He also said, 'I should've gone to meet you, ill or not.'
He'd always struck me as a bit of a romantic, bordering on the saccharine at times. He seemed to have a capacity for the sort of feelings that I scoff at, because these days, I consider myself a realist; a disappointed romantic, but a realist nevertheless. So in reality, I didn't know him because we'd never met, because words on a screen are no substitute for face-to-face interaction. In reality, he was nothing to me, just words and low-commitment text messages that were sent over a period of 6 weeks or so. That was all.
So why should I be sad? Why should I feel as if I've just lost something, hours after I definitively said that I was done and that I couldn't get past this granule of doubt that he'd inadvertently introduced into our dynamics, because the string of non-committal men that I'd had the misfortune of encountering in Cambridge had left a gaping hole in my heart that I am still struggling to heal? I didn't think his uncertainty unreasonable (distance always messes things up), I found his explanation plausible, I didn't disbelieve him; a part of me had even wanted to say, 'All right, let's forget all this happened; let's just meet in London next weekend or something.'
But I couldn't. This modicum of doubt that he'd introduced, reasonable as it was, transported me back to the most recent disaster, the way he'd made me feel with his equivocation, his half-heartedness, his half-arsed efforts, his inability and failure to want me. And so Vegan Cardiff Guy was the first victim of my new-found resolve against any and all expressions of doubt by the other party: you either want me or you don't, and coming to me from the grey in between area is not good enough; anything less than a sure, certain yes is a dealbreaker.
Bad luck for me, then, for he'd actually shared some of my values, liked the art that I like, actually committed to a six-hour coach ride with a stop in London to see me. Why couldn't he have been absolutely certain?
Now that I am no longer angry, I feel some sorrow for myself. It seems like we spend our whole lives reacting against those who have wronged us. This reacting, steeped in negativity like over-brewed tea, produces categorical distinctions between the worthy and the not-worthy, all nuances erased. But people do not fall into neat categories. They do not come in perfect packages. There are shades and nuances and, yes, gray areas, and plausible and reasonable explanations for falling one way or the other, or for being stuck in between. But there is no room for these things in my categorical distinctions, produced as a reaction against those who have wronged me; distinctions made in the name of self-defence.
I might have let a good one slip today. But that is just my sentimental, irrational side speaking. Realistically, he was nothing to me, just words on a screen; realistically, too, am I really going to spend 6 hours on a bus to Cardiff once every few weeks or so to maintain this? So just forget about it. Stop being sentimental. His departure from my life has paved the way for others potentially entering it - others who are actually here.
So no loss. That's it. It's done.