Recently, I have gone from having a person who I felt was a very good friend become a bitter enemy.
How does something like this happen?
Well, as I am sitting here at this computer in a hotel room in Dallas, Texas, I can say that it starts with a lack of respect and it snowballs from there.
Let me tell you a little story of my good friend, we will call her A. She has a husband that we will call R. I thought that they were my good friends. I thought they were people I could trust and people that I could rely on to be there for me when the chips were down. Boy, was I bamboozled.
It all started a year ago when my family was facing being put out in the streets after my husband has lost his job and our only source of income. A. and I communicated to one another about the possiblity of relocating my family to Lousiana. At first, I was really hesitant, because she lived in rural Louisiana. The thought of living in rural Louisiana was something that made this Yankee heart go stone cold. Rural Lousiaina? Have you lost your ever living mind?!!!
Well, then I started looking at the demographics of the town that they lived in. It was 40% Black and 20% Native American. Which meant that I wouldn’t have to live in a place that was a majority white for the first time since I lived in Memphis. My knees got weak at the thought.
Added to the racial demographic was a casino close by that my husband could find work at. My friend offered to help us “until we found our feet” – and based on the fact that we really needed a safe place to land while we “found our feet” we decided that this would be the best option for our family.
I had known A. for a while from an on line group about transracial adoption that we were both admin of. I trusted her words and her sincerity. I felt that this would be a good place for us to relocate and start a new life for our family to be able to have better opportunities for us.
And at first it really seemed like it was the right decision. We got along good. Our kids seemed to get along. My friend’s husband, who is a basketball coach and special education teacher at the local high school, seemed to be the perfect person to really help my children with their basketball game. In addition, he seemed to be the perfect person to be an advocate for my daughter who suffers from anxiety disorder.
Then it all seems to start going sideways.
It all started at the beginning of the summer when R. asked me to coach the summer basketball team. He said that he couldn’t coach the team because it was against Louisiana High School Athletic Association for him to coach more than three players at a time in the off season. In other words, I was to be a figure head so that he wouldn’t be penalized for circumventing the rules. He gave me the summer schedule for the Elton High School Girl Basketball Team and asked me to find tournaments that wouldn’t interfere with the team camps that he already had scheduled. He also asked me to organize and handle the fundraising and management of the team. The deal was this: his daughter (who will be referred as C.) would be the “figurehead” physical coach and he would coach from the sidelines or via text message. I would handle the management and be the of coach of character development.
Problems started almost immmediately. I made a schedule for the team – fundraising and tournaments. I presented all the information to parents at the Elton High School Girls Basketball Try Outs. It was made clear that I would be the manager and that C. would be the physical coach. My oldest daughter was supposed to come back from from Tennessee to help C. with the physical coaching and R. was supposed to take a back seat – and be a donor to the program to cover whatever we couldn’t get from fundraising. Keep in mind, we had about a month and a half to raise $8,000, so it was understood that R. would be covering the lion’s share of the money required to make this venture successful.
So, we started the season. We went to Houston to a tournament with expectations to see what the competition looked like. We ended up coming in third place, which qualified us for Nationals. Things were looking good.
After the Houston tournament at the end of May, I suddenly got very, very sick. After a night of constant pain on my right side and throwing up, I went to the emergency room to find out that I needed emergency surgery to have my gall baldder removed. After my surgery, we were supposed to start our fund raising.
The first sign of problems was the day after I came home from the hospital from my surgery when our physical coach, who also happens to be R. and A.’s daughter, sent me a text and said that she wanted to cancel practice because she was hung over from a night of drinking.
I am not a big believer of cancelling practice, especially for that type of reason. We are trying to teach these young ladies to push through the adversities of life, so how can we use excuses to not practice. So one day out ofthe hospital, I held the practice.
I immediately contacted A. to try to pull her coat about what was going on. I wanted to nip all of this in the bud. But A. ignored me. She would not respond to any of my concerns.
Then , we had a fundraising activity coming up for over the weekend, and I sent one of my daughters with another of A. and R.’s daughters to pick up supplies for the event. I was met with resistance and outright disrespect telling me “you don’t need that” by a 16 year old child. I was again highly offended by this behavior of one of A. and R.’s children. I do not let children disrespect me without consequence. I tried once again to pull A.’s coat about it, only to be ignored again.
So, then the day of our first fudnraising even came. And C. was no where to be found. As a matter of fact, A. scheduled her to be elsewhere with no reagrd for the fact that the team had a fundraising event and that I was trying to handle. All of this after having surgery only four days earlier.
I was angry and frustrated at this point and AGAIN I tried to pull A.’s coat. I let her know that her daughters were being disrespctful and I also let her know that her second daugher (whom we will refer to as M.) was using all their vehicles to drive a boy around that to sell drugs. I thought I was doing the right thing. As a parent, I would want to know these things.
Instead of being appreciative, A. and R. turned against all the black girls on their basketball team. R. took his high school team to a team camp and benched their starting post and then proceeeded to scream and yell at the girls as if they were dogs. I was highly triggered by his behavior and I AGAIN tried to reach out to A. as a friend, only to be ingored AGAIN. I even reached out again and said “you can’t ignore this problem, you really need to get control of this issue” – but again I was ignored.
Then I started really examine the friendship.
I will continue again on how all of this cumulated into R. throwing my children out into the streets in Dallas, Texas and how two other white parents, whom we will call E. and P. supported him in throwing children out into the Dallas streets. We will especially talk about E. telling my 13 and 15 year old children to “find their own way home” from Dallas, thereby stranding us 7 hours away from home.
I will continue this story tomorrow and we will continue to talk about how fiends can turn into enemies.