Sunday, October 30, 2005

On Why It's Not Worth it to Cry Until It's REALLY Over

For those who have not been following this blog, before the disengagement from Gaza, I dated a man named "R." for several weeks. Things were great. But then the disengagement happened and we went on hiatus (he's an army officer).

(I should mention here that no one in my life who knows R's real name has ever met him. And those who know R., even if they read this blog --which for various reasons is quite unlikely-- would not know that he is the R about whom I am talking. I have never been in the habit of writing about specific men I have dated, not in a way that the stories could be traced to them, and I have no intention of starting now.)

After the disengagement, lo and behold, R. actually called me again! Wow! A man who calls! It's a miracle!

For a few days, things were great.

Then they got bad. He was acting very strange, had mood swings, and finally, finally made the pretty much unforgivable mistake of not calling me for a week and a half. He had the gall to say that he'd been "busy." Right.

So, we broke up. I was disappointed and hurt, but chalked it all up to "post-traumatic stress" due to the disengagement, ate a pint of Ben & Jerry's, and tried to move on. I contacted 13 men on Dosidate (from which no dates have resulted), and cleaned my apartment, a lot. My apartment was so clean, I could have hosted the Queen of England. My apartment was so clean, my mother-in-law would have approved, if I had a mother-in-law, but then, of course, if I had a mother-in-law I wouldn't be worried about dating, now would I? Pass the Chunky Monkey.

Anyway, last Saturday night I got a call from R. He'd spent Shabbat in the Old City, and did I have time to meet? Because he wanted to talk. And, he was going to let me talk. About anything I wanted.

I was more than happy to try again. Because, you see, for all that R. had acted badly, I still really really liked him. He has a lot of qualities I've been searching for but rarely find. We had a great rapport. I felt connected.

So we met, and we talked. For four hours. We got a lot of "issues" on the table. It was a very productive, very positive and deep conversation. It included the words "You are so beautiful, and nice, and smart. It would be a shame to lose you." Hey, that's enough for me. I'm a sucker that way. I allowed myself to start to feel hopeful again.

For about three days, things were fine.

Then they got bad. Suddenly. One day we're having a normal conversation, the next day he does not call. Nor the next. Nor the next. Nor the next. Nor the next.

I can take a hint. Last night I was up until 2 am, weeping. I cried so hard that I went through half a box of tissues. I cried so hard I almost threw up. I cried so hard that at 8 am, when I was getting dressed to go to my first day of classes at Pardes, I couldn't get my mascara on correctly because my eyes were too swollen.

Today I left R. a message saying, basically, that the relationship is obviously over, and I wish you'd told me instead of ignoring me, and thank you for all the nice things you said to me, and goodbye. Then I crawled into bed and wept some more, convinced not only that there must be something horribly wrong with me, but that I'll never find a good relationship, never, ever, and what if R. was the best there would ever be? I thought about being 80 and alone, and my nephews having to care for me, their spinster aunt, and I soaked my pillow with tears and snot.

One hour later, R. called. The first thing he said was "I was surprised to get your message. I thought you were smart enough to know that if a man does not call you for five days, he's trying to tell you something."

Well, duh.

He then proceeded to tell me that in the three days after our long, deep, positive conversation, he came to the conclusion that I have a fundamental character flaw and that therefore he does not want to be in a relationship with me. To be specific, he concluded (based on what, I have no idea), that I "have no conscience."

. . .

. . .

What do you say to that? I said nothing. There was a silence for a few seconds, he wished me well, I said "you too," and we hung up.

No conscience?

Now, I'm sure that there are people reading this blog who have seen me in my worse moods, who could recount my not-so-fine moments. But no conscience? Hitler had no conscience. Me, Chayyei Sarah? Had R. ever spent more than five minutes with me, or was this his evil twin doing the talking?

It was so absurd that I'm no longer sad. I'm simply stunned. Stunned that anyone could be that thick.

I have a deep temptation to "bench gomel" this week (say the prayer in synagogue thanking God for helping me pass a dangerous situation safely).

My pillow might be full of tears, and I might be running out of tissues, but, thank God almighty, I am free at last of "Mister I-have-issues-that-I'll-deflect-upon-you . . . I can't hear you, la la la."


One day later: I feel a bit the way I felt after my last day as a teacher in a huge Bronx public high school. A bit wistful about the good parts, but knowing -- really knowing -- that I just got out of something that was very, very bad. Yael called me this morning to "check in on me," and after a minute she said "Sarah, you sound better than you've sounded in weeks."

Well, then. There you go. Nothing to mourn over. Nothing! Best break-up I've ever had. Anyone want to set me up on a date?

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