Let them leave you
All ghosts are secret teachers
Just before my birthday a new guy, who I will happily label a new Eddie, ghosted. He’s a ghost now. He chose that for himself. I have no idea why. I don’t care.
My psychiatrist asked me if I was going to write about him. I told her, “I have nothing to say.”
I don’t have anything to say. I don’t have a story. I don’t have a dramatic interpretation of the “events” of our time together. There were no events. We knew each other for maybe two weeks. Even though I felt a livelier connection to him than I’ve felt to anyone new all year, he was here so briefly, I can demonstrate my relationship to him in a number of sentences:
- We met on Tinder
- We found a strong attraction through Tinder
- We had Tinder sex
- We met in person
- We found a strong attraction in person
- We had in-person sex
- We met again in person
Here’s where I split into micro-analytical compartments of what transpired over the course of our second date, details that don’t matter, things that really did occur but just will never matter: He told his family about me; he invited me to his best friend’s wedding; he held my hand for a long while and I let him and I wanted maybe The While to extend itself if only to keep holding hands, so can I just let you, reader, be judgemental of the newly interactive “couple” who are experiencing one another’s hands to the point of not even caring that you’re judging us–I’ve never done that, I’ve never felt that way.
He cut that date off on the streetcar ride home. He mentally engaged, suddenly, with the fact that he would have a much easier time in the morning if he took off at his stop. He kissed me briefly and goodbye. He texted an apology. I didn’t really care. I didn’t feel personally involved in his sudden departure. I still felt: A lively connection.
We make plans again and he can’t wait to see me. That phrase: “I can’t wait to see you”, I reserve it, usually, for people I know well. It, to me, is an intense sentiment: I cannot wait, I am thinking so much about you that I do not want to wait, I just cannot wait to see you. He cannot wait to see me. The feeling is mutual.
At 10 PM on the night we have plans, I haven’t heard from him. I check in and he’s out with his friends. I don’t think much about it. I go to bed. Almost asleep, I receive a message from him. I want him to come over. He offers to come over. I expect him to come over. He says he is coming over. An hour later: No guy.
In the morning he apologizes. I tell him, in a number of ways, that I hated being stood up because I hate being stood up so I have to, finally, after years of being stood up, I have to mention my feelings to a guy who, because I am invited to a wedding and because he told his family about me and because these are details that elevated my minor “no pressure whatever who cares” feelings, because of him, I told him: I hated what you did.
I have known him for two weeks. Perhaps I shouldn’t have felt anything. He faded out after that.
He stopped replying. He’s ignored me a few times which of course has made me give up entirely because I have to let it go.
I had no date and no sex on my thirtieth birthday and I blame this Eddie but really I should be thanking him:
He did me a huge favour. I can do better than someone who ignores me…but I didn’t feel the “favour” right away.
It didn’t feel like a favour when it felt humiliating. It didn’t feel like a favour when it felt like something I could and would complain about for a while. It didn’t feel like a favour when it felt like just an extension of a lifelong pattern of people getting tired of me quickly and deciding that they just don’t have time to treat me like a person.
Ok, so I’m thirty and I still feel like shit about a ghost who doesn’t need me but then a few days into my thirties the lesson in favours sets in:
Of course it took one more bizarre encounter from one more bizarre man-from-my-nauseous-past to enlighten me: Men have been doing me wonderful favours forever and ever.
Days after my birthday, I’m out with a big group of people.
I have just performed as the headliner in a cabaret line up.
The Eddie I lost my virginity to shows up with his partner to watch the show.
This is the Eddie that I have fucked probably more than anyone else I have ever met. He is that guy who just won’t go away, who has a girlfriend, who is polyamorous (virtuously), who spent many years ignoring me and now for some reason keeps asking me if I care to partake in his polyamorous life. Even though: I have told him even recently that I do not ever want to have sex with him again; he has told me that he thinks we can be friends despite my flat-out refusal since I know that his libido has been promised my vagina so many times in the past that there is just no going back on tempting memories of my amazing sexual presence; even though I don’t want him. He keeps asking me: “So how do you feel about polyamory?”
He showed up. At my show. With his partner. She, it was she, who made sure that I wasn’t going to leave the bar without him.
“He wants to walk you home, at least part way, so just sit here for a bit ok, don’t leave, we’re going to go talk over there (by the bar) and then he wants to walk you home,” she set up a very confusing end to an otherwise wonderful evening. But, I am too old to be confused. I am thirty. In my twenties, he used to confuse me all on his own. Somehow, her presence in the affair made everything less confusing.
I see his partner and I see the favour he did me: So early in my twenties, did he demonstrate that, unless I am with a man who respects me, I will only ever be with a man who degrades my potential. I will only ever be with ghosts.
Just a few days after my birthday, I’m in bed rejecting offers of polyamory, recognizing a new gratitude for Eddie’s negligence.
Thank you for ignoring me.
Thank you for that favour.
I should have let you leave a long time ago. I should have taken the favour a long long time ago. I should have known.
I didn’t know.
Favours are hard to swallow when they are mostly accidental. But, they are still favours.
All ghosts are secret teachers.
The newest ghost, the one that came just before my birthday, upset me.
A friend of mine mentioned that perhaps I put too much pressure on new relationships.
But, hang on, I didn’t put any pressure on this relationship.
I liked him and he liked me even a bit more than I liked him, I think. He did the little things. He made the small details. I remember micro-analytically who he is and what he did and why I thought that I should put more pressure on myself to keep up emotionally and communicatively and all of a sudden: He’s gone. He put too much pressure. He was overwhelmed. He is gone.
I didn’t do anything.
Of course once he was gone, I became an annoying cunt, trying to keep him close because he was just here: He was just here.
So he did me a favour. He left. And I don’t want him. I don’t want someone who leaves. So he felt like leaving and he left? He did me a favour. Because, I want someone to stay.
And, in return, I do him a favour and I let him leave. I keep for myself: Everything.
My bed. My home. My stunning ability to be inside myself and someone else all at once. I keep my everything.
That’s the favour: I get to keep everything. I don’t even remember what he had that I wanted so badly. He can keep all of it, for what it’s worth. But I don’t need it.
He did me that favour: He just…went away.