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The ‘Crime’ I Didn’t Commit

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Have you ever been accused of a crime that you didn’t commit and then did the time?  I have and no, it isn’t a criminal crime that I am referring too so relax.  You aren’t reading a confession about a serious crime I committed when I was younger.

This sordid tale centre’s around one of my ex-best friends.  To protect his identity he will remain anonymous – so let’s call him Bill.

Bill and I had been mates since grade 8 and we were very close.  His parents were great and I often called his mum, Mum.  We would vacation together and spend most weekends together.  Bill left school in Year 10 to go to work while I remained to complete my HSC, and if you are a regular reader, that turned out well didn’t it!  We stayed in touch even though he left school and remained best mates until our early 20’s.

Bill always struggled to get a girlfriend as he was quite a shy guy.  Now I find it impossible to admit any man is good looking.  I think we are truly repulsive beings.  I will however concede that Bill was not ugly.  Happy?  No!  Ok, he wasn’t offensive to look at in the Steve Buscemi class of males but he was no Brad Pitt either (from what I’ve been told, Brad is very good looking – me, well I can’t see it).

So high school came and went and I joined the army.  After I left the army I went and worked for Domino’s and it was during these early years that Bill met a gorgeous young hair dresser and to protect her identity, she will go by the name of Jane.  She was absolutely beautiful and amazing.

I was living in Townsville at the time when I first met Jane, and we formed an instant friendship.  Approx 6 months later I relocated back home to Brisbane and spent a lot of time with Bill and Jane who were now engaged.

Jane didn’t have her licence yet and we both shared Tuesday as a day off from work.  As she didn’t have her licence, I was asked if I could drive her around to do chores while Bill worked.  I had nothing better to do and as Jane and I were great friends, I immediately said yes.

Then a strange thing happened.  During this time with Jane I found myself falling for her.  Afterall, she was an amazing person.  That being said, I have always been loyal to my mates and never tried to steal a girl away from them.  Bro’s before Ho’s is the motto I believed in, so I never acted upon my feelings.  Then one day during our weekly excursion to the shopping centre, Jane confessed that she had feelings for me too.  I was gob smacked and wasn’t sure whether to tell her I had the same feelings too, but I am sure she already knew.  So I fessed up and told her I felt the same.  There was an awkward silence as neither one of us knew what to do about it.  I told her, and she agreed, that my loyalty was to Bill and perhaps we shouldn’t see each other like this anymore.

I was devasted.  All my life, to that point, I had been looking for someone just like Jane and I now had an opportunity to have her.  Bro’s before Ho’s was in the forefront of my mind.  I think around about this time that Bill cottoned on as to what was happening between Jane and I.  He never said anything but there was something up.  Over the months we slowly drifted apart spending less and less time together.  Jane and I didn’t do anymore shopping trips either.

Eventually I met my now wife, Lisa.  Lisa and I married quite quickly after beginning our courtship, because after all, when you’ve found the one, you gotta keep her right!  We set the date for our wedding just 6 weeks after getting engaged.  I tried to contact Bill to let him know the good news and to invite him and Jane to the wedding.  No answer or return calls.  So I called Jane and told her.  I introduced her to Lisa and being a hair dresser – and a damn good one too – she offered to cut and style Lisa’s hair for the big day.  Lisa accepted the offer.

Jane said she wanted to come to the wedding but Bill was being difficult.  About 2 weeks before the big day, I went around to hand deliver the invitation and saw Bill for the first time in months.  He didn’t seem happy to see me and said that he would be busy that day and wouldn’t be coming.  I was very disappointed.  I wanted to explain things about Jane and I – even though there was no Jane and I – but I wasn’t sure by doing so if this would place Jane in a difficult position.  I just hoped Jane would be able to talk some sense into him and he would come.

The big day arrives and so do Bill’s parents but sadly, Bill or Jane do not.  Bill’s mum is apologetic.  It was a great wedding but I was disappointed that one of my best mates didn’t come.  It was also the last time I ever saw Bills mum and dad.

That was 1997.  Thirteen years later I still haven’t seen Bill or spoken to him.  In the first two years after Lisa and I got married I would occasionally see Jane at work as I walked on by and sometimes she would even cut my hair – when I had it!  In 1999 we left Brisbane and lost all contact with Bill and Jane.

Bill thinks that some funny business was happening between Jane and I and therefore he has penalised me ever since.  The crime I have been judged on by Bill, is he assumed Jane and I were seeing each other physically and the sentence I was given? Exile!  I didn’t even touch Jane and other than the one conversation where we admitted each others feelings for each other, we didn’t even talk about our feelings or consider a relationship.

Does the crime deserve the time?  From my point of view, the crime that I did commit was falling for his girl.  That is it.  I never acted upon those feelings.  Now, 13 years later I sometimes wish I had have acted upon them, because I served the same sentence as if I had of.  I have been punished for a crime I didn’t commit.  I’m glad I didn’t though because I can now hold my head high and know that he was he who destroyed our friendship and not me.

Or am I wrong?  Was my falling for his girl a justified reason for him to exile me from his life?  I still don’t know whether Jane ever told him the truth.  Maybe he still thinks that something happened!  I have been tempted to write him a letter but I fear that bringing up old history may cause issues between he and Jane.  I looked them up in the phone book and I see that they are still listed and therefore together which I am so happy about.  He is a great guy who deserves a great girl.  A girl like Jane.

I just miss my mate.

So what do you think?  Is my punishment deserved?  Did he do the right thing by exiling me without explanation?  Do you think I should have commited the crime back then seeing as how I have now done the time?  Do you think I should make contact?  Really looking forward to your responses.

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  1. Hi Jack, perhaps a way to look at it is that there was no physical betrayal, yet there was a betrayal of the heart, however unintended. Often physical betrayal is easier to forgive than the elusiveness of a true heart connection. Obviously you both acted in Bill’s best interest, but he being shy and perhaps not of strong self esteem will always wonder what was lacking in him. It is something that only he can change and he may never have the self confidence to do so. I have only just started to learn the old adage that some friends are for life, some for a season and some for a reason. Sadly, though we may still love a friend, perhaps it is time to recognize that the reason or season has passed. I believe love is forever, but sometimes relationships are not. So whilst you have done nothing wrong, I think there is obviously a hurt you can not repair and I also think it would be healthier to move on; however the romantic in me would say: do you miss HIM or the FRIENDSHIP? If it is truly him and not the memory of what you once had, then reach out the olive branch once more, so at least you know you did all that was in you power. The rest is up to him! Oh, and celebrate what was, not what isn’t!!

    • jackmcclane says:

      Thanks for that Steph.

      I do miss him. I am old enough to recognise that the friendship would be different from when we were young adults. It’s changed with all of my other mates so to expect it to be different to him would be niave.

      I just wonder how he is. What do his kids look like. Is life as he expected it. I heard his mum died a couple of years ago and I would so like to offer my condolances. She was a terrific lady but I have guilt there because I didn’t keep in contact with them after the wedding. I don’t know why. Perhaps it was going to be difficult having a relationship with them and not him as well. Dunno really.

      I’ve had his number in my phone for 3 years. If I was going to call him it would have been by now. I imagine that his life is fine the way it is without me interrupting it. If he wanted to, he could have tracked me down. Maybe he is thinking the same thing. I started writing a letter to Jane a few years ago just to say hi and let her know that we were all well and hopefully she would let Bill know that as well. I stopped after a paragraph. I remember thinking what was the point. To who’s advantage would it be to make contact. Does the fact that I am now happily married to a lady whom I love so much and have 2 kids who I adore show to him that I am not at all interested in Jane? I guess I just hate the fact that he didn’t trust me enough as a mate to know that I would never betray him. I gave him that courtesy when I said no to Jane. Why didn’t he give it back? He should have trusted us. Easy for me to say now, I know, but he never gave me that chance. If he was man enough, he should have pulled me aside and asked me if anything was going on and given me the benefit of the doubt. If I had given him any cause during our entire friendship to not trust me then I could understand. I didn’t though. It’s a shame.

      I will continue to ponder this for years to come.

      I may write him a letter with no reference to the whole issue but rather a ‘this is where we are and what we have been doing and here’s my contact details. Call me if you want, I would really love to hear from you’. Maybe that is the best way. Maybe.

      Thanks for reading and I am so glad you enjoyed it.

      Take care

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