I'm a little hesitant to talk about this, because I'm not sure exactly who reads this blog. There are a few people who I think might read it, and I'm not sure what they'll make of this or think about it or do with the information. I'm also not sure I want to admit to being this neurotic and ridiculous. But in the interest of recording my life as a birth mother, I'm going to write it out anyway and hope that no one's IP has changed (I block a few), and that none of my readers are feeling judgmental. So, here goes.
I almost had a heart attack at Wal-Mart on Saturday night.
Oh, probably not a real heart attack or anything. But I definitely felt like I'd been kicked in the chest, and all the blood in my body shot straight into my cheeks. Another few seconds and I think I would have passed out cold on the filthy floor.
I thought I saw H standing by one of the checkout counters.
I shouldn't have been as shocked as I was, really. The Wal-Mart that I was at is right by his house. I never used to go to it before, but the place I moved to is not at all - at ALL - far from where H lives. Happenstance, really, but the place is perfect for me and I really felt strongly that this is where I'm supposed to be now. When I realized the proximity to H's apartment, I hesitated briefly. I thought to myself that it was only a matter of time before I ran into him somewhere. Could I handle it if I did?
I told myself that I could, that I was a grown-up, that I'd been in therapy for years, that I was mature and calm and collected. I envisioned several scenarios in which I would see H somewhere, and in each one, I was respectful and level-headed and escaped relatively unscathed. I thought, I've got this. I can do this. I can look at and speak to the man like a civilized adult. I felt confident. If anyone ought to be worried, I thought, it was H. How would he react to seeing me? Yeah, I thought, that's what I want to know. Me, I can handle. I can be the bigger person.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am full of crap. Because when I thought I saw him that night, I had a vagal nerve reaction the likes of which I've never dreamed of before. I realized after a few seconds of gaping that the man in front of me was not, in fact, H. I realized after a few more seconds that he didn't even resemble H that closely. I tried to calm down, to shake it off and find what I'd come into the store to buy. But I was spooked. I now half-expected to see H in every aisle. I all but sprinted to the back of the grocery section to get my French toast sticks. Three times more I thought I saw H. Twice it was a man pushing a cart with two small children. The third time it was a woman.
I scanned the store so many times while I was in line that if anyone had been watching me they probably would have expected me to bolt from the store without paying. When I finally got out to the parking lot, I searched anxiously for H's car before dashing for my own and hightailing it back to my place.
I feel like the biggest freaking idiot in the world. What is wrong with me? Why should the thought of seeing H again terrify me so much? He's not a monster. He's just an immature, stubborn man ... and, in a manner of speaking, I took something from him that I can't give back, nor would I give back, which is to say, his daughter. He's bound to be angry about that, isn't he? Or maybe he's shoved that down the way he seemed to do with all of the other emotions he didn't know how to deal with. Maybe he doesn't even think about it any more.
Would that be worse, I wonder? Which would make me feel sicker - knowing that he is still seething with rage, or that he is completely apathetic? I'm not sure. And although I was wrong about being mature and able to handle seeing him again even if just in passing at a discount store, I do still wonder what his reaction to me would be. I mean, we had a baby together. Surely I must cross his mind occasionally, right?
I think I'd feel like less of a spaz for freaking out if knew that the thought of seeing me again freaked him out too. But then, I'm not sure I want him thinking about me often enough to have considered seeing me again. I know I'd be happier if the thought hadn't occurred to me. Until I moved, I thought about H really very little. It was nice. I was happy that way. I love my new place, but I hate that moving here has made me think so much about H again.
Then again, as I said, we had a baby together. I'm probably going to think about H on and off for a very long time. I sort of hate that. I mean, I am appreciative of his genetic contribution. I am very pleased with the results. Roo couldn't be any more adorable or clever or cute or sweet or smart. But I wish that I could think about Roo without having to think of half of the reason she's here.
This is one of those weeks where I really wish my therapist hadn't decided we should cut back to one session a month. I mean, I thought I was quote-unquote over H, for the most part. I really thought I could just be cool about him. What does it mean for me that I'm not, that I can't? How am I ever supposed to have a relationship again when I feel like the specter of H is always hovering nearby on account of my having had a baby with him? I mean, it's probably going to be a heavy enough thing for most guys that I'm a birth mother. The fact that I almost threw up when I thought I saw my ex? That just can't be healthy. It can't be normal. Nothing about being a birth mother is normal, of course. But I figure many birth moms have a wee bit more closure and resolution than I do. Things ended strangely and rather abruptly between me and H. I reckon I'm as much to blame as he is.
The last time I saw him was at the end of November 2008. I was barely two months pregnant at the time. We were supposed to get together again to talk things over but it never happened. We didn't talk on the phone at all. It was either e-mail or instant message or text. After a while, even that stopped. I don't blame H for that. I'm pretty sure I told him to be fruitful and multiply (but not in those words) and to never contact me again. It felt like the right move at the time, but in retrospect I guess I just wish I had a bit more closure. I think that if I did, I wouldn't have had such an insanely extreme overreaction.
I like to tell myself that I am done with H, that I am completely over him, but when things like this happen I am reminded of how many things went unsaid and how unsatisfactory our break-up was. But I'm never going to get that closure, and I have to learn to be okay with that. I have to learn to let go. I have to learn to handle difficult situations. Most importantly, I have to learn to check the parking lot for H's car before I enter a store.