Monday, October 19, 2009

a dangerous place

Last week a student joked that I "hated" someone in the class and I, always the one to leap on a potential lesson, remarked that hating people takes a lot of energy - almost as much as loving someone, really - and I am essentially a lazy person who would rather not expend energy on negative feelings. So my relational experiences boil down to I like/love you or I don't think about you enough to care.

Cut to the end of last week when my best friend's husband, who has been afflicted with something like demonic possession dumb-ass syndrome a mid-life crisis, made more specific moves toward divorce (talking about splitting assets & dividing property). Yet the day after these announcements of finality, while a few friends & I (including bff) lounged in the yard in the late afternoon, he arrived to pick up one of his sons, jumping out of the car making little jokes about having to help a neighbor with her computer, acting all fun-loving about dropping off wine and a magazine. Insert uncomfortable silence and polite half-smiles because hello, asshole, you are leaving your wife without explanation; we could, perhaps, someday be cordial grown-ups sitting in the same vicinity but right now? We are not in jokey moods.

I did not look at him. I wasn't sure if I might weep, and it occurred to me that I refuse (now - I have previously written loving, pleading, hopeful e-mails and spoken kindly on the phone in vain attempts to show I will welcome him back; they went unnoticed, as far as I know) I refuse to exhibit any softness toward him now - because he has not acknowledged my questions & thoughts; because he is unnecessarily cold & cruel to my best friend; because he denies any of his actions might affect his sons; because he refuses to slow down and talk with a counselor; because he has said out loud that he is ready & willing to lose his closest friends. And all of this makes me think, considering my definition of hate, that I am there.

I think about this man constantly, my best friend's husband, my former good friend - we often joked that he & I were so alike, in crazy ways like spending money and having just one more cocktail and staying out another hour while Stu & Jen were the frugal, judicious, practical ones. I think about what's going on in his mind, how we can help (kidnapping?), what will we do without him in our lives. Because I loved him, and maybe because I'm starting to hate him.