Julie to IVF: Let's just be friends
I used to date a jackass. Okay, to be strictly accurate, I used to date a lot of jackasses, but I am thinking of one in particular. I met him during my senior year in college, fell in love, and moved 2,000 miles after graduation to be with him. I can sum up our three-year relationship in three simple sentences.
- The sex was great.
- The rest was not.
- He told my mother he didn't find me funny.
Wait, no, make that four sentences. He dumped me. We hadn't fought, but we hadn't been happy. I suppose he thought he was being kind by telling me gently that it wasn't me, he just didn't want a girlfriend anymore. I guess he thought he was fifty kinds of smooth when he said, in a tone of consolation, "In five years, you're going to be one hell of a woman."
He was right, in a way: Obviously I had not yet come into my own. If I had, if I'd been older, more experienced, more seasoned, I would have summoned an exquisite calm and told him, "I'm one hell of a woman now." Or maybe run over him seven or eight times with the fearsome 1988 Oldsmobile juggernaut I drove at the time.
Either option would have been better. Instead I just cried for a couple of weeks, moved all of my things out of his apartment while he wasn't home, and, after a brief period of mourning, continued to have sex with him for the next several months whenever he happened to call.
How I do miss those happy times.
The first few weeks were hard, as any breakup is. I didn't want him back, but I still felt the need for answers, a masochistic drive to know what had really gone wrong. Because my dignity — always dignity — was at stake, and because I knew how weak I could be, I covered the touch-tone pad of my phone with a bright yellow Post-It that said in big red letters, "DON'T CALL." (In smaller black print was "...you spineless asshole.")
This is where I am with IVF. Now and then I run across a piece of information that makes me want to pick up the phone and ever so casually ask IVF to come on over for dinner, if it doesn't already have other plans, which, hey, that would be fine with me, I just thought I'd ask. Of course, we'd end up drunk and in bed, and the next day I'd hate myself and look like hell and swear I would never do it again. But then a few weeks later there I'd be, sexing it up with IVF; bitterly resenting the fact that it didn't even bother to shave before it came over; secretly really enjoying the whiskerburn here and there; incredulously telling it hell, no, it can't use my toothbrush; gritting my teeth while listening to it snore and wondering, "Can this be all I get?"
(It occurs to me I may have said too much.)
Believe me, I know it's over. More than ten years after that earlier dumping, I don't need a neon yellow stickie to shore up my resolve. The temptation is only mild and fleeting, more or less easily resisted. But it is there. If you've ended treatment, do you still nevertheless feel the urge now and then? Because I am patiently waiting for it to go away. I am relying on faith that it will go away. Right?
Oh, and about the jackass. In case you're curious, I didn't call him, not during those dangerous weeks when all I'd have managed were questions and tears. We stayed friends, after a fashion, meaning he occasionally borrowed my car and I eventually ceased to wish him dead. And I had the last few laughs.
First, as I was loading my U-Haul truck to move in with Paul in New York, he showed up on my doorstep crying. "If things don't work out with this guy," he gulped, with messy tears and runny nose, "will you promise to come back to me?" And I said no, of course, because, dude, you told my mother you thought I wasn't funny.
Second, I married Paul and he married a perfectly lovely woman with what has to be the most appalling mullet this side of Cannery Row.
If I were IVF, I'd be pretty scared right about now. See what happens when you mess with one hell of a woman?