Muscle memory
Friday, Nov. 02, 2018 - 5:35 pm.

I wrote my last entry a week ago, and the next morning when I grabbed my phone, the first notification was a message from Joseph. Well, I thought, look who else besides me is remembering the 10th anniversary of Joseph dumping me. Then I wondered if I'd mentioned his name three names in my last entry, thus summoning him like Beetlejuice. 

Most importantly, I didn't *feel* much when I saw his name. I actually felt inconvenienced. I figured he was writing to say he'd been thinking of me and was wondering how I was doing. I entertained other possibilities, but I wasn't feeling too curious, and I let the day go by without opening his message, often forgetting about it. When I did remember, I went back and forth from dreading to not caring. Whatever he had to said, I did not need it.  

Eventually I opened the message, and as a throwback to my old self who used to record conversations in this diary, here is what he said (I'm correcting punctuation and some words, he was never too keen on producing written language): 

Hi [me], how are you, I hope you're fine. This is super difficult for me because for so long I have lacked the courage to write you. Ok...I just wanted to tell you that in my life you've been one of the most interesting persons I have shared my time with. I promised my mother I would write you, it was one of her last wishes because she loved you so much. 10 years ago I made one of the worst decisions of my life and I'm sure asking for your forgiveness is not enough, I hurt you and I for sure regret it. I wish you nothing but the best and infinite happiness, I'm sure you deserve it.

It was more than I could have ever expected from him, and it's nice, but I remained unsurprised. For years I worked so hard to convince myself he wasn't thinking, for instance, that leaving me was a mistake; I worked so hard to not need to hear that. And indeed, until I read his message, I realized how much I did not need to hear it from him. If anything, what struck me was to learn (infer, really) that his mom had passed away. I was very fond of her, and she really did love me. 

I let a day go by without replying. I needed to think what to say. And by that I mean, I really had nothing to say, and quite frankly, he wasn't asking me anything.

Reading "the worst decision of my life" made me feel triumphant for two seconds, then I felt sorry for him, because from what I heard from other people, I'm guessing his decision of dumping me led to many other bad decisions. Then I thought, maybe he isn't even referring to breaking up with me as that worst decision; it could be when he decided to shack up with his eventual wife, which coincided with having my ass dumped. 

Also, I'm an "interesting" person? I felt insulted. It sounds like such an empty word. 

Some 24 hours later, I replied, and I skipped saying hello because I didn't even know how to address him: 

I didn't think you had a much favorable opinion of me, so I appreciate your message. The ending of the relationship was unnecessarily cruel, but I knew -sometimes reluctantly- that you were in your right to go with whoever made you happy. I know I should have done some things differently, but at the time I had serious issues to confront. I did, for the most part, and now you'd laugh. Or you'd be horrified. Maybe both. 

I'm really sorry about your mom (I have no idea how untimely my condolences are, but keep in mind I just learned about this). One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was to give back my key to your house, and part of that was because your mom and dad were my family too.

I hope you're well. I always hope you're well.

By the time I wrote that, my feelings were somewhat stirred. I had a mix of sadness, nostalgia, and hope for a future encounter, but then I'd forget about all that and continue living my everyday life. I think I even enjoyed my mundane life more than usual, I was feeling particularly grateful for all I have. I managed to move on somewhat graciously from the break-up, and life vastly made up to me for how heartless Joseph was. 

I figured he wouldn't bother me again after my message. But he replied quickly, although I wrote him before going to bed so I didn't see this reply until the next morning: 

It's an honor that you replied to my message, and how could I not have a favorable opinion of you if you never hurt me, one of my biggest regrets was my cruelty, because to me you were a wonderful friend and you will always have my trust 100%. 10 years later and you still have it, my infinite trust.
The "friend" comment irked me. I was his girlfriend, on the verge of engagement; the love of his life, he used to say. But then again, that's just my huge ego getting irked. I hate that people like me but are not in love with me, and I specially hate knowing that someone once fell in love with me and then fell out of it completely. 

I replied with a Tuzki sticker, Tuzki speaks for my soul since the days of MSN messenger. The sticker seemed to convey a casual acceptance of what he was saying, like "yeah, yeah, yeah", and so Joseph replied, "hehe, you never change", but what I truly meant was "keep going, but trust is not mutual". Last time I trusted him, he paraded his new Wonderful Love Story in front of me and I wasn't even sure we had broken up. A part of me feels for him now what I've felt for him since we met in 2004. But mostly he's a punch to my stomach. 

I'm going to ask him if he contacted me hoping we'd establish irregular, non-concommital online contact from now on, the millennial way, or if I should just expect to hear from him again in another 10 years, when a new wave of guilt washes over him. I don't care either way (and the first one means not talking, too), but since I can't go off on him like I wish I could, I should at least express some snark. I'm satisfied he feels guilt over hurting me, but he will never understand he destroyed me. Forgiveness is not on the table. I know I failed a lot in our relationship, but it's true, I didn't hurt him, and I did not deserve to be treated the way he treated me. 


I have a more pressing issue to discuss, which unfortunately clashed with the above motherfucker's cameo into my life, so some feelings may seem related to that, but they're not. 

I'm reading the novel "A little life" and it's wrecking me. On one hand, it makes me appreciate what a safe, loving environment I grew up in, which has given me both an astonishing emotional stability and very little adversity to fight. The story of Jude, the protagonist, is absolutely horrifying and it's nothing I have ever experienced, nor something I can fathom that anybody would have to go through, especially a child (and I know these things do happen, which just makes the story all the more horrifying). 

But then the story addresses cutting -which I used to do, and, ok, to Joseph's credit, he helped me stop- and, most importantly, the muscle memory of sexual trauma. I keep wondering if I'm too empathetic (it is a story well told, that novel) or my muscles are remembering something I don't. And by muscles I mean my buttocks that painfully clench at the thought of sexual assault, and my shoulders getting tense to the point of discomfort, and the fact that I want to burst in tears for no reason. 

On Wednesday, I made an appointment for a pap smear. I want to cry just by writing this. We stopped by health services on our way to the office in the morning. Andrew came with me, he knows how I feel about these things, but he encouraged me nonetheless because hey, it's my health. It is, and I felt brave and accomplished once I booked the appointment, but my buttocks and my shoulders and the crying manifested again. 

That day, we left the office at noon. We were having friends over to watch a couple of silly movies for Halloween. I came home and I crashed. I was feeling...depressed is too strong, sad is too weak to describe it. I had no will to do anything, and I just took a long nap throughout the afternoon, until I forced myself to do some exercise, which was helpful. 

That night, after the movies (which I didn't watch, but I joined in for the food) and when we were in bed, in the dark, I started to cry. Andrew just held me. It's been months since I did not wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I was exhausted. From what exactly, I don't know.

In the morning, Andrew asked if I wanted to talk, and I just said I have no words. I don't. I just have sensations, and I'm not sure of much of those are truly my own. 

Boy, I just want Jude to be OK. 

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