In which I do a terrible thing to a nice person

6f3ea03e8955faea12ae49e77eeb792c3d62ac96e2113efaed824ad705c25a9fToday is clearly going to be one of those days where I don’t get a whole hell of a lot done– I’ve spent the day at OtherJob surfing the Web, babysitting the blog, and intermittently going outside to whack the crap out of the ice in the parking lot, which I’ve managed to upgrade from “moderately dangerous” to “safe” over the course of the day.  I have a fair amount of grading and other school stuff in my bag with me and a Robert Jordan book to finish (I’m resisting the urge to write a post called “Re-re-re-considering Robert Jordan“) and I think by now it’s clear that I’m not doing any of those things.

On the plus side, I have a couple of regular customers and a small horde of eleven-year-old girls in the building, so at least I’m not lazy and alone.

But anyway.  I want to write something, so I did something I’ve never done before and took a look at WordPress’ Daily Prompts website.  And I think I’m going to do today’s:

Ever been dumped by a boyfriend or girlfriend? Was it a total surprise, or something you saw coming? Tell us your best worst breakup story. Never been the dumpee, always the dumper? Relate the story of a friend who got unceremoniously kicked to the curb. Change the names to protect the innocent if you must.

I’ll not need to change the names, as– compounding the correct feeling that you’ll get while you’re reading this post that I may be a terrible person– I’m discovering right now that I can’t remember hers.  That’s… dag, that’s a shame.  I seriously can’t remember her name at all.

We met online, on some sort of dating site.  I was in grad school at the time, so this was around 2004 or 2005, and the majority of my dates were coming from the Web in some manner or another.  By the time I convinced her to go out with me I was in full-blown mercenary mode about Interwebs dating, well past the point where I had the patience for a couple of weeks of emails or phone conversations.  If I found someone interesting, I moved to “let’s get coffee someplace” almost immediately.  We met at a diner for an hour or so and made out rather ferociously in the parking lot for a bit afterwards; only the revelation that she had a roommate and I had two cats (she was terribly allergic, and never once set foot in my apartment) kept me from taking her home for the night.  So there was some chemistry.

The chemistry lasted, oh, three weeks?  A month?  I dunno.  There was nothing wrong with her– and I was saying this to other people when it happened, too; this isn’t 20/20 hindsight– we just weren’t going to be a thing.  But we’d gotten into that weird place where we’re not really official, but if we’re going to stop doing the unofficial thing that we’re doing we need to actually stop doing it, officially.  Does that even make sense?  I dunno, it did to me at the time.

I had never broken up with anyone before.  (Wait, no!  That’s not true.  I’d never broken up with anyone well before.  But that’s its own story.)  This, as it turned out, was going to be a problem.

I went home over Christmas.  I’d seen her the night before I left and promised to call her on Christmas day.  On Christmas eve, my brother got abominably, violently ill from what he thought at the time was a poorly-chosen piece of mall pizza.  My dad and I spent the evening with him in the hospital.  Christmas day, I didn’t call her.  I honestly, truly and completely just forgot.  I went back to Chicago the day after Christmas, getting home just in time to go to my job at a local music store.  Right around the end of my shift, I discovered that my brother had not in fact had food poisoning.  That he was, in fact, contagious.  I got so sick so fast that to this day I don’t remember how the hell I got home.

Whereupon I collapsed into bed and died.  She called me at some point in the next 12 to 18 hours, where we had a horrifying, hallucinatory conversation where she got on my case about me not calling her and my response was something along the lines of “Oh, sorry– how about I never call you again?  Will that make it better?”

In my defense, I was unbelievably sick.  And the story is going to get worse before it gets better.  So, yeah.  Broke up with whatshername, I guess.  And when I came out of my coma a bit later and realized what I’d done, I found myself in the terrible position of wanting to apologize— again, there was nothing wrong with her; she was perfectly nice and didn’t deserve what I’d just done.  But I had in fact wanted to end the relationship, right?  You can’t call somebody and be like “I’m really sorry about how I broke up with you, but… yeah, we’re still broken up.”

My roommate asked me what had happened.  I gave her the story as best I could, but found that I couldn’t remember the conversation very well.  And, worse, she kept calling– a couple of times a day for several days.  I ignored the calls and deleted the messages, unlistened-to.  This was before text messaging was really a thing (Wait– wow, really?  Yeah, that must be true.  Is text messaging that recent a development?) so it wasn’t that hard to avoid hearing from her.  Again: the band-aid had been ripped off, and I was a bit of a coward about the whole thing, too, if I’m being honest– I just didn’t see any point to having the conversation again.  And it had only been a month or so.  Maybe less.

I said it’d get worse?  Sure.  I worked at a music store, remember?  She didn’t know exactly where I lived, having never been to my apartment due to the horrifying contagions produced by my cats, but she did know where I worked.

I was working in the back room restocking some CDs one day and turned around and she was there.  In my stockroom.  At my job.  And she looked very, very, very angry with me.

I came very close to calling for security.

Then something terrifyingly confusing happened.  She started yelling at me for not calling her after Christmas.  Which… what?  I didn’t not call you after Christmas.  Well, okay, technically you called me, but… what?  How do you not remember the phone call we had where oh holy fucking shit.

Suddenly a whole bunch of things fell together.  The fact that she’d been broken up with brutally and had continued to call me seemed out of character for someone who had only been marginally with someone for a month.  The fact that, the day after the conversation, I’d not been able to properly recall how it went when describing it to my roommate.  The fact that I had never once been exactly sure precisely when the breakup conversation happened– that, at one point, I’d thought maybe it had been in the middle of the night, or early in the morning, when she’d have been at work.  That “twelve to eighteen hours” thing?   Calling the conversation “hallucinatory?”  Not minor exaggerations.

I had either dreamed or imagined the entire breakup.  It had never happened.  As far as she knew, I’d gone home and then just never called her again.  Those calls?  They weren’t from some jilted lover or some shit who had been broken up with and was trying to restart a relationship.  They were from someone whose friend had disappeared and was trying to convince herself that he wasn’t dead.  

When I get home tonight I’m going to dig out my old blog archives and find the place where I told this story for the first time, but I’m pretty sure I’m ending it the same way– to this day I have no idea what the hell I said or how I got out of that room alive.  It may be that nothing more than the nearby presence of several of my co-workers and an actual gun-toting off-duty Chicago police officer kept me from getting my ass kicked, and I’d have deserved every second of it.  She ripped me up one side and down the other, and I took it standing, because I deserved every damn word she said– and, as it turned out, she was not terribly interested in getting back together.

Beat that shit.  I dare you.

(Links to other responses to this question after the jump)

  1. Naturally abstract | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  2. Tainted Love | Knowledge Addiction
  3. Song of the fallen | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  4. The Letter That Killed Me | Daily Prompt: Never | likereadingontrains
  5. Daily Prompt: Tainted Love-Psychology behind breaking up | Journeyman
  6. Daily Prompt: Tainted Love | The Road Less Travelled By
  7. A Meal With Millie (short fiction) and The Daily Prompt | The Jittery Goat
  8. Daily Prompt: Tainted Love | alienorajt
  9. Keeping The Music That Counts – Release | My Days In A Song
  10. Tainted love | dandelionsinwind
  11. It Ain’t Pretty | Views Splash!
  12. Daily Prompt: Tainted Love | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
  13. One Crazy Mom » Tainted Love
  14. DP Daily Prompt: Tainted Love | Sabethville
  15. Stood up at an airport | sixty, single and surviving
  16. DP: Tainted | Scorched Ice
  17. Tearful kisses – Daily Prompt: Tainted Love | Chojin Bain – Wondering thoughts of a Dreamer
  18. Tainted Love | Maria For Real
  19. Silent fear.. | Tale of Two Tomatoes
  20. Tainted Love: The Breakups | Living Dead Girl
  21. Dating in a Small City: Falling For the First Time — Again! | Kosher Adobo
  22. #85 – Daily Prompt | shatteringlove
  23. Secrets and lies | A picture is worth 1000 words
  24. Love is in the Air? | Anecdotes | WANGSGARD.COM
  25. Why I Blog | The Zombies Ate My Brains
  26. A six letter nightmare. | Aicela Aitacil
  27. It’s Over. It’s NOT me. It’s you | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  28. this is how I release (you) | 365 days of defiance
  29. The 3 A’s of BROKENNESS: ABUSE, ABANDONMENT, AND ADULTERY | The Christian Gazette
  30. Incarceration | La Gatita Oscura
  31. The Worst Breakup Story
  32. I dreamed you up from flames | Color me in Cyanide and Cherry
  33. Daily Prompt: Tainted Love | Basically Beyond Basic
  34. RELEASE | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
  35. Don’t let them see | anonim0us
  36. How I Got Dumped On Valentines Day! | The Political and Social Chaos Blog
  38. ThINkINg ………………..
  39. Daily Prompt: Tainted Love | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  40. Tainted Love | the bippity boppity beautiful blog
  41. Dreams within Dreams: Daily Prompt | Finicky Philly
  42. Daily Prompt: Tainted Love | Lady K’s Lounge
  43. Trapped by Anxiety | Broken Light: A Photography Collective
  44. ASKED OR BEEN ASKED. | mnemosynesandlethe
  45. I’m Breaking Up With You Because… | Glorious Results Of A Misspent Youth
  46. Dear Friend – You’re Dumped | The Wittering Wallflower
  47. A Different Story | Flowers and Breezes
  48. Humour me dear dumpee | soulfoood
  49. Cináed IV | The Eclectic Poet
  50. Daily Prompt: Tainted Love « Mama Bear Musings
  51. Daily Prompt: Being Alone! | All Things Cute and Beautiful
  52. Yes, Kevin Spacey IS in your house of cards – somewhere. | Rob’s Surf Report
  54. Daily Prompt: Tainted Love | To Breathe is to Write
  55. Daily Prompt Tainted Love | My Travels with Depression
  56. Styrofoam Cups | loveletterstoaghost
  57. The Rejection Collection | Don’t Jerk Off To This!
  58. Tainted love | How to be good at everything
  59. Prompt: 2 Bad Relationships I’m Finally Telling People About | melissuhhsmiles
  60. In which I do a terrible thing to a nice person | Infinitefreetime
  61. You Hung Up on Me | Lewis Cave
  62. 268. …And I Never Skipped a Beat | Barely Right of Center
  63. Daily Prompt – Tainted love – Field of clouds |
  64. “Hell is empty and all the devils are here” | by LRose
  65. She Couldn’t Handle My Illness so I was Kicked to the Curb | Schizo Incognito
  66. Daily Prompt: Tainted Love | Pride in Madness
  67. Tainted Love and Then Swept Away by a New Love | Not The Sword But The Pen
  68. Tainted Love: Daily Post | Destino
  69. Not working out… | U Be Cute – Follow the child inside of you…
  70. Daily Prompt: Tainted Love | Too dumb to be dumped, twice | Sayantan Jana dot com
  71. Daily Prompt: tainted love | Kawanee’s Korner
  72. Daily Prompt Tainted Love (FICTIONAL) | Kawanee’s Korner
  73. Purple Petals | Daily Prompt: Tainted Love | Focal Breeze
  74. Daily Prompt: Tainted Love | A Day In The Life
  75. Our Blogs (2-23-14) | My Blog imanagementbywordpress
  76. Daily Prompt: Tainted Love « Thinking Diagonally
  77. What’s love got to do with it? | Willow’s Corner
  78. belated | fragments of life
  79. Refused | Leonas Lines–Poetry Plus
  80. Daily Prompt: Release this Tainted Love | Born on a Wednesday
  81. Daily Prompt: Tainted Love/Release | @ The West Gate
  82. Daily Prompt: Tainted Love | Here I am !!
  83. Do you know what “plutonic” means? | Beez Giftz
  84. Uncovered Covers: Tainted Love | Laith’s Ramblings
  85. Green Suede ~ truths in literary fiction | VALENTINE BONNAIRE
  86. Daily Prompt: Friend in Need | Morrighan’s Muse
  87. Daily Prompt: Tainted Love | Christina Designs Art
  88. Heartbreak? Don’t think so! | Dapper Chapstick
  89. The Wounds of Adultery | The Abuse Expose’ with Secret Angel
  90. Radiation, Seriously? | Wanderlein
  91. Kinda Sorta Not Really | The Bohemian Rock Star’s “Untitled Project”
  92. Daily Prompt: Tainted Love | The Polka Dot Penguin
  93. Daily Prompt: Tainted Love – A Royal Straight Flush | SA:ME (사메)
  94. DAILY POST: Tainted Love | cockatooscreeching
  95. Fear of loss | alienorajt
  96. Day 54: Biological Sustainability | The Sacred Architecture of Here and Now
  97. a yearning crouches | y

Published by

Luther M. Siler

Teacher, writer of words, and local curmudgeon. Enthusiastically profane. Occasionally hostile.

20 thoughts on “In which I do a terrible thing to a nice person

  1. I’ll give it a go…The one that jumps to mind is…I dated a guy named Charlie. Don’t feel bad about not remembering names, there is a reason why I remember his. I was exhausted from working late night radio disc jockey and college at the same time. I had a conversation with him that I don’t recall and whatever it was about ticked him off. I still don’t know to this day. Later though this didn’t matter because before Charlie, I dated a guy named Charles. And I have since found out that Yes there is a difference in people’s names and it does matter.

    I called Charlie, Charles once. He was frustrating me so it was like a flash back type of thing. And I have to point out that their names are almost identical. Charlie was not happy. He simply left with out saying anything else other than something about me calling him by the other guy’s name. I never saw him again. Which did not bother me, as I did not try to contact him either. Nothing wrong with him either and he was probably the most thoughtful guy I have ever dated. Just not for me.

    I learned my lesson. Everyone after that was “Sweetie.” Don’t use names ever. And I have had a long line of very weird dates that convinced me to never date again. If West ditches me, I’m officially a cat lady. The dating pool is murky.

    I am a terrible person. That is probably the worst that I can think of, unless maybe it was whatshisname that I hung up on because he said, “I love you.”


  2. I applaud your courage for sharing that story. It takes a lot of courage to take responsibility for something we’ve done that we’re not proud of and a good deal of integrity. Even more to publish it online.


  3. I can’t beat it, but I can relate to the part of being a total dick to someone, and feeling bad about it, but still not wanting to salvage the relationship.

    About a year ago I started hanging one with this woman who was sort of a friend of a friend of a friend kind of thing. She’d just had a baby with some guy that she wasn’t dating, and was trying to separate herself from her old crowd. We started hanging out and I got the impression maybe she wanted to kind of start a friends- with-benefits thing with me, which I was receptive to at first, maybe even more of a real thing. But after hanging out with her a few times I realized she was rather unstable.

    With in less than a week, she seemed to have memorized my schedule of breaks at work, when I got home from work, and started blowing up my phone with text messages when I was on break, I’d get home from work and turn on my computer and she’d be PM me on FB with in 30 seconds of when I turned my computer on. I’d get constant text messages to come hang out, even though told her I couldn’t for one reason or another, usually legitimate reasons, like I couldn’t afford the gas to drive 20 miles to her place. She’d seem to forget that in about an hour.

    After a few weeks I decided she was way too clingy for me, and I wanted nothing to do with her and started ignoring her text. When she text me asking me why I was ignoring her, I went off on her saying a bunch of mean things I’ve never said to anyone.

    The next day felt horrible for going off on her, and wanted to apologize to her , but I really had no interest in mending the relationship, and trying to start over. So I just let it go and accepted that in her eyes, I’m an asshole.


Comments are closed.