Well, I was wrong, and appearances are not all that they seem. Thanks to a sometimes-friend who revealed to me a very hard-to-swallow, totally unexpected truth, I've been disabused of the notion that something good was coming out of the past couple of years. I'm reminded of the classic Mike Fraysse quote: "Better to be thought a fool, than open your mouth and take away all doubts."
This really sucks - I'm gutted - but better to learn now the truth rather than lose even one more day to a lie. Next comes the challenge of turning the other cheek and just walking away, as there is no logical explanation to be found that will justify what I've seen. I want to keep asking "Why?" and find some rationale for what is totally unbelievable, but by it's very nature the situation precludes ever being explained-away.