from my past
“I just wanted to know how you are, how you’re taking everything. And how’s your dad?” I’m at my parents’ house. It’s where I seek hide. I did the exact same thing almost a year earlier – when what this guy was the cure for broke. I wonder what I should tell him. I’m not exactly great. I’m still not sleeping properly, I still cry a lot. Though love has long turned into hate, I’m still at the stage where I blame myself on a daily basis. My dad on the other hand is doing great. The operation went well and we’re all just plain happy he’s still around. I won’t tell the guy on the phone this, but my dad’s operation has made being broken up with so much easier. After all my family and I have been through there’s no way I can focus alone on the fact that I have been dumped – thankfully.
“I’m doing great,” I tell him. I’m about to tell him my dad is doing fine when he, much to my surprise, interrupts me. “I’m not so fine,” he says. A week or two ago I would have felt sorry for him, I would have wondered whether he was talking about us not being together anymore. But I’m pissed that he interrupts, I’m pissed he asks about my father without wanting the answer. “You remember how I felt as if I was coming down with something?” I’m amazed that he’s asking me if I remember the cold he was or wasn’t battling when he dumped me. He’s not waiting for my answer. “So after a week of not feeling well I went to the doctor who told me that if I don’t take care of myself the cold might turn into pneumonia.” Looking back at this story I think a silent “I wish it would” to myself, but I doubt I did back then. He talks for a long time – something like 20 minutes – I stop listening quite quickly. I don’t say anything and he’s not waiting for my response. It’s a one way conversation and despite his initial question about my well-being the conversation is not at all about me – it’s solely about him.
I haven’t heard from him in months. We talked briefly around Christmas but just as when he called shortly after our break-up, he talked only about himself. He talked about how well he was doing at work and about getting a raise, and didn’t even ask how I was doing. When I asked him for the address of a mutual friend who was suffering from depression and whom I wanted to send a Christmas card, he looked at me and told me – voice harsh, crossed and cold, after all it wasn’t about him – to use the white pages.
And now as spring is on its way he calls seemingly wanting to know about a book of his I may or may not still have. At this point I have moved on; I’m in love with J though we’re not a couple yet. And it takes me 3 seconds to figure out why he’s calling. It’s his birthday the next day and he thinks that if he calls me, I might be reminded of it and send him birthday greetings, and then I’ll be just what he wants: another ex in his rolodex, another ex showing the world that he is someone you want to keep in touch with.
The conversation is ridiculous. He has little to say, I say nothing. It is as if he continues, stretches the conversation, hoping I’m going to say something. I don’t. Finally he ends with a “keep well” clearly expecting a “you too” from me. My silence is overwhelming – for him and for me. “Bye,” I say and put down the phone.