“You wonder why you make girls cry
My mascara a mess, harsh words for your princess
Boy, you and your promises
If your goal was to love, you scored an epic miss
Now you’ll just have memories”—Sia, “Straight for the Knife”
…Continued from Part 2…
One thing that I wanted to explore after establishing the characters of the narrator and Five is the unhealthy narrative about romantic love that our society displays in movies and novels. I had plans to write fictional alternate endings because no good story should just end with the romantic leads both alive and single. Unfortunately, between life happening and writers block, I have only penned three paragraphs:
Five read the message from our plucky and fed up heroine. He read it again and again, taking in each word slowly. Letting out a long held breath, he closed the message. He knew he was no good at relationships, any kind of relationships. It was easier to just let people go. He rarely missed them anyway.
Work then home, then work then home, Five went about his unassuming life. Sometimes a flash of blond hair, just the same shade as our heroine, would catch his eye. He’d see her in a pair of blue eyes or a familiar smile. It was never her. Whenever this happened, Five would take off his glasses, rub the lenses clean, and then all would be right with the world, at least for a little while.
Other times, he’d take out his phone and read through her old messages.
It turns out that my fiction was not entirely fiction. When it was clear Five wasn’t going to respond to me, I deleted his number and all his texts from my phone. We hadn’t connected on any social media, so that was that. I had no way to contact him and no worry that I’d change my mind and chase after him.
He didn’t delete my number.
Last week I got a text from an unknown number. It just said “Hi.” I recognized the area code and last four digits, so I was pretty sure it was him. My curiosity got the better of me and I answered with a “hello.”
He apologized for his behavior and, while asserting that he wasn’t going to make excuses, suggested that he found himself liking me too much and didn’t know how to handle it. He’d wanted to message me before, but couldn’t get up the nerve. Drunk, alone, and sad, he finally had all the motivation he needed to send me a text.
Obviously, I am a sucker for emotional anguish so I engaged him in conversation. His motive, he said, was to ask forgiveness. I assured him there were no hard feelings. He asked if I would mind being in his life in some capacity. I said we could be friends and that he could add me on Facebook.
He added me on Facebook. We talked about inconsequential things in my effort to distract him from his sadness. When he was drunk enough to sleep, we said goodnight. I didn’t think I would hear from him again until the next time he was drunk and sad. I thought I could handle that. I was wrong on both accounts.
He messaged me again two days later, still sad, but not drunk. The conversation was innocent enough, but that it happened at all sent my imagination wondering. What would I do if? What would I say if? What would happen if? Where do I draw the line?
I felt like I was holding my hand over a fire and it was starting to burn. I needed to move things around and find a comfortable spot. I tried texting him. What kind of interaction would we have in this new situation? The conversation was halting and short. Clearly, casual conversation was not going to be part is out new relationship. No need to do that again. I deleted his messages from my history.
Then he made a Facebook post that rocked me back on my heals.
He posted that he needed help changing the way other people perceived him. Really, he posted, he is kind, caring, and giving, but his dark sense of humor cause people to think he’s an ass. He cares about people too much, too quickly, and then gives too much of himself. The person he was saying he “is” was so very different from the person I had gotten to know. It was very jarring.
My wonderings became even more unhealthy. It didn’t help that the day before he posted about his anonymous generosity I received an anonymous gift, a bouquet of purple tulips. Was all this just performance for my benefit? Looking back at his timeline, there was a noticeable difference in the content of his posts from before and after we became Facebook friends. Did he somehow know that I’d only really allow him back in if he healed himself? Was this manipulative or a genuine attempt at change?
At the same time as all of those thoughts were swirling around, I was also frustrated that he had ignored everything I’d posted on Facebook, be it a post on my timeline or a direct reply to a post of his. What in the world did this man want from me?
The cognitive dissonance required to interact with him was just too much. I hid him on Facebook.
I guess next week in therapy we will have to talk about why I didn’t block him and his number.