Because My Friend Cheated, I Ended Up Buying My Own Elliptical

Back in college, I struck up a friendship with a girl called Sophia. For somebody whose name meant wisdom, she sure committed more than her share of disastrous errors on account of poor judgment. We were 18 when we met, but while I had yet to have my first boyfriend, she already had a daughter and a husband to her name.

Sophia and I didn’t have much in common, except for our major. We were in the same college organization and shared several classes, so we spent a lot of time together. That amounted to a friendship.

The thing about Sophia is that she loved drama, both for entertainment and for her own lifestyle. She was forever weeping over something. Being a young wife and mother, she was understandably under a lot more stress than the rest of us were. I and a couple of our other girlfriends often visited her house to hang out and help her take care of her daughter. To our immense embarrassment, she and her husband would often indulge in screaming matches over who-knows-what right in front of us.

By the time we were juniors, she had already gathered a healthy heaping of hate and resentment for her husband, Michael, who mostly impressed me as a — there’s no other word for it — douchebag. For some reason, along with all these ill feelings, she had also borne him a second child. Married to a jerk and tied down with two kids before she was 20, she felt the urge to rebel. First, she was just exploring new hobbies and interests, which led her to camping. While taking up camping, she met this mountaineer with whom she embarked on an amorous clandestine relationship.

Our friends and I tried to talk some sense into her, but she was hell-bent on sowing wild oats. And besides, she sniffed, Michael had also cheated on her. He slept with the village slut the night before they got married. Are these two a heavenly match or what? At any rate, I think the mountaineer began to get on her nerves, so Sophia eventually broke things off with him. From cheating on her husband, she shifted gears and started insisting that they have a church wedding — an extravagant one with all the bells and whistles. The gall of some people, right?

Because she was going to be a blushing bride, she decided to get in some fitness training. That sounded like such a good idea at that time that I said I would do it with her. We signed up with a gym on campus. An hour into our first session, I began regretting my decision. Sophia started flirting with our trainer. Now, I may not be Michael’s fan, but I didn’t (still don’t!) feel comfortable being a silent witness to anybody’s infidelity. I tried to ignore them as they set dates to meet up, but I just found it so stressful that I didn’t bother renewing my membership the following month. I missed working out, though. I knew it made me feel great and look good (at least, better than the usual flabby version of me), so I decided to invest in my own exercise equipment and got myself an elliptical.

All these occurred 15 or so years ago. Sophia broke things off with the trainer, wore her designer white wedding gown and was properly lovey-dovey with her husband on the big day. We drifted apart after we graduated from college, but one evening while I was hanging out in a darts bar with a couple of work friends, I saw Michael having a romantic tête-à-tête with a woman who was definitely not Sophia. I think I worked up some serious stomach acid debating with myself on whether to call Sophia or not. In the end, I didn’t have to say anything because another friend ended up telling on him.

These days, I’m friends with Sophia and Michael on Facebook and I was flummoxed to see that they’d just celebrated their wedding anniversary in Paris. That’s life for you. I didn’t know whether to smile delightedly for them or sneer in remembrance of all their hanky-panky. If I hadn’t sold my elliptical some 10 years ago, I might have chucked it at their happy grins.

Maybe they’re truly happy together now. I certainly hope so. I’m mostly just glad that I live far, far away from them now.