Thursday, November 10, 2005

Not so stupid

On Monday, I sent Tim an email:
I just wanted to say hi and see how you are. I'm fine. Keeping busy. Went to the movies this weekend. Played softball. (Then again, you already know all that if you're still reading the blog.) Work is semi-busy but really boring. That's about it. What's new with you?
Why did I get in touch with him? There's no non-bullshit explanation. I wanted to contact him so I did. With Tim, things ended abruptly. There weren't hard feelings, just regrets. After the breakup, we exchanged a couple of emails, I sent a couple of ill-advised text messages and that was that. The last contact we had was a week ago Monday. We haven't spoken or seen each other since the breakup.

I sent an email because I had no idea what I would say on the phone and there were a lot of things I didn't want to talk about. He could just write something quick back, I could feel bad, and go about my business.

After I sent the email, I waited. He's always responded promptly to email. I waited 24 hours and nothing. It didn't make sense. I decided that if I didn't hear from him by the end of the day Tuesday, I would call him. And I did.

He was surprised to hear from me. I asked if he'd gotten my email. He hadn't. We started chatting. I said, "This is awkward. That's why I didn't want to call."

"Why should it be awkward?"

"Why shouldn't it be?" I said.

"I guess you're right. It's awkward. Why?"

"Why? It just is."

He asked if I had plans for Thanksgiving. I said no. Poor me. Whatever. I said I might make a pie. That was my plan last year.

He said, "We're going to [distant state] for Thanksgiving."

I froze. "I know." I felt sick.

"You know?"

"You told me you were going when I was in Seattle. You were worried about dealing with your family."

"Oh. Right. Sorry."

"I knew you were going."

"Now [my wife] is going with me." Silence. "I guess you didn't want to know that."

"No. I guess I didn't." I came very close to hanging up right then.

"It's just....I'm trying to work things out. It's not great, but it's getting better."

Deep breath. "I hope you're happy. I know that family stuff is hard for you, I hope it helps to have someone there."

"That's nice of you. Thank you."

"Sure." Long pause. "This is it, isn't it? This is the last time we're going to talk."

"You don't know that. "

"Why not?"

"Anything can happen. Things might not work out. You don't know what will happen in the future."

"Right." Long pause. "I guess I was just an interlude..." Ick, ick, ick.

"Don' know...don't feel bad."

I raised my voice. "Why not? I get to feel bad. Don't I? It was so abrupt...." Mid-sentence, the call was dropped. Tim's cell carrier sucks. I waited for him to call back. When he didn't return the call as promptly as in the past, I called him.

He said, "Hi. Did you hang up on me?"

"What? No. It was your phone."

"Oh. Right. Stupid phone."

"Wait, did you think I hung up on you? I was in the middle of a sentence!"

"Well, I don't know. Maybe."

"Do you think I'm a hanger-up-er?"

"I don't know."

"Not in a middle of a sentence. I guess you wouldn't know. We never fought. We never had a fight."

"We never did, did we?"


"I don't like to fight."

"Me neither." I didn't add my usual caveat, 'but I will if I have to.'

There was a long silence. I laughed.

"What's funny?"

"I just told myself a joke about you."

"What was it?"

"It's nice to have a back-up plan."

"No. What?"

"I'm the back-up plan."

"No. Don't say that."

"That's why it's a joke."

More silence. I couldn't speak, but I couldn't hang up either.

"I should let you go."

I said nothing.

"I have to get some things done."


Then I asked him if he'd been reading the blog.

"I haven't read it for a week. I'll look at it right now."

"You won't like it anymore; there's nothing about you."

"As long as I'm not one of the 'old boyfriend stories.'"

"You're more than that--you're right in it!"

He starts reading bits of it out loud.

"See, there's nothing about you. Boring, no?"

"I'm not there anymore? Wait, am I in the archives?"

"Yes--you're still there. In the archives. And just go further down the page. There's something about you."

Then he reads this bit. And he says, "Less attractive? Less attractive!? Why?"

I dunno. Maybe because you're MARRIED? And going back to your WIFE? But no, that's not why. I told him what it was. It had to do with all those things I mentioned in the letter I wrote to him and posted on the blog.

"Oh. That's not so bad."

"No, it's not. Not really. The reason those things bothered me at all....Well, you have to remember that when I was thinking about it, I still had this idea that we might have a relationship. And everything had been going so well, we were happy together, we had a good time together, but I didn't know what might happen, what kinds of problems we might have if we continued. And I thought maybe I would take advantage of you. I might not treat you well. Well, forget it...does it even make sense?"

"I think I understand."

"I'm sorry. You know it's not very bad. It's nothing you don't know. I'm sorry."

Soon after that, we got off the phone. His wife was coming home.

That's when things got very clear. I stopped feeling sorry for Tim. He's made his choices and I hope he's happy. I won't worry about him anymore. It freed me. I haven't been crying or moping or doing much contemplating at all. When I start to think about it, I got sad, so I pushed it away and filled my head with stories--tv, old radio shows, movies. But what I was sad about was another failed relationship, the feeling that there went one more chance and I blew it. As usual, what's making me unhappy is me, not the other person.

The conversation was good for me. It woke me up. There is an end to this and the end is now.

Bring on the random guys at parties who want to kiss me. I'm ready.

Grateful for: being ready.

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