I did something bad, and I feel bad about it. Say “bad” one more time. Who am I, Michael Jackson?
In 2011, I briefly dated a guy. Let me think: We met in late May, first date in June, and by July it was all over. We gave it about a month of no contact, and then commenced being friends after that. He, too, was newly separated, in that first year North Carolina makes you sit through till you can get a divorce. We’d go to dinner, to movies, get drinks, shop. He was fun to shop with. We got each other Christmas presents and celebrated each other’s birthdays.
That guy was someone I called Dick Whitman. (He was a huge fan of Mad Men, as was I.)
Anyway, we got pretty close. Then life moved on and I met someone I got serious with, and he did, too, but occasionally we’d still hang, usually with the people we were dating.
In 2015, I ended my serious relationship, AS WE ALL KNOW ALL TOO WELL, and I didn’t hear from Dick Whitman. I wasn’t particularly miffed about that: I hadn’t personally told him, I don’t think, and I assumed he’d figure it out soon enough via social media or something. Eventually, his mom told him.
Because here’s the thing: His mom was fabulous. Also, use of colons with an introductory clause is big with me today.
Dick Whitman talked about his mom all the time, and when we’d been dating, he showed me old pictures of her (he knew I was into that, plus also he’s a photographer, so he had what you might call a few photos here and there), and he and I even made a little video for her, so he could “introduce” me.
Anyway, I finally met her two years after I met Dick Whitman. She was marvelous. We shared a birthday, and a tendency to be outspoken and perhaps unfiltered. I met her two times total, both at Winston-Salem restaurants, as that’s where they both live. And I adored her.
Dick Whitman’s mom became a reader of my blog, and she’d comment here, and on (Face)Book of June. And it was probably one of those places that she learned my relationship was over, and she told her son.
He left me a message then. I was staying at Kaye’s, so it must have been those first six weeks after the breakup. I called him back, but he never returned the call.
During those first six weeks, I also arranged an “I’m Going to Die Alone” party, to be held in December at my house after I’d moved in. I sent out invitations early, probably two months before the party was to commence. Dick Whitman did not reply, but his girlfriend did, saying they’d be there.
But then weeks before the party, she wrote again, saying they’d double-booked and could not come. I never did speak to Dick Whitman, and that is when I got angry at him, for not being there when I really needed a friend.
Look, it was a total chick thing to do, okay? I know that. I was vulnerable. We still have not spoken, except I emailed him last week to say I was sorry that his mother died.
Because she did die. Dick Whitman’s mom’s health declined, and in August I emailed DW’s sister to ask if I could visit. I knew Dick Whitman’s mom was in the hospital, and I wanted to see her. She said yes, please do, she reads your blog, still.
But driving the 40 minutes each way after work wasn’t really feasible, because of my freelance stuff I do at night, and each weekend would just slip by without me getting to Winston. Every weekend I’d say, “I gotta get to Winston” and then I never did.
And then she died.
And now I see Dick Whitman’s sister has unfriended me on Facebook, and I feel terrible. I try to always be the person who comes to the funeral, or who shows up when someone is ill, and I was not that person this time. I know DW’s mom was surrounded by people who loved her, and that she probably didn’t even notice that I wasn’t there, but I wish I’d have been there anyway, as clearly it meant something to DW’s sister that I show up.
So, I was that asshole. And I feel terrible about it, and you don’t have to make me feel better, because I did a bad thing, and it’s okay to feel terrible when you did a bad thing.