This week, I got an e-mail from He Who Shall Not Be Named, my boyfriend of seven years. More than two years ago, in what I like to refer to as “The Recent Unpleasantness(tm),” we had the mother of all break ups. It involved real estate, his high school ex-girlfriend, and untreated depression.
Where does depression hurt? Everywhere. Who does depression hurt? Everyone.
I’ve spent the last two years patching myself back together after surviving what felt like a concerted effort to systematically destroy my self esteem. I’m taller now. I’m happier now. And I know now that I don’t have to put up with that shit.
Once, last spring, he sent me an e-mail. He was very casual and friendly, wanting to know how I was, how my family was, and the status of our formerly shared dogs. I didn’t respond. After all, you only stay friends with your ex if you consider him a decent human being in the first place.
Cut to this week. Cut to me shaking like an addict at an e-mail that apologized for treating me so poorly. An e-mail that stated he knew I deserved much better, that he didn’t expect this to change anything between us, but wanted to tell me he was sorry.
I came up with a long list of snarky responses. “For which part, exactly, are you apologizing? Fucking your ex? Or screaming at me on a regular basis for using too much toilet paper?” Then there was, “Gee, somebody’s life’s been changed by My Name is Earl. Do you drive an El Camino now and have a sidekick who’s afraid of chickens?” And then, of course, there’s always the classic, “Oh, I was disappointed to hear from you – I thought you were dead.”
I didn’t really respond – although that’s a fun game. I think he wants absolution, and I’m not the stinkin’ Vatican, so he can just get over that. The apology was about him; it wasn’t about me. It was about him wanting to feel better. And, for that, I’m happy for him. It shows that he’s growing. No matter what hard feelings I still harbor, I can’t deny that I once had a great and true love for this person, and he is in need.
If I were to respond?
“Thank you. I hope you’re getting the help you need.”
Because that is true. And because I am pretty much past caring. That well is dry.