If there's a troublemaker in sight, I'm drawn to them. Whether it be a female friend or a boyfriend, if they're prone to being up to no good, I'll manage to find them and get sucked into their lives. When I was younger I regarded it as a bad but interesting habit; now that I'm older, it's just simply poor decision making on my part.
In my early 20's, I dated a fella who completely embodied the very definition of "bad boy." He drank too much, indulged in drugs more often than he was willing to admit, was covered in tattoos and my parents hated him. Of course, this meant I loved him even more.
During our two years as a couple, we attended two weddings together. The first one was that of his cousin, and the second one was of a childhood friend of mine. After the first wedding, I should have known better than to bring him to the second one, but I was 22 years old, in love and wasn't exactly thinking clearly or responsibly.
From the beginning I knew Patrick was a hardcore drinker. He drank like no one I had ever met, and when we spent time together, I tried to play catch up and drink as much as I could, too. It was not a pretty sight. But unlike Patrick, I knew there was a time and a place for everything. It was one thing to get wasted on a Friday night at a dive bar in South Boston, but another thing to get loaded at a wedding.
So there he was doing shots by himself at his cousin's wedding, whiskey shot after whiskey shot, while even his mother told him to slowdown. Before any of us knew it, he took to the dance floor alone to try out some sort of failed attempt at break-dancing, as I dropped my head into my hands and cursed myself for agreeing to be his date. It was embarrassing to watch, to say the least. I couldn't tell who was more ashamed: his immediate family or me. They were stuck with him as a son and brother, while I had chosen to be part of his life.
Eventually his father stopped the nonsense, took him from the dance floor and I spent the rest of the wedding in the parking lot with him as he threw up and smoked cigarettes in between. Just as I predicted, he didn't remember a thing the next day. Although his mind was free of guilt and painful memories from the night before, he swore he'd never act that way again at such an event. We agreed that that behavior was indeed for bars and college parties, or afternoons after we'd had too many bloody Marys at brunch and had Boston Commons in which to roam freely. I forgave him; I trusted him to do the right thing in the future, and allowed him to be my date to my friend's wedding about six months later...
Where, again, the open bar got the best of him. But this time, it was my family and friends who witnessed it all, which made it even more humiliating than the first time wedding with him. It was like clockwork: the shots of whiskey, the dance floor, then out to the parking lot yet again. However, this time around, he fell on the dance floor, then tripped again on the metal frame that separated the wooden dancing area from the carpet, and down he fell to his knees, bracing a potential face-plant with his elbows; a face that was already excessively bruised from a drunken fight just a week before the wedding.
But despite that, I couldn't let him go just yet. Even though my parents were completely against it, and the damage had been done to my friend's wedding, I just wasn't ready to move past him. Like I said, I loved him too much.
When our relationship came to an end not long afterward because his drug addiction became a problem I could no longer bear, I was finally able to see exactly what he had done not only to me, but my relationships with other people. No one wanted to invite me to their events if I brought him; so from then on out every invitation, whether it was to weddings, birthdays or anything else, included a hand-written note that said, "No Patrick please." I was slowly, but surely, alienating everyone because I was with someone who couldn't behave in a manner of which society approved when it came to drinking.
Looking back, I'm not sure how I would have handled it differently. I supposed I could have learned my lesson the first time, but sometimes when you have such stock in someone and hope they're capable of change, it's hard not to give them chance after chance.
To this day, Patrick and I are still friends. And also to this day, from what he tells me, he still drinks too much at any place that has an open bar and embarrasses everyone in the process. Some people are not capable of change; some people will always be a "Good Time Charlie." For that, I'll always adore him; but for that, I'll never invite him anywhere again.
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