Men get afraid, too. But we don’t talk about it.
It’s Friday night. It’s all fun and games and friends and community and party with dear friends and another Friday night opening party…it’s all fun and games until you see the only literally crazy X you’ve ever had the misfortune to date and you remember the worst time of your life, ever.
You go on as if she’s not there: no eye contact, you talk with friends on the other side of the room, and soon enough you’re gone or she’s gone. This happens maybe a few times a week, maybe it’s a small town.
If I were a woman, and she were a man, everyone would understand my very real fear. But I’m not, and she isn’t, and some don’t.
The many who know her deal and history (which is extensive), or have dated her and understand why you want to go fearful and cold inside, and want to run, whenever you see her…though they are many in number, they don’t talk about it openly, because, like you, all they want is peace and distance from her vortex of pain and drama. And so the cycle continues.
The ones who don’t know, the innocent ones, they’re suckers, just as you were, back then. Because no one tells them the truth. And so the cycle continues: and she viruses her way into new cliques when she’s burned through old.
And so you bike home in the rain to your house where the windows are still screwed down, five years later, and you’re grateful to see your dog and your blankets and to be safe.
It’s embarrassing, being so shaken, and not being able to talk about it.