The Third Wheel

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 3rd Feb 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Personal Experiences

Here is another story from my book: Picking Up The Pieces: A Woman's Journey

I didn't know how to play with children

I was totally alienated from the other students during my early school years. I came from an impoverished background and I lacked social skills. I was uncomfortable in the presence of other children. In turn, the children ignored me or called me names. Since I was overweight, I was always called fatty throughout my elementary years.

I liked books

About the end of grade 3, I was tired of just watching other children play and not being invited to join in. Yet, I still invented reasons why I couldn't go to recess and be forced to interact with them.

During the time when the teachers did accept my excuses to skip recess, I became an avid reader and I gobbled up everything that I could find in the school library. The librarian was so thrilled to finally have a student who cared about reading. Being a ghetto school, it was like pulling teeth to try and get a student to come into the library and open up a book. Most of the students refused to read a book if they didn't have to, and the rest would only read comic books, or look at the pictures-I never really figured out which it was.

I never liked comic books. I wanted to read full paragraphs and developed plots where I could lose myself in the magical world of the writer. Tolkien's: The Hobbit (1937) was one of my favourite stories.

Meeting Brenda

When I was finally forced to go to recess, I started to play with younger children. At least they looked up to me and that gave me the validation that I was missing from my own peers.

All in all, although Renate had left the school almost a year before, she still remained my only real friend. It wasn't until the fourth grade that I actually befriended a girl in school of my own age, and in my own class. Brenda was new to the school. She had come from the province of Nova Scotia.

It was in that grade that I had developed a strategy to make friends. Since the kids I knew would not befriend me, I decided that I would target the newcomers to the school, welcome them, and become their friend. They did not know anyone so it was my one and only opportunity to shine. This reciprocal arrangement worked out well enough in the beginning until they either moved away or were secure enough to find other friends who were more popular than I would ever be. Even back in elementary school no one liked to be associated with the losers; you always wanted to be a part of the "in group."

So I targeted Brenda and she became my friend. Funny enough, she stuck around. Not only was she in my class at school, she lived on my street as well. We played every day after school. Brenda and I would go to Sunday school together. Actually she was the one that introduced me to the Lord when I was 9 years old. It was then that I became a born-again Christian. Prior to that I was an Anglican and had gone to church with Renate who really only went because her mother expected her too.

I wanted us all to be happy

Being Brenda's friend was fun, but I was beginning to miss Renate. Whenever I asked Brenda if she would like to meet Renate, she would say no, and whenever I asked Renate if she would like to meet Brenda, she too would say no. I could not understand why my two friends did not want to meet each other. I wanted all three of us to be friends. I was tired of dividing my time between the both of them.

Each of the girls would complain if they felt I was spending more time with the other one and neglecting them. As a girl who knew all too well the pain of rejection, the last thing I wanted to do was to neglect or reject anyone. Since these two girls refused to meet each other, I had to devise a plot where they would meet whether they liked it or not.

The plan

Since I knew that Brenda would come to pick me up after school, I told her that we would be playing in the backyard one particular evening. Then I called Renate and asked her to come over and play in the backyard with me. We would play ball. She already knew that I was not allowed to play ball on the sidewalk; my grandmother was far too afraid that I would run in the middle of the street and get killed. Incidentally I never learned how to ride a bike for that very same reason.

When Renate got there, Brenda had already arrived and they came face to face for the first time. I introduced them to each other and I stayed back and watched nature take its course. I knew both of them would like each other; after all if I liked each of them why wouldn't they like each other as well?

Why was I always fighting with them?

Since I knew that Brenda would come to pick me up after school, I told her that we would be playing in the backyard one particular evening. Then I called Renate and asked her to come over and play in the backyard with me. We would play ball. She already knew that I was not allowed to play ball on the sidewalk; my grandmother was far too afraid that I would run in the middle of the street and get killed. Incidentally I never learned how to ride a bike for that very same reason.

When Renate got there, Brenda had already arrived and they came face to face for the first time. I introduced them to each other and I stayed back and watched nature take its course. I knew both of them would like each other; after all if I liked each of them why wouldn't they like each other as well?

The friendships blossomed and all was well with the world; for a while at least. But then, all of a sudden, I was always finding myself in an argument with them and I was the one who was being left out. Either Brenda was mad at me for something, or Renate was mad at me for something. Furthermore, whenever either of them was mad at me for anything they would choose each other over me.

I was forever miserable and I couldn't understand why this was happening. I just wanted to play with my two best friends. I was not completely clueless, I realized that Brenda was a person who needed a lot of attention.

So I figured that one way to resolve the issue was to constantly shower her with compliments and maybe the fighting would stop. This worked extremely well for Brenda, but not for Renate. She went home and wouldn't speak to me for about a week until I gained her friendship again.

I was totally bewildered and very unhappy. I did not know what to do to remedy the situation. I felt I had done everything that I could and now it was up to them.


In the beginning, my grandmother would ask me why I wasn't out playing
and I would respond that I had nobody to play with. She would reply,

"What are you fighting about this time?"

Half the time I really had no clue. It got to the point that my grandmother told me to forget about the two of them and find some other kids to play with. It was obvious to her that they didn't want anything to do with me.

But I had not reached that insight yet. I was stubborn; these were my friends, and I wanted to be with them.

The constant fighting went on for several years. Finally, in my early teens, I found out what was going on. But by that time it was too late for us. I did make other friends as my grandmother had suggested.

Though I still spoke to Brenda and Renate, they were no longer my best friends. I hung out with them now and then, but only when it was convenient. I found out that the misery that I was going through all those years, wondering why I was always in trouble with one or both of the girls, was because I was the third wheel.

It appeared that Brenda was the reason of my demise. She wanted Renate all to herself. She would tell Renate vicious lies about me. I only found out about these lies when I was 16 years old.

The constant fighting went on for several years. Finally, in my early teens, I found out what was going on. But by that time it was too late for us. I did make other friends as my grandmother had suggested.

Though I still spoke to Brenda and Renate, they were no longer my best friends. I hung out with them now and then, but only when it was convenient. I found out that the misery that I was going through all those years, wondering why I was always in trouble with one or both of the girls, was because I was the third wheel.

It appeared that Brenda was the reason of my demise. She wanted Renate all to herself. She would tell Renate vicious lies about me. I only found out about these lies when I was 16 years old.

The revelation

The revelation occurred one night after returning home from an outing. The three of us were discussing a movie For Love of Ivy, starring Sydney Poitier, which Brenda and I had gone to see. When I was recounting the plot to Renate, Brenda kept contradicting me and accusing me of being racist. I was frustrated. So that the discussion wouldn't get out of hand, I decided I would just go home.

Renate, now older and much wiser, asked Brenda what that was all about and Brenda admitted that she purposely staged that argument to get rid of me so that she could have Renate all to herself. This was what was happening all those years before as well. Further into their discussion, she admitted the many times that she had lied about me for the very same reason. She wanted Renate as her only friend.

I was finally happy to know that I had not done anything wrong. Since I had moved on, it didn't hurt as much anymore but it was so good to know that there was nothing innately wrong with me. I had begun to think that way because of my inability to make friends easily. Finally, I looked back on all those years of torment, fighting with Brenda, Renate, or both, wondering what I had done that was so bad. Now I knew it was not me. I was just a lonely little girl who tried too hard to have friends. I had learned the hard way that two is company and three is a crowd.


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Tags

Kids Fighting, Lonely Girl, Making Friends, No Friends

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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Comments

author avatar Retired
3rd Feb 2015 (#)

There's a lot of interesting material here, especially as regards your discovery of how complicated relationships can be. It strikes me that each of you were playing the game from the angle of "how can I make this work for me?" instead of being being real friends who put the needs of the others ahead of your own.

Or am I over-simplifying the situation?

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author avatar Carol Roach
3rd Feb 2015 (#)

we were little kids, I wanted my two friends, nothing wrong with that. They didn't want me

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