Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Living Well, Served Cold
Roughly twenty years ago I went through what was the Motherfuck Of All Breakups, even by my standards- my girlfriend stole my drugs, sold them to buy harder drugs and when I confronted her, she tried to kill me with a wolf. Seriously. She had a pet wolf and it was a killer- unless it liked you.
Luckily , the wolf liked me and refused her command to attack, but still...it was kinda uncool, ya know?
Back in 2005, I crossed paths with her briefly while I was working at Bank of Generica. I acknowledged her just enough to let her know I was ignoring her but I quickly forgot the encounter, as it was only a short time later that my drinking finished the job that the wolf had declined to start some two decades earlier. I died a couple of times in 2005, but I kept coming back to life and eventually I was released back into the wild to fend for myself.
More recently, I saw her again, this time in a setting where it was impossible to give her the ignoring she deserved...actually, I didn't even recognize her until the second of three days that I was forced into her company. When we dated, I was 20 or 21 and she was 32 or 35 or some other really, really old number, which means that she'd be 52 or 55 today...I have seen plenty of very attractive fifty-ish women, but my ex-GF is not one of them. Gone was her long, lovely auburn hair; it was replaced by a short, utilitarian boy's cut...gone was her slim figure; in it's place was a dumpy ovoid wrapped in baggy cotton...she was even wearing truly ugly thick-rimmed glasses. Her intense, angry eyes were her only unchanged feature.
Omigodzilla, I thought, I used to have sex with that?
Over the course of the last few evenings, I caught her glaring at me several times, especially when I was having a friendly (not too friendly, mind you) conversation with a very pretty female friend who is quite 'touchy-feely'. Ha, I thought, revenge is mine. I look good and she does not...I am happy and comfortable and she...well, I don't know for sure, but she sure looks miserable, lonely and angry.
I even pointed her out to one of my male friends - "you used to date that?", he replied, shaking his head. It made me feel like an asshole.
For twenty years I have rehearsed various cruelties in my imagination, things I could do or say that would hurt her, make her feel as bad as she made me feel so long ago...finally, I had my chance for revenge.
It felt hollow. I don't hate her any longer.
It's been nearly three years since I quit drinking and it has taken most of that time for my heart to find a place where it is comfortable and now that I have found it, I realize that there isn't any room for junkies, wolves or vengeance.
When I saw her last night, I waved 'hello'. She said, "hello, Allan." Dramatic, eh?
That is exactly the right amount of reconciliation. It's not so much that I forgive her- I don't- it's just that I don't give a fuck one way or another. I'm trying to move forward and I don't feel like dragging myself back into grief and bad habits from the past. I take her presence as a warning, a cautionary sign of what could have been had I chosen to stay on my old path, a reminder that even though I feel better now than I ever have in my entire life, the past is a hungry, snarling wolf that will kill me if I let it.
If I let it.