When I was 17, Lightsinthesky (a slightly dodgy friend of mine from school) started dating his first real girlfriend, Lisa (a slightly dodgy friend of mine from church) - not her real name - who I'd once had a crush on myself, although by that point it really wasn't there any more. Lisa was a bit of a moaner, although she did have her reasons, but upon dating Lightsinthesky, she started to become nothing less than insufferable, what with her almost constant stream of complaints about him to me via e-mail.
I remember one such conversation:
L: "He doesn't love me, does he?"
ILB: "I'm not sure. Maybe. Maybe not. Why?"
L: "Oh, don't worry, that was the PMT talking. But now you've mentioned it, why don't you think he loves me?"
ILB: "Hold on. If you're going to be like this, we'll have the same conversation every month."
I played a lot of her silly games, too. I cycled two miles to her house late at night because she threatened to self-harm if nobody did anything (she didn't expect me to actually do so). She flitted around on MSN with screen names like "unpretty, fat, and ugly" - so I 'phones everyone she knew and conducted a survey, none of them thought she was - and put on an almost indecent show of enthusiasm towards adults. I recognised the symptoms of depression, but they weren't very similar to what I'd been going through... particularly not self-harm, which (as I knew, also from personal experience) wasn't something to boast about.
In any case, I was pretty much against her dating Lightsinthesky, mostly because I knew they were going to destroy each other. Because they were both friends (particularly Lightsinthesky; I saw him every day), I wanted them both to be happy, but I could practically predict this happening. Of course, it did, and then when he finished it, it was left to your friendly neighbourhood ILB to pick up the pieces.
I got this text:
L: "So, you know the new girl he's been dating?"
ILB: "Vaguely, yeah. Why?"
L: "How long's he been dating her for?"
ILB: "About a week."
(Bear in mind this was about three days after Lightsinthesky had finished it with her and started with his new, younger girlfriend. In hindsight, I shouldn't have said that, but it was more of an estimate.)
ILB: "She's younger. I don't know much else about her."
L: "Are you serious?!"
(This was in reference to my first text; I, however, thought it was a reply to my second. The perils of sending two in a row.)
The phone rang. I was in the school library, but I picked it up, anyway. I shouldn't have done, because I got an earful of mixed wails, insults and the classic moaning. I felt incredibly guilty for inadvertently suggesting he'd been cheating on her. Lightsinthesky may have been a bit of a cad, but he didn't go that far. I apologised for the confusion and enquired as to if she was okay. Of course she wasn't, but she let me know that... with a certain degree of force.
My life spiralled into a month or so of confused messages from all sides. I lay back and suffered, idiotically, the verbal abuse and threats of suicide from her while she rebuffed my offers of advice and friendship - until I couldn't take any more and told her best friend about everything that she'd been saying. I went back to laughing with Lightsinthesky about the stuff we used to laugh about before the debacle, supported my token black friend in his emerging relationship with one of his friends, a long-term crush for him, and acted as the messenger boy for missives from the girl who had once been Lightsinthesky's second girlfriend to her new crush... a guy who looked like Dewey Riley out of Scream who wasn't really interested. I got a lot of flak for that, as well.
Eventually I stopped hearing from Lisa. Talking to her wasn't good for me, so although I was still worried about her, it was a bit of a breather for me. I wasn't entirely sure about what she'd done to Lightsinthesky to make him dump her so abruptly, but it clearly wasn't pleasant. I'd seen what she was capable of, emotionally, and it certainly wasn't pleasant.
Lisa eventually went on to get married at a quite young age. I was incredibly surprised when she graduated in the same ceremony as my sister, implying she'd taken four years longer to complete (or start) university than all the rest of us had. Noticing her name being read out, I went to say hello. She pretended to barely recognise me. We exchanged awkward pleasantries... and then I melted away relatively quickly.
I think it's for the best, don't you?