Totally forgot to mention the woman who stole my dog. Few years ago we had dated for a few months. Wasn’t much of a courtship, more like she met me and decided right off the bat she had to have me and like a force of nature wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. She eventually grew tired of me, and just as suddenly it was over. We remained friends, and when I had my second go-around with Angel, she agreed to watch my dog Cuba for me. Fell in love with him and refused to give him back. I was upset, but my philosophy is one doesn’t “own” a pet so much he or she is blessed with the animal’s company for however long God grants. Cuba had made a huge difference in my life by helping me overcome serious depression, but I figured it must be his turn to help someone who now needed him more than I did.
My friendship with Sheila went through several rough patches when she became verbally and physically abusive towards me. When she struck me for the second time, I severed all ties with her for over a year. I am particularly adverse to physical violence due to some trouble during childhood and being the victim of assault as an adult. Truth be told, I am a coward. Once again, not a real man.
I occasionally ran into her on club rides, and learned she was struggling with life more than ever, in financial distress and facing foreclosure, depressed with suicidal thoughts, and having lost most her friends, had nobody to talk to. I accepted her olive branch with conditions and started taking her calls again. After my dismal failure making a difference with Angel, I no longer fool myself into thinking I can “save” anyone. All I do is listen to Sheila’s troubles, “talk her down” when necessary, gently steer her towards professional help, and nag her about taking her meds. She is slowly turning the corner, but I take none of the credit, she gets all the credit. The nature of these things is 99% bootstraps, 1% encouragement. I am not a saint here. I get bored, annoyed, and resentful of the tedium. Official Status: Just Friends.