Telling Branka Everything a 15 Year Old Would Tell Her Bestest Friend.

It wasn’t until your second post and responses to it before I realized this had nothing to do with unpaid invoices, this was a boyfriend/relationship thing, and you have been hurt again. You have more courage than I do, as I will explain. I was in the middle of writing this when my FB page was viciously hacked, but good luck letting that stop me. Well, if I deleted my FB page, it would have, I digress. This is my attempt to tell you everything a 15 year old would tell her “bestest friend,” despite me being a he, and being much more articulate that I could have ever imagined at age 15.

Not all men are bad, not all women are good. There really isn’t anything gender specific when it comes to the depths of cruelty humans are capable of. The last year of my 6 year engagement, how I knew I needed to leave, how toxic it was, but we tend to want to hang onto the Cinderella story, and I had one, filled with status, a beautiful house on a barrier island in the gulf of Mexico, a thriving law practice. But it was a relationship with a partner both in business and in life that was constantly stabbing me in the back, because at the heart of it all, she was more established, making more money, and I was nothing but a loser in her eyes. This is where I deeply relate to your words, “I know I played a part in the situation, I allowed it, I stayed, I expected, I lied to myself. All true. I own what I see as pathetic and sad.”

It was a long, painful split, both financially and emotionally. She kept the status, the island house, the lucrative city attorney contracts, and almost $100,000 cash from the office I purchased off of her so she could finish the addition to the island house. I was able to bounce back, eventually getting my practice back into gear. We were split, living separately, but still sharing space with separate practices in my office building. We remained friends, and I was comforted knowing I had some rent coming in to cover the mortgage.

Then one day while preparing for court, I suffered a brain aneurysm burst. I am very lucky to have survived, you read about young people dying of aneurysm’s every day, such as the 15 year old girl in California that died playing softball recently. I was only 36 at the time. December 17, 2014 was the 10 year anniversary of that event.

It was what she did while I was recovering in intensive care that sticks like a craw. I managed to get in touch with her on my cell phone from my hospital bed a couple of days after I came out of the coma, and she assured me not to worry, my cases would be handled. She would take care of everything, have court dates postponed, etc. Within a week, I received a phone call from the FL bar while in my hospital bed about a complaint from a client. I contacted the client who complained, because her repeated messages were never forwarded. I had to contact the judges, opposing counsel, and clients on about 20 cases, and literally ran my business from bed in intensive care. I found out months later from her secretary that she gave strict instructions when she hung up the phone. “Don’t touch any of his god damn cases, fuck him.”  To make matters worse, when I got out of the hospital, he stopped paying rent for almost 5 months before suddenly moving out. She fired her secretary about a week later (how I now know every detail about what she did). She did about $1500 worth of damage moving her stuff out, in a fit of rage, because she heard the neighboring law firm made an offer to buy my building, and she was pissed because she felt she deserved half of the proceeds from the sale, and threatened to sue me. That’s how the business relationship ended. Now I know exactly why she never once visited me while I was in the hospital.

Political leaders talk about the fog of war, the same can be said about the fog of love, but it literally took that level of being bent over and fucked before I had my “Uncle, I am done,” moment. I still carry the bad with this one. I have been completely unable to trust, and it has cut short every relationship I’ve been in since. I stopped dating, because I cannot get past the greed I see in my dates eyes when they hear I have a law degree, and the disappointed “loser” look I get when I express my desire to go back into public interest work.

I know, I can’t think this way, I have to be more positive, I get that. The feeling I just expressed about distrust, or the feelings you are going through now, cannot be turned off like a light switch. Your anger today on FB was palpable and understandable once I finally got it.  Seriously, sometimes you really have to spell things out for me, I digress again.  We all handle things differently, in our own space, and in our own time. I will always admire your courage to get right out and date again, but maybe the decisions we make about the type of people we get involved with need to be examined before, say, I can trust again, or before, say, you get hurt again.  Still, I still remember the intoxicating feeling I felt every time I would run into you at the Loop Lounge, and how incredibly shy I was all the way into my late 20’s.  It was so difficult just trying to talk to you, and I regret it, but that is where I was, and I own the fact that level of insecurity is not attractive.  But it was a time when we were still young, innocent, before life really had the chance to figuratively bend us over and remove that curtain of innocence.  If that is all there is to love, I love you.  But mutual attraction and relationships are more complicated than simply feeling intoxicated with love, no matter how good it feels at the time.  There has to be something more to the equation.

Well, that’s what I would tell you as a 15 year old to his/her bestest friend, because to me, just throwing out a “you go, girl” is not enough in light of the pain reflected in your post.  Sometimes sharing a painful story about a really difficult time helps one to realize they really are not alone in all of this, and if I was there right now, all intoxication aside, I’d give you a big hug to remind you of that.  In the meantime, it’s priceless having a great dog at your side, and I love that picture you posted with Phoebe licking your face.  I’m still looking for my next furry pal, what they do for us is immeasurable.  Because the silver lining to the story I just shared, was I adopted Danny Lee.  We do have the ability to pick ourselves up and move on. 🙂


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