His wife wants a divorce. He was not surprised by this, was expecting it, but the reality of it was still a shock. I remember when he called me that day, after they had actually had the conversation. It was maybe a month ago. He asked me for - I'm not really sure it could be called advice. Maybe just sympathy, a listener. While I'm sorry that he has yet another failed marriage to add to his list, that wasn't the first thing I thought.
My thoughts went to his current living arrangement. He is trapped in his in-laws' home. What would happen when they are no longer his in-laws? I think he understood, and was likely pleased by, my concern. He said he and his mother-in-law had talked and she was not going to abandon him even though her daughter had decided to move on. He was the father of her grandchildren, after all. It helped to know that.
Another of his friends, one of his best friends who he has known since boyhood, has all but completely written him off. He is a school teacher, and is worried about guilt by association. I like to think I understand his worry, but I am mad at him for it. Guilt by association is a real thing, I won't deny that. But, I think he thinks his life is more transparent than it really is. Seriously, how many of you would know that my friend is a felon if I did not tell you? If I didn't talk about it, how would you know it? This guy is worried that others will judge him by his friends (and people will, don't get me wrong), but I don't understand how they would know his friends if he didn't mention it. A job application requires a felon to admit that they are, it does not require a person to admit that they are friends with one. No one would know unless he said something.
I really do understand his take on it, if his association with Monty somehow got out to the wrong people, it would be devastating to his career and his life. But I just don't see how his association with Monty could get to the wrong ears unless he surrendered that detail. Those of you who follow my main blog would know that Monty is my friend, but there would be no way for you to know that he was also a criminal if I hadn't said something. I'm not worried about my association. I use aliases if I use names at all. I omit details, though some of them I simply don't know. My job runs background checks on me, not my friends. It makes me angry that this old friend thinks that way.
Monty told me he understands both points of view, both his friend's unwillingness to be judged for someone else's actions and why I am angry at him for it. He didn't try to dissuade my position. I think it's important that he allows my opinion, and always had. It's a paradox, because I do understand his friend, but I think he's overreacting.
Among these two, there are several others who want nothing to do with Monty anymore. It's their choices, of course. It means that Monty has very few people to turn to now. I know he relies on me, because I am not one of those people who treat him like a leper.
I often ask myself why that is. What I know of his crime is horrible. I know how his crime could have been different, worse, and that would force me to sever him from my life. He knows this. He told me he'd be demanding his own execution as well if that was the case. But it wasn't that, and I find myself able to focus on the friend I always had, not the part of him that he kept from me anyway. Though, I sometimes wish I wasn't all he had, that I could stand with the ranks of everyone else who moved on without him. Yet, I can somehow recognize that he needs me to be the reliable friend that he always was to me. I would have reason to write him off, but I find myself unable to do so. My friend needs me. There is no one else.