All that was left to do was shop. And deal with Mr. Not Gay Sweater. He turned up in the morning with his colleague. They inspected the damage, which had miraculously disappeared overnight. At first they accused us of causing the flood. Then Mr. Not Gay Sweater leaned out the window in Frenemy and C's room and discovered the cause: a blocked drain. He assured us we would receive some compensation, though probably not a lot in view of the fact that none of our belongings had been damaged.
C wanted to get rid of her marijuana before we left and gave it to Mr. Not Gay Sweater and his colleague. We set about packing and cleaning, then decided to go out for lunch. Once again Frenemy and D went off together after lunch. A, B, C and I set off to find a sex shop (not hard in Amsterdam). We were rendered speechless by the various wares for sale. The shopkeeper kindly offered to demonstrate some things for me, which I politely turned down. We still had some time to kill so went to the Sex Museum. An education in itself. I didn't know people did things like that in that way. B and I went off to more mainstream shops to look for something for her son and daughter. A and C went for a cup of tea.
Eventually, we went back to the house, gathered our things, took some photos and boarded the van for the ride to the airport. The mood was subdued. Frenemy must have known she'd pushed some people to the edge of their tolerance. At the airport, A told me that Frenemy made her very weary sometimes. B never said a word about her.
When we got home, we remembered the fun times, most of which didn't include Frenemy. The so-called incriminating photos looked anything but when taken out of context. We told our husbands most of what happened. Mr. Not Gay Sweater's employers never came through with the compensation despite letters from Frenemy and me. A can now truthfully tell her daughters if they ask that she has tried marijuana and "it wasn't a happy feeling." Frenemy now regards B as a very good friend to have because her son goes to the same private school as Frenemy's psychopathic son. B's son hates Frenemy's son. B laughs about Frenemy, which is probably the best attitude to have. On that trip I began to feel sorry for Frenemy. Why treat your friends so shabbily? Why is she so afraid of letting people get close or of showing a vulnerable side? Because she's actually a very sad, mixed-up individual. And truth be told, our Amsterdam excursion wouldn't have happened at all if it hadn't been for Frenemy.
My weekend in Amsterdam allowed me to be 17 again, carefree and breezy. My friends saw a side to me that hardly shows anymore. They also realised, if they hadn't already, that I am here to take care of them, if they need me. I seemed to do a lot of that in Amsterdam, despite my dabblings in coffee shops. I enjoyed the calm feeling of being stoned, but don't necessarily feel I need to do it again. I had gone 20 years without it and could easily go another 20 or so.
So the escaped mums are back in their cage -- till they escape again.