My friend’s sweatpants don’t fit her any more and she gave them to me. I’m wearing them now, and I feel pretty spiffy. But my friend is having a hard time of it. It’s like a car going smoothly on a highway and suddenly, with no warning, it goes over a cliff and tumbles towards a canyon floor. In an instant, everything changes. Your world is no longer your world. That’s what’s happened to my friend’s health, and I feel as though I’m on the outside of the car watching her through the window on the ride down. She’s at the stage where people she hasn’t seen in ten years are calling to ask how she is. “No, really, how are you? You can tell me.” And that drives her crazy because she knows their ostentatious concern is phony and they are really thinking, “Thank God it’s not me,” and, “I never liked her anyway.” My friend’s conversations now are all about doctors and blood pressure and pulse rates and cataracts, and not being able to see or to eat seeds. “Careful with those seeds.” Or, “One more seed and you’ll give out.” It’s hard to imagine. She’s in a situation that she can’t get out of. She looks back at the days when she was happy and happy to be happy. But in her day, my friend regularly betrayed her husband. For years she had affairs with other men that she took very seriously, but at the same time also laughed about. She took her betrayal very lightly. But what would those men with whom she was having those serious love affairs – “two heads on the same pillow” was her favorite expression for intimacy – have felt had they known that the very next day she was telling a friend how much she loved her husband and would never leave him? I don’t know how she did it with such cheerfulness, but she did. The other day, sick as she is, she actually laughed when she recalled how she used to tell her husband she was visiting a woman friend when she was really going to a lover. “Poor Miriam, she’d have fainted dead away if she knew she was my beard.” And she laughed and laughed. Maybe my friend feels that the only way you can come at something so dishonest and disloyal is to make light of it. Unfaithfulness must be quite a juggling act.