For a month, I have refrained from seeking him out. Knowing it would likely come of no good. Last weekend, I found myself at his front step, ready to knock on the door. But I stopped, resisted it. What would I ask? What answer could he give that would ease my heart or change my mind? I walked away.
Today, a friend called to say his mother saw Samson working at a Lil Cricket in our small town. Just thought I should know. On the way out to run errands, I couldn’t help but at least drive past, to see if his car was there. And even before I got within fifty feet, I was shaking. No, don’t do it. I couldn’t trust myself, unknowing of my reaction. I simultaneously had the urges to slash his tires and embrace this exiled friend.
After several hours of shopping around and luckily few bags to show for it, I decided to take the long way back. To pass by again, not yet deciding if I’d stop. So many feelings festering inside, causing me to tremble.
He was outside on a cig break, talking with a girl I’ve never met. I pulled up right in front of him, his face suddenly a bit pale at the sight of me, his eyes failing to face me. I got out, looked at this stranger I don’t care for, “You may want to leave for about ten minutes. This isn’t a conversation you need to be a part of.” I wasn’t asking, and she knew it, perhaps she thought I was an angry baby mama looking for my child support. No matter her thoughts, she kept a shut lip and walked inside the convenient store.
‘This is your shot.’ He walked me to his car, a small envelope in the driver’s side door. He held a hundred dollar bill before me. How long had he been waiting to give this to me? Did he not have the nerve to knock upon my door? Of course not, smart choice on his part I suppose. But at that sight of that money, disdain, disgust rushed through me. ‘Don’t you see? This isn’t about that. It’s not about the money.’ He knows it’s not. I ask the only question to come to mind, ‘Why?! Never before have you trespassed against me like this. In all the years.’ He’s playing the addict card, mind does strange things under the stronghold of a craving, I’m just a junkie, Priscilla, why can’t you see? I shake my head. ‘Unacceptable. That doesn’t work with me and you know it. Never have you done this to ME. All the chances you could have but never did. You made choices then, and you made a different one this time. Why take what you know I would have willingly given if just asked.” His mouth had no answer. And I found myself practically shouting, “You broke my heart!” And I said it over and over again, succumbing to pain and tears, and now he’s trying not to cry, trying not to see me before him, covering his face with his palms. See me! You can’t hide, see me, see what you’ve done to me, to us!
Now he’s holding me. My Judas, my Brutus. How I love you. How I hate you.
‘I can’t forgive you. I can no longer be a part of your life.’ And it hurts so much to say this, I’m shattered before him, crumbling to pieces. ‘I hope you find a sober life. But it will be without me. Ten years we’ve been friends. I love you. But I just can’t do this anymore.’ He says he understands. “I hope the next time you find yourself needing to make that choice that you’ll think of all you’ve lost. That you’ve lost me.” It’s the last words I can muster, and I just have to turn away, to flee, to get in my car and drive away. I can’t stop crying. I can’t stop hurting. His choices can no longer be without consequence.
At home, it takes several minutes to even get out of the car. My head on the steering wheel, crying, sighing heavily, scrounging for orphaned napkins to wipe my face. He has exhausted me. The money in my wallet, I do not want. It is tainted. Fused with so much pain and loss. I want to give it away. To a charity. Perhaps find several homeless people around King St and take them to dinner. Let some good come out of this hefty coin marked with his sin.
I just want to be alone. Sitting in my bed with these thoughts. And not even twenty minutes, the phone rings with a number I’ve never seen. Almost answering, I stop. It’s him, I just know. And I let it ring on. His voicemail meek, pain filled voice, ‘This is my new number. Just in case. In case you ever want to call.’ But I can never call. He knows this.
I can’t bring myself to delete the message. I know I won’t call, that I can’t call. This decision must BE, there must be consequence for his choices. But the message will stay saved, until it auto deletes a month from now. At least for one more month I can listen to that message, to his voice. For one more month.