You, La Loca, and I (pt 1)
Paris, December 2020
Little blue number in the corner of my inbox. Somehow, instinctively I know it’s her.
“I have a wonderful story to tell you…” she begins. I wonder what took her so long.
She doesn’t sign her name, and her picture is that poor flower that doesn’t deserve to be caught in the middle of all this. I read and reread her insults, and the screenshots she sends by means of a threat. I laugh a little as I save them to my phone. They are hardly incriminating- I should thank her really. I had erased every trace of you in my haste to remove myself from the situation. It’s quite nice to have a little piece of it- piece of us back.
I swipe onto your profile and see she’s still at it. Harassing you daily. Pretending to be me, and very badly at that. It’s a wonder I suddenly only know 3 words in English. And my Iphone has suddenly become an Android (can’t believe you didn’t notice that detail. More fool you).
I spend more time than I should, because I don’t understand you. If you think this is me, why are you letting it slide? My thoughts spiral, mixing with how much I miss you, how hurt I am by your alacrity to believe the worst of me, and a primal need to defend myself. It’s my birthday in two days, and the anniversary of losing Hera. I can’t be dealing with this kind of stress right now.
After thinking, and praying, I type up an apology. I know this is her, and I’ve never been one to back down from the chance to put things right, even if she is the one who is so far out of line. A sincere “I’m sorry my actions hurt you,” a wish for her health and happiness, and an indication that her threats have come too late. The night you cut yourself off from me, I told him everything. I needed his help, and his perspective. I couldn’t face all this mess alone.
I don’t press send, and that same day I discuss the idea with my father. I’d already told him everything, and he tells me once again not to engage. “This person isn’t looking for a conversation,” he says, “you can’t waste your good intentions on someone who is trying to play mind games.”
I send a message to Caroline. She’ll keep an eye on things for me. I need to get away from this, just like I did when it happened the first time. “If he wants the truth,” she says, “he knows where to find it.” And she’s right- I am right here. I have not moved. But perhaps you’re happier believing a lie? Either way, you’re not my problem, even if you still hold a piece of my actual heart. I heard you when you said that you didn’t ever want to hear from me. Mistaken as they were, I heard your every word, and stayed away.
I can always tell when you’re together. Things go quiet in my inbox, and online. No hateful messages. No attempts to flirt with me. To trap me into believing you’ve created some secret account to contact me. We both know you have a hundred ways of reaching out if you wanted to. And none of them involve this kind of nonsense. I know you well enough to know this isn’t your style.
She disappears again for a short while, and in her absence confusion sets in. With her first deception she got what she wanted- I disappeared, and your love for me must have turned to hate. What can she want now? What good can come of this? Is she testing you? Does she want to see if you’ll engage with this ridiculous ray of sunshine that neither looks nor sounds like me? But these are questions no one can answer, and as my husband constantly reminds me: this is your business, not mine.
She reappears and continues to harass you, commenting on all your posts, adding my birthday to her profile. I consider sending you screenshots of the messages she’s sent me, and the bit of the phone number behind that FaceBook account that a friend managed to find. Diane tells me I should “Don’t let him think this is you, you should clear it up right now!” I know I should, but I also know you said you didn’t want to hear from me again, and I respect that. So I let it all slide.
Another blue dot on my profile. It’s a follow from "Gino Bassano," that weird argentine guy who called me beautiful in a DM, the day after you first said goodbye. This is too much of a coincidence. This is a profile I use for work- in no way connected to the other two. My finger hovers over the block button. Why is everything so confusing? Is this her? Is this you? I don’t think it’s the latter. I don’t know what I should do.
I trace back every interaction, taking more screenshots as evidence I might one day need. I write a detailed list of everything that has happened. I don’t know if you will ever come asking for the truth, but I plan on being prepared if you do. All you would have had to do is ask. “¿Liz, fuiste tú?” and I would have put an end to all this mess. Showed you all the proof I have. Messages, tags, IPNs… But you didn’t, did you? Always such a fool.
I pour more of myself into my writing, my drawing, my faith, my children, and any anxiety into my husband’s strong, sturdy arms. She can’t touch me. She can’t hurt me. And I know I am in the right. We are all adults, each of us choosing how to behave in this situation. Two of us chose honesty. One of us chose deception, manipulation and lies. Even with regards to you, I did everything you asked of me. I respected every rule, even your misguided wishes for me to stay away. That is what you do when you care for, and respect someone. Even in your ignorance I let you have your way…
Who knew just how far one crazy woman would be willing take things?
My first (complete) attempt at memoir, written at the behest of dear friends who encouraged me to "put my side of the story down in writing" to cement the act of moving on. Not sure I'll ever do anything with it publishing-wise, so I put it here.
I am grateful for each one of you (C, K, L, JP, T, KL, love you all!)
Part 2 is already written and coming soon.