Martha and Jean swore by their words that they would always be there for each other. That was the code! Martha was a busy financial planner with two kids and a husband who worked long hours at the local clinic. Her best friend Jean was a recovering alcoholic whose familiarity with rehab had earned her a free night’s stay every time she signed up for the six weeks program. Jean’s recurring love fest with addiction had put a ding in the relationship with her friend. Martha had to bail Jean out of trouble more times than she could count. She’d even gone into debt for her, and almost ruined her family’s trust. With the amount of times Jean had cried wolf, Martha was always there to see to it that she was otherwise okay. At this point, Martha is a fool who can’t see past the deceit she is being put through by her so called best friend of twenty years.
In all honesty, Jean wasn’t all that bad. When it came to issues relating to Martha, she also honored the code. She didn’t have anything tangible to give, but she always gave her time. She was never too busy or too drunk to listen to Martha’s struggles about her home. The fact that clients weren’t asking for her services anymore wasn’t because she was aging, but because she had lacked the ability to stay in the hustle till the end. Martha was like a manifesto that never quite grew legs, and in those silent hard times, the drunken company of Jean was what cheered her on. Her family was completely alienated from this part of her life, but Jean knew. Even when Martha threw her under the bus for sleeping with a client of hers, thus losing her integrity in her company, Jean took the blame for her friend and chalked it up to being wasted at a party that she and Martha attended. The last thing she wanted was for Martha to lose her family over a one-night stand that she was actually involved in.
So, why was this event any different? On a casual hangout at work, Jean had taken some meds she had found in Martha’s secret restroom stash, and overdosed. She stretched her limits and was staring death in its dark face; Martha found her moments later and rushed her to the hospital. She suffered severe injuries to her throat and was unable to speak for days. After repeated sessions at couples-therapy, Martha was advised not to be anywhere near Jean. According to her therapist, Jean was a bad influence on her progress as a mother and a wife. It was for her own good. Reports of a disturbed addict almost dying in her office cost her a few more clients. It was worse because the woman was her friend, someone she knew dearly and associated with. No one wanted to work with that kind of drama! Jean was in the hospital for eight days before she was well enough to go home, in that time, she had no visitors and no letter of sympathy. Martha was never there to see her friend, offer support, or apologize. Jean checked in to rehab again, and as per design she got a free night stay.
If you read through the story again you might notice some cues that will help answer these questions:
What is the lesson here?
On the precipice of friendship, who upholds the code?
How much do these people really know about themselves?
Who is Jean, and who is Martha?