“I hope you are not angry with me. It is not a personal thing, it is just what we have to do.”
I didn’t tell her that is a perfect example of the double standard women pretend doesn’t exist. If I had said it wasn’t a personal thing she would have skewered me but I didn’t reply to it.
Didn’t respond because I wasn’t sure if what would come out of my mouth. Would the anger explode or would I nod my head and say I understood.
Characters in books and movies have no problem being noble. There is nothing particularly difficult for the writer to produce a character who is the ideal that others are supposed to live up to, but that is rarely something that touches upon reality.
Reality is messy. Reality deals with feelings that can’t be turned on or off like a faucet.
So I stayed silent and reserved.
Later on in the dark of the night I wondered if my silence was noticed or not. Most people don’t like silence, it is uncomfortable for them so they fill in the quiet space with commentary.
If this was business I wouldn’t think twice about it. I’d look at my experience negotiating and think about how many times I saw people start to squirm because they didn’t know how to just sit and be.
It is kind of funny to me to see how some people respond to silence, I don’t mean funny as in laughter but more as an observation. Some have called me ‘motormouth’ or used other terms to describe me as someone who can’t shut up but the opposite is often true.
Business requires so much small talk I often go the other direction and enjoy the quiet of my own mind. I’ll turn on some music, read a book and say nothing for hours. I have seen those who don’t know me very well start to get crazy with that.
Can’t tell you how many times they have asked me if I was angry and how many times I have said I have nothing to say.
In this particular situation I had plenty to say and I would be lying if I didn’t wonder if someone was lying to herself and or hoping I would choose to pursue but there is a time and place for everything and I wasn’t about to say anything here.
You can call me a chauvinist, but I don’t think women are as good as men at compartmentalizing things. I figured if the anger got the best of me and I spoke with the unbridled restraint of the past there would be nothing but scorched earth.
So even though I had gotten blasted in the same way in the past I didn’t respond that way because I figured there was nothing to gain from it. We had talked about it once and I had laid it out, said I wasn’t interested in saying something that might pinball around her head.
She had told me she could take it and maybe she could, but we hadn’t been in a position where I figured it was necessary or needed to make things better.
And I knew damn well that if you have asked her if she was a thinker she would say she thought too much.
Kind of funny and surreal to be in this place, because there was a time I could tell her to shut up and be quiet, maybe not quite as crudely as that sounds there but close enough.
She was used to being a sharp-tongued woman and hadn’t always had a man push back. Sometimes I did that by calling her on her shit and sometimes by being silent.
Once I had told her to get it all out because later on she’d have to put out to make up for it all.
It had caught her off guard and she had told me as long as it was love making I could have as much as I wanted.
But that was then and this was now. Didn’t matter if I thought she was lying to herself and to me. I didn’t need her to agree and say I was right because if I was it wouldn’t matter.
And if I was wrong, well I didn’t have any interest in listening to her tell me I was wrong but I wasn’t wrong.
“Why aren’t you answering my questions?”
“If you aren’t sleeping with me you don’t get the benefit of my full attention. I don’t owe you any answers.”
“You don’t have to be a rude asshole.”
“If it makes you feel good to call me that, be my guest. The good news is one day you are going to end up on your back looking up at me and I’ll answer anything you want then.”
She glared at me.
“Wait, don’t tell me, ‘you are never going to sleep with me again.'”
That last part was said in a high pitched voice and it got the response I expected.
“I don’t want you be angry. I am not trying to hurt you. This is just how it has to be now.”
“You go ahead and think what you want. Convince yourself of whatever it is you need to make it right in your head.”
“Why are you acting like this?”
“Because it is always easier to say goodbye when you are angry with someone.”
“So you are trying to make me angry so it is easier for you?”
“No, so it is easier for me. But the truth is we don’t stay angry with each other. See you in twenty years.”
I didn’t turn around when she called my name or answer her telephone calls. I’d say I never opened her letters but that would be a lie because I did.
It wasn’t twenty years in between either, it was closer to twenty-five but I was right about everything else.
“I am the one who should be angry with you.”
“Woman, you are nuts. After the crap you pulled I am the one who owns the anger.”
“If it makes you healthy then I am ok with it.”
“I don’t think that is how it works, but I am open to unconventional therapies.”
“You are not funny. How could you be so stupid. I can’t believe you are sick. You don’t look like it.”
“I always told you that if Cancer came to visit I’d kick its ass.”
“We’ll do together, I am going to help you get well.”
“I don’t know if that is in the cards. Doc says this could go very quickly”
I stood under a desert moon and wondered if there was a way to recapture the magic of youth, that feeling of invincibility and endless amounts of time.
I hadn’t lied about how much time I had because the docs weren’t sure. This wasn’t common and only a small group of people had it so the hard data was quite limited.
It could be months or it might be five years, five years being the longest anyone had lived with it.I
Figured that I would be lucky enough to get this shit, I had a life long habit of doing things the hard way.
The one good thing about being sick is it forces you to figure out what is important and what isn’t. I had boiled everything down to important or unnecessary.
Or at least I had tried to, as much as I had tried to focus my thoughts into concentrate only on what was significant I had moments where stupid stuff got my attention.
But every time it did I asked myself, “should I be angry?”