You didn’t read that wrong; this is someone else’s reflection on the subject of love and family, and I am choosing to reflect on that.
A couple of years ago, an old boyfriend and I became connected on Facebook, or Classmates.com, or both. I thought this might be a “Hi, how are ya?” thing, and perhaps a few words of reminiscence about people we remembered from high school.
First, Bill asked for my husband’s email address, saying that one should communicate with a married lady through her husband. I declined to give that. This man proceeded to write a form of poetry, exploring the angst of our youth, our relationships (his, mine, ours), and added a Copyright notice to each one, if you please. He stated that some day he expected to be at the top of the New York Times Best Sellers list.
One of the first things that this ex asked me was, “Did you sleep with Roger?”, to which I replied, “Yes I did, and I told you so.” Bill said that this was only implied at the time, and “This had been hanging between us for 40 years.” My retort was that it had NOT hung over me at all. I swear… Bill and I were “taking a break”, a separation imposed by HIM, at the time. Roger was fun and very kind: I had no regrets.
At some point in our infrequent communiques, Bill said that he had been forwarding my emails to his brother for verification of facts and timelines. WHAT??? He had done that without asking, so I told Bill that we would NOT communicate any more.
Months passed. I heard from Bill again, as he said he had heard a certain song which reminded him of me or of the bygone era. Among other things, he said, “If only you had told me how highly you thought of me, and how smart you thought I was, things would have been different.” I was outraged and explained that I had told and showed him many times that I loved him, thought he was of superior intelligence, outstanding creativity, and boundless potential. At the time, I didn’t realize that some hard drugs were destroying his rapier wit and keen thinking. I had Bill on a pedestal, so many years ago.
I told him, without exaggerating, that when we dated I was often in tears and even saw a counsellor. He stopped with the emails again. I think it has been a year since I heard from Bill.
On the way home from Prince George today, I checked for messages, and this is what I found. I read it aloud to my Gary as he drove.
I am sure it startles you to hear from me again, but I think there are some things unsaid that need to be said.
When my Dad was still alive, we spoke on the phone nearly every morning, and I said to him one time, “If there were one thing I would change in my life, Dad, it would be the way I treated the women in my life.” And that began with you.
What I didn’t understand, and I still don’t understand, is how in the world you STILL considered me “husband material” up until nearly the end of our relationship, after all the pain I put you through? I drove you to tears many a time, you tell me now, I drove you to counseling, which I didn’t learn of until now, and yet, you still considered me a man you wanted to “make babies with” after all of that. I NEVER wanted children, Ann, and never had them.
When I finally DID wed late in life in 1999, it was to a childless woman who never wanted children either, and never had them. I was a verbally abusive boyfriend to you, obnoxious I can see now, arrogant when I really had nothing to be arrogant about except my grades, and rude to the extreme. What in the world made you imagine that I would have been anything but a verbally abusive father to any children that we might have had? You told me recently that your three daughters told you once, that you never had much money sometimes, but that they had always known they were loved. You can’t possibly imagine yet that a monster such as I was to you, would have done anything OTHER than reduce our childrens’ self esteem to zero, as I had reduced yours to zero while we were together?
You kept asking me if I loved you, and I knew at the time it was a trap, if I said “yes”, even when I didn’t understand the question, which I still don’t, it would end in marriage and children and catastrophe. I never EVER wanted the responsibility of bringing children into this world. Any children we would have had, just would have hung like an albatross around my neck. And I’m sure they would have known it. As I told a friend in Canada recently by telephone, and have told others, “Having children, to me, just would have meant 40 years at a job I hated, working for a boss I despised.” And that’s just about the size of it. I still feel that way. Children would have just been a burden to me. Not the joy you found in yours that was destined to be. You found the right man to make babies with, Ann. And that was not me. Things worked out for the best, despite whatever heartache and pain I caused you over the time we were together. I was not ready. And I am still not ready.
The woman I finally did marry, at the age of 46, was exactly 9 months younger than me, and we used to tell each other that we’d been born for each other. It was a fun thing to believe, at any rate. And might have been true lol. But living with me is very trying at the best of times, and I am sure I did not make her final year easy for her, though she seldom complained. She was exactly what I needed, my “other half of my orange”, as she used to say to me, God bless her, and I truly regret the way she died alone in a hospital bed thinking no one loved her. But now she’s in heaven, looking down at me, and STILL trying to figure out where we went wrong. lol
Anyway, I wasn’t good enough for you Ann, I was not the one you were looking for, I’m not good enough for anyone really, and never was. It amazed me then, and it amazes me now, that you took me into your bed, and into your heart, the way you did. And I deeply regret now the pain I caused you. You did nothing wrong. But having said that, I really can’t say any more. Except best wishes, and God Speed, and may the rest of your life be filled with joy and blessings, and much less difficult than the time I put you through. You didn’t deserve what I dished out. And that is something I will take to my grave. But as I said, I told my Dad, my one real regret in life, despite all my failures, and there were many, was the way I treated the women in my life. And that began with you.
With Great Affection,
And Much Chagrin, Bill
In my own defense, I do not ever remember a discussion about children with that man. I have never, ever used the expression, “… find a man to have babies with…” . Wanting children came about after my marriage to Pat, with whom I was very much in love. If I had become pregnant while with Bill, I’m certain I would have raised a precious child by myself, perhaps with my family’s help, without Bill. Good grief. I dodged a bullet.
Gary quipped, “It must suck to have that much baggage!”. As I read and reread ol’ Bill’s ideas about having a family, I not only think that I was lucky to get out of the relationship as unscathed as I did, but certainly HE dodged a bullet as well! His scathing remarks about children appall me, and also, the thinly disguised misogyny. I don’t care if someone has children or doesn’t, but come on now … “albatross”?, “a job I hate and a boss I despise?”.
Go your way, Bill. I see the chagrin but not the affection. I told you when you first wrote and asked about Roger that you could forgive me and I forgive you, and then you just kept pushing. I do not know anything about your years with Lily, other than that she felt that when you yelled, you were “manly”, and also that she died alone thinking that nobody loved her. How could any of that have happened?
If you think love is a TRAP, that explains a lot about your sad life. I hope that there is some redemption and happiness for you somewhere, some time. I already said that I forgive you.