There is a danger in having nearly unfiltered internet service at work. Namely, it allows me to creep on Jack and then have a torrent of self-aware recognitions that lead to a steady stream of tears down my face on my hour-long drive home, culminating in pouring myself a martini even though I’d put the wine in the fridge to chill down a bit.
As all of us who are on Facebook know, Facebook is going to destroy everything. Like, for example, relationships. Because it lets one person look up another person’s goings-on without them necessarily knowing, to the extent that their settings allow. And when that throws up a roadblock, it allows us to see their friends, and then work backward.
It’s basically sanctioned psychosis.
And so I found myself on Facebook, looking at Jack’s page even though I have hidden him from my news feed so I’m not tortured by the rare but consistent posts referencing runs and marathons and Gwyneth. And he hadn’t had anything interesting to say since Thanksgiving when he posted a generic good wish. That was hours after he had texted me one on Wednesday (the day before the holiday, of course – because he does that – he acknowledges significant dates the day before, so as not to give one the impression that he’s thinking of one on the actual significant date). I had ignored it – the first time he had communicated in two and a half months, and I was not in the least bit interested in engaging, because if there is to be communication between us, it had better be in an actual voice-to-voice or face-to-face manner. None of this cowardly electronic shit. Sack up, asshole.
He hadn’t had anything interesting to say, but apparently he’d attended a party last Saturday.
There’s her address.
Holy f&*k. It’s not even a block away from a house I looked at.
That. Would. Have.
Aside from wondering whether she rents or owns, and, if she owns, whether that makes her better than me since she’s also eight years younger and I just bought my house…. aside from that, you know what this means. It means I googled the public property records looking for evidence of whether she owns the house. (I told you. Internet = sanctioned psychosis.) It means that I (not really) narrowly averted living less than a block from the woman who had essentially stolen my man. (No. To whom my man, who was not really my man, had gone, of his own inexplicable volition.) It also means I know her address. It’s like two miles from me. Which means I could, theoretically, cruise by some late night/early morning and see if his car is there, thereby confirming the nature of their “undefined” relationship.
Or not. If his car wasn’t there. Thereby perpetuating my hell.
Ugh… I am entirely too old for this shit.
If you haven’t been single since your early twenties, you are probably totally alarmed right now by the thoughts that have already been posted here. Because seemingly, people who marry by their mid-20s never think crazy shit like this. They never had to.
So lucky (provided they’re still happily or at least not adulterously married).
And so it was that I started thinking yet again about why this whole thing with Jack hurts so much. And so it was that I had those recognitions I mentioned earlier. That I still just don’t understand how something that had lasted ten years and been so meaningful could be so easily dismissed in his mind and his heart that he wouldn’t even try to maintain it when push came to shove. That it is not only deeply painful, but very insulting. That, in healthy terms, I should not care to be attached or involved or at all connected to someone who could care so little about something that had meant so much… but that there are reasons I do:
Because, after all, there were real reasons I was so attached, involved and connected for so long.
Because believing he loved me enough, even though he never said it, was better than anything else I’d ever had, because no one has ever said it.
Because I believe that something that was wonderful for a long time, but less than what I wanted, was better than nothing at all.
Because feeling heartbroken for him seems better than feeling nothing for anyone.
Because it feels like giving up on loving him will mean giving up on loving entirely.
At the risk of being dramatic (oh, like it’s not too late for that disclaimer): I’ve had my heart broken kind of a lot. And I’m not, you know, totally crazy and pathetic, all evidence to the contrary. I’m not a hideous hunchback who got hit in the face with a bag of hot nickels, and I don’t get irrationally hung up. I’d like to believe I’m regular-crazy and pathetic, at worst, because I’ve seen a step above that, and wow. But when you’ve had your heart broken kind of a lot, and you don’t fit the profile of someone other people shake their heads sadly about with any regularity, you come to a place where you’re just not sure you can take it again. There seems to be a limit. And you’re pretty sure that one more time will kill you inside. So you don’t want to let go of this time. Even though it hurts like hell, even though you don’t want to feel like this, you don’t want to let go, because you suspect that it’s your last chance to feel anything at all.
And so it is.
I love Jack, and I still see so much reason to love him, even though he’s a selfish, cowardly, stupid ass. And I don’t know if there’s any way at this point to fix it, to make it better. I know the best of us, the most of us, is probably gone. We don’t even speak. He doesn’t even know I bought a house.
But I love him still, and I miss who we were, and I hate where we are now.
Obviously, I expect to hear from Maury Povich any minute.
Now on my bookshelf: Rules of Civility – Amor Towles