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"My best friend got married. I didn't know how his wife felt about me until 12 years later."

I’ve always felt more comfortable with men.

I’m not sure why.

But when I was younger and started at a new high school, it was a fellow newbie named Matt who I gravitated towards.

As soon as we discovered we had the same birthday, that was it. Matt and I went through it all. I’d set him up with girls, he’d set me up with boys. We’d sneak out for ciggie breaks and we’d go out for underage beers. We were inseparable.

And guess what? We never so much as held hands. Ever. It was a pure solid friendship between a boy and a girl. But this isn’t a story about my friendship with a guy.

This is a story about my relationship with his wife.

I’ve always admired Heather for her total acceptance of our friendship. Never once has she shown anything but respect and grace towards it. Who was this super secure woman that I longed to be?

One time when forcing Matt and I to go out for dinner alone, I remember thinking, enough is enough. No way is this appropriate. But like most men oblivious to the boiling bubble of rage that women hide deep within their loins, Matt was as chilled as gazpacho soup.

Katy and Matt. Image supplied.
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What the hell was going on? Why is everyone so god damn cool about this? I started to think maybe she and Matt were trying to sabotage their relationship.

Then it hit me. Maybe I’m the one with the problem. And I’m the saboteur because I’m so obsessed with making Heather feel included that I’m making myself look guilty.

When she asked me to be godmother to their son, I was shocked to the core. It was finally the pure acceptance I’d needed for so long. I raced to be at the christening and stood up there with both of them feeling so trusted, accepted and loved.

Today, she knows more about me than that pasty bestie of mine. I finally felt brave enough to ask how she really felt about her husband and me. Not because I'm a self-indulgent asshole, but because I was genuinely intrigued.

I expected the same response she’s always given - that she’s always been cool with it. My expectations have a seriously big ego. I wasn’t prepared for the brutal truth.

She was far from OK with it. She told me she was apprehensive about meeting me, especially at her wedding which was supposed to be her day. Why was I flying in and making a grand entrance and making it all about me? Fair point.

Katy and her godson. Image supplied.
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She questioned my intentions. She questioned everything. Certain people had warned her about me, telling her I was a man eater and to be wary of Matt’s “special friend”. Like I’m an invisible Marvel character, or a drug lord from the Bronx.

“I couldn’t understand the friendship.” She told me. “I asked myself why are they so close if nothing’s going on? Why does he love her so much? Why can’t a bad word ever be said about this girl? The not knowing was incredibly tough.”

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little hurt. Not hurt she said those words but that she’d felt them and I was unaware. Honesty can be a bitch.

“We had arguments all the time but Matt said it was my issue that I needed to get over. Deep down I knew he was right but you two had a history without me. I couldn’t compete.”

I was shocked to find one night was particularly traumatic. Convinced Matt and I were having an affair, Heather stayed up listening to our conversations in tears, in order to clarify her doubts. To think that one night was so painful to her, while I don’t even remember it makes me very sad. It’s a good reminder about perception and reality in all relationships.

Thankfully Heather told me she barely remembers that girl behind the door.

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"I think after that incident, I realised I had to sort this out or I’d lose Matt. My insecurities wasted many years. I mean who stays up for hours listening for cheating sounds? What a loser!"

With this admittance, I wondered how the hell you get from there to a place where you ask your enemy to be a godmother. Can time really erase that pain? She said it was a matter of growing up and one day, just “getting it”.

“I’m sure he'd still drop me in a second for his twin but I get it now! He loves you .It just so happens you are the opposite sex. After losing a sister at birth, I think you were the sister and daughter his family never had.”

Heather's raw honesty has affected me.

She wasn’t that secure superwoman I’d been led to believe. She was human, suffering insecurity and low self-esteem when threatened by the enemy. I should have trusted my gut and confronted the elephant in the room and not allowed her to suffer in silence. But hindsight is powerful when you have experience and age on your side.

This honest conversation, albeit 12 years later has made me see Heather as a strong woman. Strong for going through it, strong for admitting it and most of all strong for letting the pain go, and me, in.

“I said if we have a boy, Katy has to be the godmother. I thought you'd be an amazing role model to a boy. You're cool, confident and feminine all at the same time-everything I'd like my son to find in a partner one day. I knew you'd show him girls can be brave, intelligent and kick ass!”

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