Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Love Hurts ~ Learning To Hate


I met that woman standing in the center of the photograph seventeen years ago. I was 48, alone, and I'd placed a personal ad in The Miami Herald. This was a few years before the internet took over the dating scene. She answered the ad and we got together a few days later. We dated for about a year, then I moved into her house. I got along fine with her younger son. We both loved to fish.

The older one was a bit of a problem though, with the underlying feeling that if his mom and I weren't living together she'd go back with his dad. This persisted long after he'd remarried. I put up with it, though, figuring that the boy would soon be off to college. It didn't happen. Then after ten years of what I thought was a pretty damned good relationship, out of the blue she asked me to move out.

But she wouldn't let go. She'd call me every morning to find out how I was. She'd remind me when I needed a haircut. She wanted to go out to dinner every Saturday night, although she insisted on paying her own way. Her brother, who is my accountant, kept telling me to "hang in there, she still loves you". Well I still loved her. And her now adult sons were still living in her house. After five years I finally asked her to come and live at my house. The answer was no.

A psychiatrist friend of mine told me that the only way I could get past loving her was to learn to hate her. I stopped seeing her, talking to her, dropping by her shop, everything. Still, it's not easy learning how to hate somebody. A year or so went by. In all that time I hadn't had a decent haircut. I'd grown a beard and let my hair grow for about six months. My ex wife, still a good friend of mine as well as best friends with the former girlfriend told me that I "look like a street person", her way of translating from her native German a phrase meaning "homeless bum". She called and made the appointment.

There was a lot of trepidation as I went to her salon. We didn't kiss and embrace at the door like we once did. We exchanged a few pleasantries about our kids. I got a fantastic haircut and she trimmed my beard. For the next few days I felt depressed but I can't seem to hate her. I knew at that point that I still loved her. I haven't seen or spoken with her since.

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