what i’m trying to say is

I know we just met once. I’ve heard so much about you. And I know you’ve heard so much about me too. I know what I learned about you, I don’t know what you learned about me. I don’t think that’s unfair. Everything I know about you is edited by other people, and filtered by my limited understanding about life, about how people behave, how people react to certain things.

I won’t call you crazy. I won’t denigrate you. I won’t reduce you into someone who’s mentally unstable, someone whom people try to understand but can’t, but I do understand you.

What I’m trying to say is, I’ve been in your position before.

I know how bitter you feel. I know why you feel bitter. One time a guy told me, after I’d shunned him for a week, that he’d made peace with not seeing me ever again. He said he was unhappy with the decision to leave me, but he said I’d been making him feel tired, and that I was basically poisoning the relationship by being passive-aggressive. It was our first big fight and he told me, after I said I wanted to patch things up, that he didn’t believe in patching things up. I felt blindsided. I was supposed to be the one who did that. He beat me to the punch. It took me several men and several months to move on. I’m sorry it cost you your man for me to move on.

We are competitive, you and I. We want our man to suffer when we leave. We want to be happier than they will ever be. Unfortunately for us, sometimes that’s not the case. The men I left became stronger, better, happier. The same guy from the previous paragraph sent me a text message, saying how much he’d been thinking of me and how he now had a great job, he was tired because of his job, but he was happy. HE WAS HAPPY. I was so tempted to write back and say, “Remember what happened when you chose health over happiness?” but I didn’t. And don’t get me started on other men. It’s like, I was their transitional phase, I was their wake-up call, their epiphany, that slap in the face, the one that reminded them they could be stronger, better, happier.

They’re lucky, I’m insufferably socially awkward. I met some of their friends. Once, twice, three times. The relationship ended before I could really fit in with the crowd. You were with him for six years. You know his friends well. I can’t blame you for reaching out to them, but see, they are his friends who became yours. You were the one who was invited into the crowd. I can’t blame you for not inviting me into your crowd and making me feel like an outsider the whole night long. I can’t blame you for not returning the favor. After a break-up, I didn’t have to reach out to anyone on my ex’s side of the crowd. I reached out to my own friends, or during the time I was friendless or didn’t really have anyone to take me out to escape my misery, I chose to be alone, spent hours on Netflix, sleeping with my headphones uncomfortably blocking outside sounds, blocking inside thoughts, so I didn’t have to think of my mistakes, of my stupidity.

What I’m trying to say is, I took it in, I swallowed the pill, I hugged the bomb. I may sound like a hero, but I’m not. When it’s fight or flight, I freeze. I curl into a fetus and have a private meltdown. It’s a pity party for one. I don’t invite his friends over, especially not to a party that happens at the same day, at the same time that your ex is making, and just so you know, this party predates your initiation into the crowd. 

What I’m trying to say is, I don’t sabotage other people’s happiness. I watch them from afar, brewing with anger, seething with rage. I take it out somewhere else. I gobble down cakes, because I know my body can take it. I know my heart can take it. Bring me all the sadness in the world, bring me all the heartbreaks and I can handle them. But I don’t sabotage other people’s happiness.

But maybe, maybe it’s because now I’m happy.

You told us you were dating. You were on the phone all night, texting. We all asked who that was and you told us it was just a guy you were dating.

He’s a rebound, isn’t he? Because if you are happy with him, if you think he’s the one that makes you complete, then you won’t be this bitter. You’ll think you’ve won over me, over this petty little homewrecker and the man you used to know. But no. The guy you’re dating, he’s a rebound. You’re not winning. You’re scrambling to find a man. Any man.

What I’m trying to say is, we are alike. You and I. Although physically, intellectually, you are more superior to me.

What I’m trying to say is, you’ve won. You’ve hurt your ex, who is my lover. He’s hurt. He’s as bitter, as resentful as you are. For different reasons, yes, but the feelings are still the same. That same bitterness, resentment. 

What I’m trying to say is, you’ll be fine. In time.

I know we just met once. I know it was probably the first and the last meeting. But before we met, I’d heard so much about you, and I doubt I’ll hear the end of you. You’ll be remembered.

What I’m trying to say is, how do you want to be remembered?

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