I Never Really Cared for You

We swung by your favorite chicken place as soon as you got back from the holidays. Despite the divorce, we still enjoy each other’s company; in the end, the issues of our relationship stemmed more from what we wanted than any problem with each other’s personality. We grew together, and unfortunately, sometimes growing together means growing apart.

You told me of various escapades that a more reasonable person probably wouldn’t tell their ex-partner, but I guess we’re just like that, before telling me that you paid a visit to your old neighbor. The one who essentially invited herself to our wedding and insists she’s a family friend, despite everyone in your family seeming more annoyed than anything else by her presence. I guess it’s because she’s a little old lady who was abandoned by her family, the type of thing that makes you feel sorry for someone – despite being fully aware of why her family might have been so vexed by her as to leave.

Apparently, she hates me now – no, wait. Apparently, she never really cared for me. Despite only meeting a few times and having me sit through her endless stories of whatever popped into her mind, I must have done something wrong. As you say, she only offers room to speak so she can find a new topic from the first words out of your mouth. People are but an audience to her, so I guess I must have been a poor crowd.

It’s funny, the way people think they can speak to you after a breakup. As if that person you once invested so much time in, got to the point of wanting to spend your life together with, was never that good. Is the sentiment supposed to be helpful? “You were wrong to care this much.”

It’s weird the things people assume. I’m sure these people don’t expect what they say to get back to me; could they even imagine you sharing these kinds of thoughts with me, despite everything? Are they aware that you told me because what they said hurt you? How can someone speak so casually and carelessly about a relationship they never saw the interior of?

Through everything, I still see you as a best friend. I know you need distance due to the divorce, but it’s clear you care too. And how could anyone suggest we shouldn’t care? Neither of us would be who we are today if we hadn’t met and fallen in love.

You deserve answers. I care too much about you. Even as our relationship fell apart, you still held something irreplaceable in me. You became like family.

So I guess it staggers me to realize how flimsy these relationships can be. Because, obviously, this old neighbor of yours means nothing to me. But, god, to think that people are angry at me because things simply didn’t work out between us, despite the two of us knowing better than that. Neither of us are really at fault here. These things happen all the time.

So what did all of this mean to everyone else? How quickly every other connection snapped as soon as things fell apart between us. Was it all an act? Did anyone ever really care? Or is accepting an outsider into your family always an act?

Is performative love inescapable?

We spent the first six years of our adult lives together. We’re never going to erase that and I don’t think either of us want to; I just wish other people could learn their place.

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