Hello. Goodbye?

When O told me in March that Match.com Boyfriend exited the scene in January, I considered an alternate ending with their mom almost immediately. I’d been feverishly working on an extended rewrite of Tapestry, the novel I wrote to a “we” who would never be, so my nostalgia quotient was already on overdrive. I reached out via email to see what it would take for us to be friends again. I received a positive reply within a few days and took that as a hopeful sign. Maybe I had gotten it all wrong? I hadn’t. Not really. Not yet.

I leaned in hard on the idea that my ex love and the mother of my only child had been seduced and corrupted by a malignant narcissist who manipulated her into all my well-documented trespasses, using this site to hone his nefarious efforts. Not a hard leap given the chaos the guy introduced into our story from word one with studied precision. It wasn’t so much that my memory was flawed as it lacked context. Over the next few months, I gathered those details through a series of conversations both benign and malignant, with and without a therapist involved.

I’d hoped for an amazing reconciliation, a profound reuniting or at the very least a return to the very special co-parenting dynamic we shared for many years previous to our recent trials. The best wasn’t in the cards no matter how many cards I mailed with poems penned from both my heart and my regret, usually a potent combination. I lost track of how many I sent in March and April, but it wasn’t enough for a reset much less a resolution. I don’t even know if she read them much less the Tapestry manuscript I gave to her at Mother’s Day brunch. Our first in three years.

That’s where my continuing confusion and frustration comes in. Someone who values 17 years of shared history would have to be naturally curious what the father of their child has to say about all the things he got wrong. All the things they got right. All the things he wants to change tomorrow. How is a “transactional” relationship at all satisfactory even if you never want to be together again? I just can’t see it, not yet, but I’ll readily admit all the data isn’t in. Now we are “friendly” without being friends. Not sure how to do that. I have plenty of friends, but none I would put in the same category as O’s mom. She stands apart. Always has. Always will.

Now what? That’s the real question isn’t it. The same question I’ve been asking myself for almost seven years. The same question that keeps us in limbo even now, looking for answers that never really came despite the profoundly painful detour we just took. I still haven’t lost hope that one heartfelt conversation could lead us to someplace unexpected, someplace beautiful. I can feel us nibbling around the edges of that epiphany even now. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but perhaps being friendly can lead to being friends again and who knows what’s possible then.