When I was in my pre-teens, my friend and I would go for breakfasts occasionally with a woman from the church. My friend and I felt we were very mature because this woman - this grown up - wanted to spend time with us. We were both at the stage of trying to separate ourselves from our parents and our family - trying to forge independence. We hated everyone and everything.
She showed interest in what we were thinking and it was a heady, powerful feeling. With all the adults in our lives telling us what to do - teachers, parents, "the man" - it was nice to feel like we were being heard. Being young and foolish, we were easily guided and said things we may have meant at the moment, but were in no way how we would always feel. We thought we were in a safe place, so we didn't censor anything.
Both my friend and I had tumultuous relationships with our fathers, she much more than I. And we talked about it. Vented with venom and passion that only pre-teens can find. It went horribly awry. She took our parents aside and explained everything we had said and how horrible it was.
I remember being confronted about our comments by both my parents and my grandfather. I remember the shame I felt at the cruel things I had said. I remember the betrayal I felt at the hands of a woman I thought I could trust. I never knew if she had manipulated us into saying things or if she had truly been concerned. All I know is we never spoke to or of her again.
Life went on from there as it often does. My father and I mended our relationship as best we could. We had ups and downs from there, but I think nothing too out of the ordinary. My friend and her father never quite mended theirs. There was always a tension between them and I have to believe it stemmed from that moment.