He's an old man. He has worked hard all his life, been a wonderful dad to me and my sister (something A never got to benefit from), and not being able to take care of his firstborn is something he has tried so hard to forget. As daddy's girl I am more than ready to both forgive and comply with his wishes.

But I think it is sad. Not because of my split love -- I can honestly say that I don't love my brother. I don't know him, have not met him, and what little I do know about him has only served to demonstrate to me how differently we have grown up. Love? No. There's been no time to develop those feelings. Yet. I did not carry him inside me to then be forced to give him up to adoption. There is no unconditional love between a half brother and half sister who have never met.

But I have enough imagination to be aware that if he knew just how ashamed dad felt, he would be devastated. Perhaps he might even take it personally. Because, you see, it is not personal. That shame, that horrid thing that hangs over dad, is not personal, not about A. It is only about dad, the time in which he grew up, the way society (that would be 'us') treat those who put a foot wrong. It's reflected and magnified today in the way the tabloid press treats people like Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse when they crack under the pressure, turn to drugs or alcohol or just happen to feel shit and go out into public without makeup. I too cringe with embarrassment when I see the glee with which acquaintances buzz around the honey pot of gossip.

Everybody loves an unhappy end.

It is easy to say that dad should rise above all that, be the greater person, shrug and face the facts; he failed, but here is his son, and it's ok. Laugh if you want, but there's nothing to be ashamed of.

It's not for you to decide that on his behalf. And it is not for me. I would love it if he could do it, I would love it if A could be a natural part of the family now that we know about him and have regular contact, I wish I could mention him on my regular blog. But it is not for me to decide for my dad. He is a separate person to me, and I do not have the right to take over his life. If I want to include people on my blog I have to have their blessing and agreement with all that entails. A personal blog like mine takes your personal life into the public sphere, and you have to think carefully before you write about others. I have no idea who reads it. But I know that enough people in my parents' social sphere read it to know exactly who I'm talking about.

I'll give him time. Dad. He usually comes around once he's had time to think about things. Because, you see, he really is the greater person. In the meantime I'll stay in touch with A via e-mail and perhaps, just perhaps, we'll even manage to meet this year. Who knows.

That thing called 'shame'

So I asked my dad if I could refer to A in my main blog. Nothing special, just casually as I generally refer to people. Not making a big deal out of it, just, you know, "got an e-mail from my brother this morning. He said nothing new, but it was nice to hear from him." That sort of stuff.

My question was met with a long silence, and then the answer I expected. No. He had been hoping that his mistake, his biggest mistake in life, could go to the grave with him. That his shame would not be held up for public scrutiny.

His shame. His mistake. That is what A is to him. And because I love my dad so much my heart could break I accept this. Even if A would never want to be seen as someone's shame, as another man's mistake. I have no wish to burden A with being dad's shame. But how can I not?

Friday, 9 January 2009

Normality

As I said I would, I slept and read. And then I ate and slept some more. It was a totally uneventful Christmas.

A is now part of normal conversation. I think the bad feelings are gone, and whatever happens next will presumably be pretty unremarkable. Both dad and B have met him, B even visited when she was on a job in the city he lives in. Her report, if I can call it that, was that it was a little tense. A's wife had at one stage left the room to give A and B the opportunity to 'bond' in some way, which lead to some rather awkward silences and bland conversation instead.

We all received a Christmas letter from A's wife. A round-robin poorly laid out with a bad picture of the family (not their fault, entirely the photographer's fault -- there are some shit portrait photographers out there in the world) and one factual sentence for each about the doings of each of them. My friends are probably too clever; I have high expectations of round-robin letters, even of the Christmas kind. Of course, I have no excuse. I didn't send out a single Christmas card this year, to anyone, A inclusive. And I have no idea when I can make up for that. Perhaps I have to sell my body to the highest bidder and then make the trip to visit him instead. I'm sure that would make me feel a whole lot better.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Silent night

I realise -- as I am sure you do too -- that this blog has gone rather quiet. Things with regards to A has gone into 'slumber mode' in general. I am now the one who has not met him; geography is to blame.

He reads my other blog regularly, and sometimes he sends me e-mails as a result of the different posts there. I don't keep the comments open on that blog, so that is the only way people can let me know what they think of what I write. As I now find my life turned upside down (all my own doing, not all good), I have also gone head first into a depression, and I have written about that. One of the things I wrote at the end of a post was 'still putting that makeup on', and I think almost every makeup-wearing woman in the world understand what I mean by that. It means (I'll hammer it home to those who don't get it) that I'm not yet ready for suicide watch. Right? His reaction was to send me a deeply consoling e-mail stating that he finds women far more attractive without all that artificial stuff.

Hm.

I know he meant well, but he really didn't get it. Thank God it was an e-mail. Had he phoned I would probably have done the foot-in-the-mouth thing and said the first thing that came to mind, such as; don't read the fucking words, read the MEANING. At the time I had the sense not to reply, but instead replied with something blandly distant to his next report about sunsets and the common cold. Keeping my distance.

Reading through this I realise I sound like a bit of a stuck-up bitch. But it is really hard to accept a 'new' family member, to unconditionally press someone to my bosom, when I feel absolutely no kinship to him. And I mean that not in a blood-relative sort of way, I mean as a person. I feel more kinship with my dog. And you know what? I have first cousins I never see or hear from because we already know that we have nothing in common. Trying to kindle family feelings is little short of artificial.

There is of course an added problem that does nothing to help the situation. As a family, we have no family events we can include A in. I guess if it hadn't been for Geography he and his family could have been part of Christmas dinner, but even our Christmas dinners are reliant on whoever is around at the time. It's a bit of a fluke that I will be there this year myself.

That I will be in the country for a badly needed two week holiday makes no difference. I am not going to make the long and expensive journey to visit him. Instead I am going to sleep and read books for two weeks. And probably cry a lot because my life is so fucked, but that's another story.

So that's where we're at. Nowhere. I'll let you know when that changes. I promise.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

New beginnings

Suz' advice worked! A while ago I sent a general e-mail to mum, dad, B and A letting them know what our summer holiday plans were (pretty much going nowhere for various reasons). Then recently when I had to have an operation I sent an SMS to let them all know how the op went, and he called.

A couple of days ago he sent an e-mail telling me that B had visited (!). SHE didn't tell me anything about that. We're skilled communicators, we are... But that's great! Things are normalising. And of course he really likes her. How could he not; she's my (I know, I should say 'our', but it's hard to get used to) sister! And the best sister anyone could have.

So we're back in touch. I feel hopeful.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Deafening silence

Yes, he has gone quiet. Is he sulking? Is he angry? Did I step on his toes? All of the above...?

Well. I've thought about it all, about every possibility, and I could always rush in there and apologise for feeling the way I do, for writing what I did. But are my feelings not valid? Do I really have to apologise? Is that what is expected? I did ask for something a little more substantial than mere diary lists of his day or week, so I'm somehow inclined to think that he is not really helping the process of getting to know us or letting us get to know him. After two years I know him no better than after that first phone call.

So.

What does he want?

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Torn

A has gone quiet. I think I came across much too strongly and now he is afraid to contact me at all. I can't put any words on his feelings; they are his and I simply don't know, but having read various adoptee blogs I can only surmise they are not of the good kind.

Here's another thing. I have another blog. And I'd rather only have that one; don't like splitting the various parts of my life into bits. Everything that happens to me is part of me, and so also the appearance of a half brother -- a pretty major happening. And yet I don't feel free to blog about him on my main blog. There are a couple of reasons for this, and they are damned complicated. I'll try to explain.

The basic reasons are that the main blog is read by people who know me, people who live in that aforementioned small community where so little goes on the main form of entertainment is to gawk at other people. Also, dad was a 'someone' in that society, and not only locally, but nationally. So the gawk factor increases. Anything out of the ordinary becomes the most superb form of entertainment, and even though I know it would pass I cringe at the thought of putting the family through those initial stages.

But I oh so want to be able to include A perfectly casually -- no, that's wrong. I want to include these posts on the main blog. The good and the bad. And then I want him to be included in general. Because there is no good reason not to, only a lot of bad reasons.

Here's the more self-centred reason why I don't mention him on the main blog. Bear with me; it will seem a little beside the point at first:

When I was little and about to start school the mother of a girl who was to start at the same time 'found' me and introduced the two of us. We were seven and six years old (me the younger) respectively, and this constructed friendship lasted until about two years ago. Which coincidentally is the same time A appeared on the scene.

L was an only child, and I was there to represent the sister/sibling she never had. Of course, at the end of the day we went to separate homes and I fought with my real sister and she fought with no one. Her mother had overdosed on child psychology and was in addition from a highly intellectual and wealthy family where there were no raised voices EVER, and everything was to be solved with a sensible and mature discussion.

Totally against my nature, but hey! I could go home and be normal at regular intervals! I think L's mum thought both me and my family a little primitive (sister, dog, noise... noise! God forbid!), but for the sake of L she put up with my presence.

At 16 I left for a year as a foreign exchange student in the US. That year changed me dramatically and I discovered that people liked the more outgoing and boisterous version of me; I made friends easily, something I had not experienced in the closed-off symbiosis with L. Those who didn't like my one-liners simply kept their distance -- you can't make friends with everybody. In short, this year allowed me to develop into what I would have been without L, and demonstrated to me just what an odd couple we were.

But I was only seventeen on my return, and I left all my American friends behind and had virtually only L to come home to. I had no time to make new friends before she came down on me like a ton of bricks stating that she found my new personality abhorrent and extremely hurtful and if I did not change back to the pleasant, quiet version who never, ever teased her or made 'hurtful remarks' (those were my one-liners) then our friendship would, sadly, have to be a thing of the past. Ever heard of emotional blackmail? She invented and perfected it.

From then on I lived a double life. For the next twenty years I never objected to anything she said. I left that to others and watched her bite their heads off in a paranoid tirade about how they were intentionally out to hurt her when they did not agree with her in a discussion in her own home. This was of course extended to 'in a café' (they were then out to humiliate her in public), 'away from her own home' where she was 'in an unfamiliar environment with nowhere to go'... dadada, the list goes on. Her focus on her own (continuously declared) vulnerability, which apparently was beyond and above all else's, was quite astonishing. And pretty much an invention of her mother's who had gone to great lengths to visit all of L's school friends' parents to talk to them about her daughter's vulnerable nature, the poor petal whose sensitive nature had to be protected at all cost. The result: the child was permanently tuned in to her own vulnerability, permanently on the lookout for anything that could be interpreted as a hurtful remark, and permanently oblivious to anybody else's feelings.

When she was not around I could breathe more easy. And I did. Around her I kept my trap shut, with others I was simply being me; loud-mouthed and opinionated. Twenty years. At one point, about five years into this prison sentence, she loudly stated at some gathering, 'C has become so nice!' as if I had won some sort of prize. All because I never expressed an independent thought. It did not feel good. But I was long since conditioned not to make waves around her and found when I got really angry about something I was unable to express it except by spluttering incoherently. An unfortunate trait I still struggle to change. This is why I write. It gives me time to gather my thoughts and get rid of the angry red fog that takes over.

In a way I hate her family. I hate their well-behaved mannerisms, I hate what they did to her, a woman now unable to express anger naturally; when she shouts it's like watching someone who slowly looks up the terminology of anger in a dictionary, then tries to follow the instructions. It's plain bizarre. And because she doesn't have that immediate access to anger she never loses her eloquence. She can out-manoeuvre anyone in a discussion or argument because she has, in reality, never been stopped by the fog. She is totally lobotomised by generations of well-behaved intellectuals. And yet I have never met anyone angrier than her, or in more pain from not being able to get over it.

So what does this have to do with me not writing about A on my main blog? Well, L has one more 'character flaw'. She is extremely judgemental. And with her eloquence, being at the receiving end of her various condemnations is less than pleasant. Since she became a born-again Christian (yes, there is that too, and I realise she is beginning to sound like a total joke now but I assure you this is real and no joke), since her religious revelation, she has also become obsessed with perfection of some, to me, incomprehensible sort. The moment she hears of someone putting a foot wrong, be it a politician, a friend or a close relative, she judges that person's entire life and character with a vindication as if her life depended on it, with sarcastic eloquence of which you are unlikely to have heard the like.

I can only imagine what she would have to say about dad were she to find out he'd kept such a secret for fifty years. I am extremely reluctant to allowing her the pleasure.

Back to what happened two years ago. I suddenly stopped just taking it. She was on her usual rant about others who had in some way stepped on her toes and it was my job to agree, also about people of whom I had never even heard. I wasn't being 100% cooperative, asked about what had led her to draw such strong conclusions, and when she related that one of those people she had a falling out with had called her 'controlling', the ensuing pause which I did not fill with the required 'oh what a bitch!' revealed that perhaps, just perhaps I was ever so slightly in agreement with the stranger.

The evening went downhill from there. Feeling that she was loosing her grip on me, she upped the stakes and threw her vulnerability on the table. This she did several times, with me just getting quieter. As she wasn't able to provoke the reaction she wanted she came up with the final trump card. Her husband mistreated her! He is one of my closest friends and I knew him for well over a decade before the two even met. I introduced them in spite of my worry that they would clash in some huge disagreement over world politics or something minor. Something that would force me to hear her slag him off for all eternity for having the audacity to protest in the face of her superiority.

My knee-jerk reaction to this news was to react exactly as she wanted. 'Oh my god! I had no idea?! What does he do?' The tears were real enough. The self-pity was real enough. But the story that ensued had little to do with mistreatment. And perhaps even she was aware that she was about to go too far in her accusations. Because what I heard was nothing more than your usual husband-wife disagreements where he did not always see things her way, which essentially was disloyal in her view (just as I was being disloyal by not spending the evening calling everyone she poured scorn on either a 'bitch' or a 'bastard' when called on to do so).

The evening ended as it had started. On a low. There were no trains running by then so I had to stay the night, and I knew that as soon as she was out of bed the next morning, the torture would continue. I did not sleep. I was utterly exhausted. From having kept my mouth shut for twenty years. From trying to break out of the whole thing. From the memories of having tried to stand up to her in the past and not having the strength.

I caved. But not by agreeing. As soon as M, her husband, got up with their toddler I told him L and I had fallen out over person X calling her controlling, that I was too tired to stay and have her accuse me of disloyalty in various unpleasant ways until I could make some pathetic excuse to get out of there and that all I wanted was to get home and get some sleep. And then I left.

The next day dad told me about A.