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I CONFESS: Didn’t think she’d tell my secret

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

I CONFESS: Didn’t think she’d tell my secret

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Anyone who has ever been betrayed by someone they regarded as a friend knows the anguish and anger that causes. This is what I am feeling right now.
As I am not a wordsmith, I find it difficult to express how I am feeling apart from saying that I am angry, vex, hurt, disappointed – every word that would describe the pain of having my personal business, which I shared in confidence, leaked to someone who has now used it against me.
I guess I can’t blame anyone but myself for this happening. If I never told my supposed friend my business, then she would not have been able to blab about it. But what hurts so much is that I trusted her. I had come to depend on her listening ear and ready advice. In the 12 years I knew her I never had a reason to think that she was other than a caring individual – until now.
What really annoys me, though, is that I never would have told her if I didn’t need her help emotionally.
The little I am prepared to say about my personal problem is that I was involved with a certain man and he gave me herpes. On finding out about the infection, I left this man, but quietly pursued him through an attorney until he agreed in writing to pay me a sum of money each month to help with any related medical complaints. This arrangement worked fine for a number of years until he became ill and died.
As I was working, I handled my medical bills thereafter without a problem. I managed the condition well, so flare-ups were few and costs minimal. But all of that changed a couple of years ago after I was laid off. The stress of not working and worrying about my future because of dwindling finances took its toll on my health, and my herpes began acting up.
During this period I was at my loneliest. Sometimes all I used to do was sit and cry. At least when I was at work I had something to occupy my mind, but that valve was gone too. So I was really hurting.
That was when I started hinting things to my friend. I had met her at church and we had become close. As she is older, she became like the older sister I never had.
That’s why when my flare-ups became particularly painful and I was in panic, I eventually confided my secret to her. I honestly felt she would understand and be there for me even more.
Was I wrong! She slowly began pulling away from me. It was subtle but it was clear. She used to hold me close before then – in fact she used to hug me like a man would and at one point I thought she was a lesbian. But after my confession her embraces were more like a brief friendly hug. I noticed this but said nothing.
I noticed too that instead of coming by my house every day, even if it was just for ten minutes, within that month of my confession her visits went to five days, then three days, then to two. And she always had a good excuse.
I figured she needed time to digest what I had told her, so that was why I said very little about her change in attitude. But as the months rolled on, she never mentioned it. I realized then my mistake and decided I would not say anything about it either.
Then one morning after a christening at the church, as I was about to take one of the babies from the young mother, the pastor, who was standing nearby, said to me in a raised voice: “I would prefer if you didn’t do that.” Realizing what he said and how he said it made everyone curious, although he tried to smooth it over by saying, “That’s because I need to talk to you about something we need you to do for us right now.”
So he and I went to a side and he apologized for his outburst. He told me he did it because he was aware of my condition, and I should know better than to expose a baby to my illness.
I just stared at him. I was so angry that I knew if I had said anything to him it would have caused a scene; so I just walked away without saying a word.
How could he think that I would be so irresponsible to hug a baby and pass on my illness to it? Herpes is not passed like that anyway. But the worst thing was that it was my supposed friend who had told the pastor. She had no right to do that.
I have since ended any involvement with her, that pastor and that church! How can these people claim Christian love of their fellow man and treat me as if I was a leper?
The whole thing taught me this lesson: keep your secrets to yourself; that way no one can ever betray you.