When the Caring Stopped
She wanted to pinpoint the exact moment when she stopped saying; "I don't care."
The moment when these were no longer bandaid words or fill ins, but that she need not say it because he was so far out of her ambit that he no longer existed in her world.
She wanted to locate the sign or symbol when the words didn't occur to her because she had become oblivious to him.
She wanted to recall that clarity of thought, that neutrality of spirit, and mark it, celebrate it, in some way designate it the Day I Stopped Caring.
She considered one event to another encounter, to a report or a view, but she really couldn't recall.....
the exact moment when she truly didn't care.
The First Time
The first time he really hurt her was a week before the wedding. Which is why she never married him.
They had lived together in the pre-marriage style, seeing how they fit. Everything seemed perfect. So, thinking it was working, they made the plans.
It was fortunate that he had his affair before she made a life mistake.
The wedding was called off, the embarrassment was enormous. However, she didn't leave him just then, because to let go would have been 'defeat' .
She let the relationship regrow in the usual Cat on a Hot Tin Garbage Can style to 'prove' she was better than the woman he had that affair with.
And she did.
When enough time had passed and the affair was a shrug, when she had apparently 'won' the battle for him... she wondered what she had won...
She had loved him.
That can not be disputed.
She had loved him.
She had loved him with every atom of her being and wanted to be his wife. She had...
The fact he had humiliated her by cheating just before their wedding kept rising as cabbage in her gut. It began to create a blob of hate.
Hate for what he had done, when he had done it, why and how and where....and when the hate was a bit more than the love...
she left him.
Time passed, days, weeks, months...then years.
She had a life. She had a good job, interesting places to go, many things to do, she wasn't sitting looking into space. She left him, went on with her life, moved up the success pole, changed offices, met knew people and so....
When he came to the office where she now worked he had to wait. He had to sit and wait just as everyone else. He had to wait, because they didn't know him.
He couldn't say he was her almost husband, lover, boyfriend....because he wasn't...and didn't have any idea if she had a husband, lover, boyfriend..
And then it was his turn, and he entered the office.
As no one there (as opposed to her old office) knew who or what he had been to her, there wasn't embarrassing stares from co-workers that this wretched man had once been intimate with her.
They saw a number of men like him during the day.
Failures who came a begging for help. He was just another failure who came a begging. Nothing special about him.
When she saw him, for a moment, she didn't recognise him. He looked wretched. He had aged badly, clearly was no success.
And she, sitting regal behind the desk, looked at him.
During the short time he spent in the chair besides her desk there was no hint in her demeanor that once he had almost been her husband. She didn't treat him any differently than she would a stranger.
Because he was a stranger.
When he left she'd filled in the forms as was the standard and moved on to the next applicant. She didn't feel anything.
She knew she was supposed to feel something. But didn't.
She wondered if she was deceiving herself, if she was playing a role, so took an early lunch to explore the non-feeling.
She had thought she would delve into the past, feel pain or loss, but other events and incidents interrupted her lunch, so did not have a retrospective.
She returned to the office, busy with various tasks, and it wasn't until much later as she was driving home that she reflected on him.
That she recalled the events of the past.
That's when she knew that saying; "I don't care," was as illogical as refusing a job
she wasn't offered.
That there was no reason to say those words, because she didn't care.
For today, now, he was nothing to her, and that was true and real.