Two months of silence and I’m starting to believe she might finally have given up.
I understood at the outset. She wanted us to break up. She wanted E back. She was hurting. I don’t agree with her actions, but her feelings are pretty understandable for anyone who’s ever come out the messy end of a serious relationship.
Later on, though, her motives bewildered me. She said she’d “never wish herself back [in Istanbul] for anything.” But then why keep up the bombardment? I usually try to think the best of everyone, even her. But, other than pure vindictiveness, what could have driven her bilious missives?
I’m talking about E’s ex-girlfriend, C, who for the last two years has assaulted me on occasion with angry, hate-filled messages. Sometimes, they were pages long. Sometimes, I’d get three or four in a single day. She’d send them to E, too. At certain points, what she wrote would keep me awake at night with worry.
Looking back over her messages, I get the oddest sensation that I know her intimately. They’re a spotlight on her emotional state. From the odd punctuation to the rambling length of the messages themselves, they betray real agitation. Even the timing told me the days she was feeling particularly blue. Sometimes, her thoughts were clearly provoked by something I’d write on Twitter. Sometimes a message would ping into my inbox entirely unbidden.
And yet, really, I know nothing about her. I’ll admit her obsessive following of my movements via social media prompted me to follow her too (at least on Twitter). I do know which city she lives in, what she does for a living, some of her aspirations. But I don’t know anything real about her, like what makes her tick, what makes her happy, or what her voice sounds like.
I write this now not because I bear her any grudge. Yes, there were times when she made me furious. Time when things she’d write led E and I into horrible, pointless fights.
I write this now because I can. Two months is the longest respite I’ve ever had from her. I finally feel like she might have moved on with her life
But what’s really liberated me is being taken seriously by someone. Sure, my friends were indignant and outraged on my behalf when I relayed C’s messages to them. But I always had a creeping fear that the things she said – about me, about E, about our relationship – were somehow truer than my own thoughts and feelings. Because she’s been there before. Because she’s older than me. Because in some senses, the things she wrote reflected my deepest, darkest fears.
I was gobsmacked by how seriously M, a wonderful friend and colleague, took me when I got a particularly vile message in her presence. M has worked in women’s rights all her life, and she told me I needed to start thinking in terms of documenting a crime. When I tried to protest that I wasn’t actually afraid of C, just annoyed by her, she countered that my mental health was more important that my pride. She told me I had to get the heck on and cancel my number, lock my Twitter account and cut her out of my life completely.
And suddenly, it was like a veil being drawn from my eyes. M wasn’t appalled by what C said about me or E or our relationship. She didn’t ask me what the hell I was doing with a man like that. Instead, she told me that C is clearly unwell, and that I needed to be careful.
That’s when I realised seomthing important. I can’t let C define my relationship. Whatever her experiences, they are not mine. As much as she might wish me to be just as unhappy as she clearly was, I’m just not. I’m writing this now because I finally feel free of her. Whether or not she chooses to write again, it won’t make any difference. She cannot sully our happiness.