Nothing disappoints me more than a smart woman who allows herself to be manipulated by a mediocre man.
Hanna left New York City half a decade ago to start a new life in a foreign city far, far away. She was on a mission — to leave behind the man that was her bad habit, who broke her heart over and over again, and to start afresh, meanwhile reconnecting with her heritage. We all agreed it was the best thing for her, and when she told me she was ready to return to the city that had forged our friendship, I was keen to meet a changed woman.
“I haven’t been gone a week and I’m already pining for my life there. My friends, my boss, my old job, and this fellow.”
She was baiting me, and I knew it. Last we chatted she was long out of a relationship and not looking for anything new. There was no reason to be pining for a fellow…
But as a friend, I knew my duty and took the bait: “Fellow?”
She proceeded to give a brief overview — on the eve of her departure, she finally got together with that guy friend nothing had ever happened with. Since then, they’ve been talking every day. When I asked her why he waited until she was leaving to make his move, she said things were complicated.
“That’s a bunch of bullshit,” I said, in typical 4th wave feminist fashion. “Things were only complicated if he’s married.”
That didn’t surprise me. Hanna had a predilection for men who were emotionally unavailable and this wasn’t the first time she had chosen one with a wedding ring.
“Then he’s a slug. And not because he cheated on his wife with you. Because he doesn’t give a shit about you.”
“That’s a pretty harsh stance to take off the bat.”
When she swung into his defense, I began to doubt her top-tier credentials. Didn’t she know she was being used? For an Ivy League lawyer, reason and ethics clearly weren’t her fortes.
The thing is, not long ago, I had been Hanna — a parting of ways and a final night option of a one night stand with someone I cared about. We didn’t know when we’d see each other again, and even if we did, we’d never live in the same city again. Buried feelings were exchanged, but instead of taking up the offer to spend the night, I left.
The minute I got into the cab, I regretted leaving. But by the time I paid my fare and walked up to my apartment, I was angry. After all these years, why did it have to take leaving to tell me how he felt? Because, I realized, he didn’t actually want to be in a relationship with me. I knew that no matter what was said or what was done, I wasn’t moving for him and he wasn’t staying. End of story.
We all make silly decisions when we get caught up in love or lust, or more often, when we find ourselves in need of some sort of validation. For me, leaving was the best thing I could have done for my head and our friendship. Nothing affirms our relationship more than our once a year drink when he flies through town and our Thanksgiving phone call.
“I think you should call him to say you decided to move back so you can be together,” I finally suggested. “Let’s see how he reacts to that. And then let’s see if he’s still worth pining over.”
She called me traditional and cited my relative youth, implying I was naive. It looked like the jury had ruled and my closing argument went unnoticed.
Who am I to judge, anyway.