I needed more than what you were willing to give me.
I don't know how you know to call me on a bad day, but the phone rings and your name pops up on the screen. I stare and watch it until it disappears. I'd like to say I have enough self-restraint to not call you back, but my heart strings still pull tightly at the thought of wondering what you are calling me for.
My brain screams at me about how much of a bad idea it is, but I pick up the phone, unlock it, and numbly hit the call back button.
How am I? Did I get that issue resolved? How are the cats? What about the dog?
All good. Why wouldn't they be?
I listen to you ramble a little. My tone is flat as I try and analyze what you could possibly be calling me for at 1pm on a Thursday.
You just want to check-in on me, you say, just wanted to see how I was doing.
Tears threaten to spill at the corner of my eyes, because on a bad day like this....this is all I want. Someone to see how I am. Someone to care.
Really anyone but you.
Just as soon as my heart starts to open, it shuts again as I remember our last conversation. Those horrible unnecessary words you said to me. The anger you brought out in me. The screaming at each other over the phone. The insults that are so personal no one else would even understand how much they hurt.
But you did.
You weaponized my past mistakes and insecurities against me once again. Dredged up the unresolved trauma I trusted you with for safekeeping and shoved it down my throat until I thought my brain was going to explode.
So I ask the question.
If you care so much about how I am doing, why did you say those things to me last time?
You apologize profusely. About the things you said, about not being able to love me enough.
I have to hang up.
The thing is I know you feel bad. You feel bad for making me cry. For saying those mean things to me. You didn't call me because you care about how I am. You called me because you were feeling guilty about what you said.
If you really cared about how I felt, you wouldn't have said those things to begin with.
We would still be at home. With the cats and the dogs. Cuddled together on the couch. Planning our next vacation, next business venture, wedding, children.
All of it.
But now I go to therapy every Monday, and on my to-do list is a box that never gets checked off...."Don't cry today"
And now I bake cookies for myself and caccoon my body in too many blankets on the couch as all the animals gather around me to fall asleep.
Now I plan my own birthday party, and fill my weekends with activities that make me smile or at least take my mind off things.
In fact, I'll go to the store today and buy myself flowers and my favorite wine. Pick out ingredients to make a pot of soup and eat it in bed as I watch my favorite movie.
And I'll remind myself, all these things that I'll do to make myself feel better are things you could not do for me. Not because you didn't know how, but because you didn't care.
So don't call me to ask how I am. Don't tell me how you could have loved me better.
Because I love myself better now.