Later that day, Mr. Faraway sends another email, apologizing for some mis-directed message he sent me that was intended for his almost-ex-wife. I had gotten the message and replied, Huh? Then realized his error, and didn’t give it another thought.
He did, though. He sends me a message from his phone, saying he had a weird phone issue and would explain later.
I’m still thinking about his schedule, and feeling mad, and wondering if I have the right to feel that way, and feeling hurt, and wondering what to do about it. I spend every evening chatting with him on-line – I fit in there, when he’s sitting on the couch, sort-of watching tv with his kids. But in the real world, I don’t fit in.
I dwell on this a bit, and realize how much I don’t like it. Time is the most precious of commodities; it is one of the few things we simply can’t get more of. I think about all of the things I did with that time before he started filling it – writing and knitting and reading and cooking. I like talking with him, but if that’s all it is – talking when there’s nothing else to do – well, in that case I need a lot less of it.
A lot less.
I don’t reply to this message, and an hour later, receive a lengthy email, explaining the misdirected message. I don’t care. I don’t care about his almost-ex or his phone problems or any of the rest of it. I care about my feelings, which become more and more bruised with each effort by him to get my attention.
I decide my feelings matter, and compose a careful email explaining my point of view to him. I appreciate that you do all these things, I say: It is wonderful that you are so committed to family and community. But there is not a lot of room for me in all that, or anyone else either. I have some thinking to do about that, and what it means for me.
He replies that evening: this is a big issue in my life, one I’m trying to deal with. I’m sorry to drag you into it, I truly did not mean to cause any hurt. He tells me I am smart and attractive and witty and how much he hopes that, no matter what, he will have me as a friend for life.
It stings much more than I imagined it could.
He tries to talk to me later, on Facebook, explaining himself over and over. So many things to attend to, so many demands on his time. It all seems very complicated to him, and I am sure that it is, given his mid-divorce status and all the adjustments he suddenly needs to make.
To me, though, it is very simple: he doesn’t have time. The reasons don’t really matter, in the end. He fills my message window with lengthy explanations, but after a while I stop reading them and go to sleep.