A part of me wondered if I should hang up the telephone, ending the unnecessary closure talk that I was having with Mr. Agency. But, I wasn't exactly thinking clearly by that point in my treatment. And, it also occurred to me that maybe…just maybe…one of us would say something that resonated in the right way to make this three-hour conversation seem worthwhile.
Mr. Agency continued talking about the night we met:
When I saw you at the Masquerade Party, I could tell that you were different from all of the usual people I meet at those types of events. I couldn’t help but want to spend more time with you. And, you're so cool, and we had a lot of fun together. You really seemed to understand my schedule. [Pause.] But, this is why I don’t get into relationships. There are always resentments.
Me: It’s not your schedule that I resented. It was your lack of communication. I tried every way I could to make things work between us, but I had to adjust reactively to you. If you had given me the heads up that your work week would go from 70 hours to 100 hours in October, I could have decided whether I wanted to hang out with you or not. But, you didn't pitch it that way. You said that you would be there for me during treatment, and yet, after the first round, you weren't!
I paused and exhaled with one tear falling down my cheek:
I wish we had been able to get to know each other without chemotherapy getting in the way.
Mr. Agency [sighing]: I know. [Pause,] Maybe it would’ve been different if that had happened much later on in our relationship.
Me: Well, I know you well enough to know that your job is only go to get more demanding over the next 10 years. [Pause.] That’s why I tried to break things down to us just seeing each other once a week on those weeks when you’re in town. I don’t understand why, if you care about me, you couldn't have done that.
Mr. Agency: My schedule doesn’t allow me to.
Me: Yes, it does! You just choose for it not to.
Mr. Agency: When I finish at work at 2 or 3am and I need to be up five hours later, I just try to get as much sleep as I can. I don’t have a choice. My body needs sleep to function.
Me: I don’t deny that, but it’s not like you can’t sleep here.
Mr. Agency: I want to be in my own bed free of distractions. You know I don’t sleep as well with someone next to me.
Quite a few minutes were spent discussing sleep. When he made a comment that if it wasn’t for his need for sleep, things might be different between us, I replied incredulously:
We all make time for the things that are important to us! You chose not to try to make things work with me when you weren’t communicative about your schedule and didn’t make an effort to come over here or invite me to your place or your events. I'm understanding of your schedule and the fact that you couldn't take me out on traditional dates. You could've met me a quarter of the way, but you wouldn't! And, the sleep thing is total bullshit. I was asking for one night a week! When I hang up, should I text a few of my friends and say:
Mr. Agency and I finally ended things. We’re breaking up because his sleep is important to him?
He didn’t find that amusing and tried for another few minutes to convince me of his position.
Mr. Agency: You’re going to tell all your friends about what an asshole I am.
Me: I don’t think you’re an asshole, but I think you could’ve handled things much better where I was concerned.
He refused to admit that, instead going into how being in a relationship negatively impacts his work performance.
Me: I just think that’s because you haven’t let any woman truly in and given her the chance to be there for you and help you out. All relationships don’t have to be distracting.
We kept going around in circles, and every 30 minutes, I inquired why we even needed to be having this conversation in the first place.
Mr. Agency: Well, don’t you think it's valuable to hear each other’s perspective?
Me: No, I don’t. It won’t change anything.
Mr. Agency: But, don’t you feel like it’s been worthwhile for us to talk?
Me: No, I don’t. This conversation is honestly just making me more irritated with you.
Mr. Agency finally realized that I was right. There wasn’t anything else for us to say to each other.
By the time I hung up the telephone, I was exasperated with him. Mr. Agency wanted to come across as the good guy. I didn't think of him as a bad guy, but he sure wasn't a guy who had treated me well.