March 3, 2020 – Hillsboro, Oregon
Events continue to conspire, pushing me away from Arizona. A few days ago I spoke to my neighbor Ed and he mentioned that a friend was interested in buying my property. At first I had mixed feelings. Though I don’t want to live there now, the land is beautiful, and I could change my mind in the future. Ed suggested I split the property in half, into two five acre parcels. That sounded like a great idea to me and his friend was interested as well, going so far as making me a good offer. I’d finally have enough money to put a decent trailer on my land.
Then, two days later, he rescinded his offer and I was crushed. Now, I’m back to my original plan—moving to Hawaii and getting a job as a teacher. That likely won’t happen till the fall, when I save up enough money to ship my car over and make a deposit on a place to live. Meanwhile, I have lots of things planned. I’m going to Italy for three weeks in April, unless my flight is cancelled due to the coronavirus scare. Then, in May I’ll go to Hawaii for a bit, and scope out teaching jobs.
My stress levels were tested again the other day. It was a mini version of the petty gossip and negativity I’d run into in Arizona. Brent and I hadn’t communicated in a couple of weeks. It’s easier that way because he harbors a lot of anger and I don’t want to deal with it. As far as he’s concerned, I left because he couldn’t give me what I wanted. It absolves him of any responsibility for the breakup, so it works for him. He insists now that he wanted “only a friendship”, but obviously we had more than that.
When I got to Washington, he’d sent me a message requesting I leave his phone on my account until he had a chance to save up some money, which I agreed to do. After two weeks of no contact, I sent him another message asking if I could remove his phone at the end of the month. I tried to stay positive, though I had to state the obvious, “Don’t mean to be cynical, but the only time you reply to my messages is when you need something.” I ended on a positive note, two positive notes to be exact, but Brent being Brent, he saw only the negative, so he responded in kind.
I discovered through this exchange that my “friend” in Arizona had forwarded one of my emails to him—it was about Brent, and it was intended only for her. I asked her why she’d broken my trust and she replied with anger, completely denying she’d done it when I knew she had from the things Brent had told me. The incident made it obvious I wasn’t ready to return to my property in Arizona, so it’s good the deal didn’t go through. It also showed me that no contact was the only way to go with Brent.
I do miss him, but not in the way I expected. It’s been like conquering an addiction rather than pining over someone I cherish and love. Those highs and lows were intense, and they were as addictive as heroin to a drug addict. Walking away from Brent was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I see things more clearly now that I’ve had some distance. He often talked about the abuse he suffered as a child at the hands of his stepfather, both verbal and physical. Maybe that was behind his lack of empathy. He was so focused on himself, he couldn’t see how his actions affected others.
One night in the Walmart parking lot he tried to seduce me by playing my favorite song on the radio. It could have worked, but the timing was all wrong. I’d crawled into the back of the truck to sleep and I woke with a start. The volume was so loud the windows were shaking. When I asked him to turn it down, he erupted like a child throwing a tantrum. All he could see was my rejection of him, it didn’t matter that he’d woken me up.
There were no birthday gifts, no holiday gifts, at least not for me. When I handed him his Christmas present, his response was, “I didn’t know we were doing a gift exchange.” Though I found it odd, I tried not to let it offend me. Brent wasn’t a touchy-feely kind of guy; but once in a while he’d break out of his shell. He’d grab me by the waist and dance, throw his arms around me, massage my neck. Ironically, it was when he was tired or sick that he seemed to love me the most. When he withdrew from his Lyrica, the drug he took for nerve pain, he’d never been so affectionate and cuddly. When I mentioned that later, he shrugged it off. “I was weak,” he said, as though weakness was something to be ashamed of.
I constantly excused his behavior. He’d lived on the streets so much he’d become hard, I told myself, and I was determined to soften him up. Towards the end, he realized I was drifting away, and the anger and criticism increased. He’d always been super-sensitive, but it had gone beyond that level to the point where I couldn’t say or do anything without pissing him off.
Sometimes I sigh out loud—it’s often unconscious and it’s my way of relieving stress. But if I did it around Brent he’d take it personally, as a reaction to something he’d said or done, though I assured him it wasn’t. He hated repeating himself—the fact that I hadn’t listened well the first time he’d told me, to him meant I wasn’t interested in what he had to say. Whenever he prefaced his answers to my questions with “As I told you before…..”, I knew I was in trouble.
I could go on and on, but what’s the point? As Brent likes to say, “It is what it is,” and it certainly was. And it wasn’t a one-way street. I had my own issues. What was it about my personality that drew Brent to me like a magnet? Why did I continually attract people who thrived on negativity and chaos? Was it my own negativity, my own insecurities? I can’t heal the screwed up people around me. All I can do is shut them out of my life and work on healing myself. I’m not getting any younger.
As for Brent, he’s surviving, and he has a roof over his head. Last time I spoke to him, he was on the verge of getting a job renovating the local steak house in Elfrida. I wish him nothing but the best, though I know he doesn’t wish the same for me.