For a little bit I actually thought I was getting better.
I've spoken to her before. Heck, just yesterday morning she got in touch with me about how child support will be going up for the summer due to increased day care costs. It was all pretty straightforward, and I handled it quite well.
Then, hours later, she texted me again. "What's up?" was all it said. My mind went into overdrive. Part of it, the large part that absolutely despises me, insisted that the message was a mistake. "She hates you," it said, "she hates you for not living up to her ideal, and for hating yourself so much it tore everything apart. There's no way in hell she actually meant to text you."
Another part of me, small and faint, whispered, "What if it's real? What if she is starting to get past the anger and resentment, and remembers all the good years. What if she remembers before we were ex-husband and ex-wife, to a time when we considered each other to be our best friend? Even if she's moved on to a relationship with someone else, what if she's willing to at least give friendship a try? Can you really just let that chance go?"
I considered what would be a safe answer. Should I be snarky? No, I wouldn't want to come across as condescending. Should I ask her why in the world she's texting me? No. I spent so many years asking her why she was with me that she eventually asked herself, "Why am I with him?" Better to play it as though it were real, while still giving her an out.
I started to type out "Not a lot. Just trying to get all the paperwork in order before the trucks come in." (I am responsible for the night-shift shipping and receiving department for a parts warehouse).
Before I could finish typing out the word, "Just," she sent another message:
There it was. It had been a mistake after all. Not only did she not intend to text me, she wanted to make sure I knew that she didn't want to communicate with me.
I deleted what I had written, and instead sent out, "No worries."
Inside it was as though I had been completely scooped out. All the old wounds burst open. All the feelings I've been trying to set aside for the last few years started pouring through me.
I honestly thought I was getting better.