My Coping Mechanism

Her phone buzzed on the bed beside her. She paused the facebook game she’d been staring at for the last half hour and checked the text messages. His name was on the caller ID and instantly she felt her shoulders tense.

“I’m in your driveway. I need to talk to you”

Three years of fighting to get two words out of him, and now he needed to talk?

“Don’t we usually communicate better in emails?” She sent back.

“Please” was his only response.

There was a time a text from him made her smile. He’d send her pictures of things, like a moth he found or his latest cooking success, or a youtube link to a song...or a random hug. A part of her still wanted to smile. She didn’t want him back – back implied she’d had him and lost him. He’d never been present in her life because he’d never let her be present in his.

She threw on a robe and lazily unlatched the front door. It took him two hours to get here, she thought, he could have at least texted before he left and saved himself a lot of time and gas. She’d let him clear his conscious for being an asshole – a character feature he didn’t deny at all and enjoyed exploiting- but throw him out before he could get too close. They both knew the spell he had over her – a powerful spell she’d tried to break as many times as he took advantage of it – A spell that easily rekindled after laying dormant for 25 years

She opened the door and waved, then did the familiar “come on in” wave they both grew up with and stood shivering in the doorway. As he lumbered up the driveway, she thought looked tired and so much older than he did just a few months ago. He paused at the doorway akwardly, hands shoved in jeans pockets, head slightly bowed – and suddenly he looked like a shy, repentant teenager.

An alarm went off in her head. “Charming alert! Remember his puppy dog eyes!” Oh those eyes were so puppy dog – brown and deep and beautiful – and dangerously charming. “Come in. You want coffee?” she asked, moving out of the doorway and out of the spot where they shared so many passionate moments wrapped in each others arms. No hug this time – She didn’t even consider him an aquaintance anymore.

She closed the door behind him, and walked into the living room. He didn’t try to stop her and followed reticently to the first chair he saw.

“Coffee?” she asked. He shook his head and rubbed his stomach but still didn’t speak. “Yeah – I’ve had to cut down too” she said.

She sat down across the small room from him and waited patiently. He sat quietly with his hands on his thighs staring at a spot in the floor a few feet ahead of him. He looked like he was about to speak, but then shook his head and was silent again.

She sat quietly, looking at him, waiting to hear him speak. A million sleepless hours she had spent waiting for this – for him to just TALK to her. She didn’t really care what he said – it didn’t matter anymore. The friendship was dead – murdered by his hand. After all these years, she finally realized she was no more than a masterbation tool for him – and that betrayal broke her heart so badly that it was unclear if she’d ever let anyone in again.

They sat that way for 15 minutes. Every few minutes he’d screw up his face, like something was about to escape his mouth and he’d open it to let words out, but nothing formed...over and over.

Finally, she spoke.

“I think the words you’re looking for are “There are no words of apology that can repair or sooth the damage I’ve caused you mentally and emotionally. I never had a concern for you or anyone around you. You were just a receptical for my anger and an outlet for my frustration at the world. I am a sadist who lives to hurt others for my own joy.”

He looked at her crushed as if that wasn’t at all what he wanted to say. Puppy dog eyes raged with sadness and misunderstanding. She was sure then he had only showed up hoping for sex.

“If you expose yourself around me ever again, I’ll cut it off with the knife you gave me” She said sweetly. “You’re so lucky I’m not vindictive. I have pictures of us I could have sent to your wife. I could have posted about our affair all over my social media. That your father was proud of you when you bragged I was just a “piece of ass” says a lot about him – and none of it’s good. I believed you were a good person because I wanted you to be. I realize now that there is nothing good about you. You are a waste of oxygen and a drain on the universe as long as you continue to live like this. This is your last opportunity to talk to me. Speak or you’re leaving.”

He stood up and quietly left my house. I guess he said all he needed to say.