Lately, I’ve been seeing an old friend. We dated for a while, when I was in my teens. For a time there, in fact, he was pretty much all I could think about. But a good friend and a friendly physician gave me a little intervention and I came to realize that it was not a healthy relationship. With a bit of love and a lot of support, they helped me kick him to the curb.
“His type will always comes back to haunt you,” I was warned. And sure enough, he breezed in from time to time, usually at the worst possible moments, like when I’m holding a crying baby whose bottom needs wiping in a shirt that still has half the baby’s lunch on it, wearing hair that hasn’t been brushed since last November. He has a knack for catching me at my lowest ebb.
Anyway, lately I’ve been noticing him hanging around the edges of my life, his eyes piercing through the crowded photograph on my newsfeed, his voice crackling through the newsreel. Sometimes, he disguises himself as home. There is no one on this continent, he says, who has known me as long as he.
“Don’t you remember how I used to make you feel?” he whispers, “As though nothing else mattered at all.”
Oh yes, I remember. But since then, I have made vows, and faithful promises, to care, to love, to let others matter. Nihilism is no longer an option.
So I am taking steps to protect myself from his advances.I will block him, unfriend him. I will not return his calls. I will spend time in the places that he finds it hardest to follow, to catch up, to break in; on my bike, by the water, in my husband’s bed. If I hear him knocking at the door, you may find me scurrying to hide myself beneath God’s skirts. If our paths must cross, and I know that they will, I will refuse to meet with him alone. I reserve the right to call for back-up.
Because behind the lies he told, he never loved me. I owe him nothing.