Sometime in early fall, after E and I had broken up for the second or third time, Leslie called to share her thoughts. She questioned us spending so much time together when we were broken up. She expressed frustration that I was okay with half of a relationship. And she just wouldn't relent.
"I get it. You don't like what's going on," I said, my voice firm and my fist clenched.
She pushed a little more, so intent on what she needed to say that she had no ability to hear me speak.
"Seriously, I get it. Now stop. I don't know what the hell pissed you off today but I'm not in a mood to be on the receiving end of this. I'll think about it. Now shut the fuck up!"
After my dad fell, double brain trauma landing him a cozy corner room at a rehab hospital, my mom and I sorted through how to let him know he would never be driving again. This, we thought, this would be the perfect time to break the news. We discussed the best approach and I won the coin toss on delivering the decision.
"Mom and I think it would be best that you focus on walking again and shelve the driving thing until you're all healed." I left out the part about us asking his neurologist to reinforce this idea.
"Oh, I'll be fine," he said as he took a sip of some Cherry Coke. "Pass me a Peep!"
The other day, E caught me online. He said hello and I responded. He noted he didn't treat me well on a few ocassions, my reply being a simple, I agree. The rest is a little bit of a blur. I know at one point he said he cared about me, emphasizing 'a lot' at the close by repeating it. There may or may not have been mention of the woman he has been dating, the woman he met around two or so weeks after I instituted a 90-day break, something to help provide clarity. And then there were a slew of dating suggestions.
"Never ever let a man treat you like that again."
"Some things, parts of your past, should never ever be shared, not even with your boyfriend."
Caught up in the moment, I responded. I noted the irony of a man who moments early acknowledged mistreating me giving me advice to never tolerate being mistreated. I pointed out that when you love someone, truly love them, you embrace them and their random bad decisions littering their past. I engaged, often times laughing as I typed, until he said something about why I am single or maybe never married. To be honest, I couldn't quite wrap my head around the statement.
"It's about supply and demand."
It isn't a complex sentence but it does carry various messages, none of which are supportive, thoughtful or caring. They are words that lack heart, empathy, warmth. And they are words spoken by a man who just prior noted caring about me, wanting the best for me. I had been reduced to a business plan and a rather insulting one at that. Worse yet, it was unsolicited advice, his need to speak far outweighing any concern about what I needed to hear.
A few hours after I snapped at Leslie back in the fall, she sent a three-part text message apologizing for taking some personal frustration out on me. My father, we've let him continue on with his life, a life filled with tennis lessons and line dancing extravaganzas, realizing that he can't take a driving test without hitching a ride from one of us. And as for E, the following day he saw me online and apologized for being blunt.
"Okay," I replied.
He accused me of being vague. He wanted me to clarify the tone, good or bad, attached to a four letter word on his monitor. I didn't have it in me to explain or go deeper. It would require too much energy to organize my thoughts and deliver them in a clear manner, energy better spent on a work crisis amongst other things. More importantly, I wasn't all that confident he'd hear what I had to say. So alas, I chose to say nothing.