December 2, 2011 § 86 Comments
A second long email arrived sooner than expected and all I can say is yesterday’s post was entirely pertinent. For all those of you who have expressed a keen and kindly interest in the outcome of my dealings with Long Shot, none of us could have guessed that one so definitive would have presented itself so swiftly.
And what an outcome.
And how fucking depressing is it and how fucking depressed am I.
Do not misunderstand me: the email was friendly enough and polite, but I am afraid the prose which, under a different guise ie. in published form, had a while ago rendered me so utterly charmed and intrigued, in this latest email revealed a level of self-absorption and lack of engagement which had a powerfully dulling effect on the reader. As I read, I thought, this isn’t a dialogue, it is diary-like, and seemingly written by a person who is somewhere quite prominent on the kind of spectrum which gauges a person’s want of a relationship with human emotion, specifically empathy. There was such a vivid absence of it that at first I thought it was the Big Brush-Off, but it wasn’t in fact that at all. I realised I had no business taking it personally. Even my very nebulous self-esteem could see it wasn’t me, it is just how he is. It had all the markings of a fellow who has spent too long in the far-off confinement of his own company and has lost the wherewithal for engagement with a correspondent, for engagement with others in general. I have to admit I found it a deeply deflating read indeed, because it was ALL about him, and from a very inward perspective too. Not one question. Not a smidgen (!) of humour. No lightness of touch. No sense of time. No generosity of spirit. Rather self-serving and defensive. I get more feedback and merriment of exchange with my accountant, whom I have known on the telephone and by email for many years, but whom I have never actually met. I ask after his holidays and children and he asks after my children (I don’t much do holidays). We compare notes on the perils of parenting and we laugh. But with LS, no such glimmer.
It is not, I promise you, a simple case of he’s just not that into you. It is a case of he’s just not that into anybody. But himself. The fascinating thing is, he wouldn’t have had a clue. He probably saw it as a friendly missive to a distant relation whom he liked and might see again sometime. No notion of any normal person’s reading of the damned thing.
I showed it to Charlotte and Janey. We all so wanted to find between the lines something but they separately shook their heads and agreed that the email offered quite nothing. Charlotte extended sincere apologies and just said, no, this won’t do. We could so clearly see that he would drive any woman involved with him round the bend, and that I could do better than that (though right now, I am not so sure I will ever be with any man ever again, even one who does me the disservice of sending me round the bend). Janey had always known him to be a person not quite like other people – inscrutable and somewhat distant, emotionally as well as geographically – and although she had felt a certain disquiet about him perhaps not being an ideal candidate, she had hoped otherwise, that he might actually resemble the romantic figure that cut a dash in his published prose. Alas, this email strongly indicated why he was a bachelor and said it all, really. A very close member of my family – aged thirty – felt quite differently. She said that the very fact the email was so long said something, and she wasn’t remotely put off and pleaded with me not to be either. I love her and she is beyond clever and adorable, but she is young, optimistic and wrong. I really love her, only I am tending to trust my own instinct and wise old birds Janey and Charlotte on this one. I’m not sure I can even be bothered to respond to him. Perhaps a one-liner to his twenty-liner, just politely to prove that I received his ego-ramblings and that I am in fact alive; if he’s interested enough to wish to know. But not sure, honestly, if I can be arsed.
So, anyway, where does that leave us?
Undeterred, the indefatigable Janey said she is going to a vast party this weekend and will be doing so entirely clad in her private detective’s gear because she is now on a mission to find out what the hell happened to the wonderful man who, at her house, so sexily asked for my number a year or so ago but never called, she suspected because he was still too raw after a horrid divorce. If anyone, Janey is going to be my saviour, but even darling she cannot perform miracles. It is astonishingly lovely to know that someone gives such a fuck on my behalf and though there is no hope, now, at all, the very fact that Janey is keeping going on my behalf is enough to keep the pulse going, I guess.
I have led myself up a very silly and perilous path but I suppose it is better that I know now rather than further along it when he would be bound to send me over the edge of the cliff.
But where does it leave me? Specifically now? Well, I am at the circus still (cf. yesterday’s post). The crowd has departed. There is a black cannon ball in my stomach pressing down on my further-flung guts.
It is not so much that Long Shot is now a spent cartridge – although that is of course disappointing in the extreme – it is the fact that I have been on my own for some years, another anniversary of the breakdown of my marriage looms, and I am all-too still a Reject (NB. the capital letter is no typo). For months and years there has been furious activity on my part (and a few beacon-others on my behalf) struggling against all odds to keep hope alive, and for what? It is at best exhausting, at worst devastating. Yesterday’s blow means I am now lying on my back like the lonely arsehole to whom I referred in Tightrope Time. No safety net, prone on the cold and hostile ground of the vast tent, just sharp sawdust and elephant shit beneath and all around me; faded leotard torn; broken neck and back; motionless, staring up at the starless canvas, not a single fucking twinkle, and fancying nothing, but oblivion.
Grant me, today of all days, a Big Top of self-pity.