The Next Stage

The middle of July found me wondering if Mr. Exec and I could work in any capacity.  My uncertainty about what I wanted from Mr. Exec was put on the back burner, though, when I received a call from my breast surgeon.

A second area of cancer had been found.  There wasn’t a question that I would beat this, but a Stage One diagnosis at age 37 typically requires chemotherapy.  I also needed to have two more areas biopsied before surgery and treatment.

Although Mr. Exec and I texted for hours on end between my updated diagnosis and surgery, we never ended up seeing each other.  He claimed he was focused on work, but I knew it was more than that.  In his mind, I had insulted him by saying that we weren’t friends and that I didn’t value him outside of his abilities in bed.  (And, yes, I appreciate how ironic it was that Mr. Exec felt insulted by my behavior.)  I also tried to change our relationship mode, and a control freak like Mr. Exec will never comply with terms that he doesn’t set himself.

Somewhat surprisingly, I felt neither bad nor sad that I hadn’t seen him in a few weeks.  Yes, I missed the rush from sex with Mr. Exec, but I didn’t miss the drama, the games or the disrespect. 

My vulnerabilities did come into play on the day of my surgery, though.  I found myself back at Sibley Hospital with three procedures before the actual surgery.  As I sat in the waiting room, I recalled when Mr. Exec had left me a voicemail during my first set of biopsies, claiming that we would get through this all together.  And, then, I received a text from Mr. Exec that he was praying for me and hoped my surgery went well.

As I moved from procedure to procedure, Mr. Exec and I continued to text each other.  Our conversation provided a good diversion from the day's events, but it was also unsettling.  Mr. Exec insisted that he would have been there for me at the hospital, but for the fact that I wouldn’t let him.  Given how his words have never reconciled with his actions, that didn’t make sense.  But, sitting in a hospital gown being poked and prodded, I wasn’t able to see the situation that clearly at the time.

Following the surgery, Mr. Exec texted me several times to see how I was doing.  I definitely needed some help so I inquired as to whether I would be seeing him at all that week.  His response: I hope so.

Three days after my surgery, he called to check on me.  I had assumed that he would be going to an event downtown with some of our mutual friends, but he informed me that he had work to do that evening.

The following morning, I went on Facebook and saw that Mr. Exec’s work consisted of attending a friend’s birthday dinner and drinks.  (I guess we all define “work” differently.)  I proceeded to shake my head and roll my eyes at my laptop.

Mr. Exec texted me every day for the next three days to see how I was feeling.  I didn’t respond since I had nothing to say.  It simply wasn't worth trying to care about someone who didn't care about anyone but himself. 

After not hearing back from me, Mr. Exec called me on August 9th.

Mr. Exec: Good morning.  How are you?

Me: Okay. Thanks.

Mr. Exec: I’ve texted you several times to see how you were doing, but I never heard back from you.  I’ve been worried about you.

Me: I’m good.  Just recouping.

We repeated a similar conversation two more times since Mr. Exec was trying to figure out why I had ignored him.

Me:  I honestly wasn’t sure how to respond to your texts.  You had told me that you would try to stop by to check on me and that you weren’t going to the event last week because of work.  And, then I see that you went to a friend’s birthday. 

Mr. Exec: Umm…where did you see that?

Me: On Facebook.

Mr. Exec: But, you unfriended me…

Me: Yes, but we still have friends in common.  [Pause.]  It’s fine if you didn’t want to come by, but I’m not really sure why you just didn’t tell me the truth.

Mr. Exec [raising his voice slightly]: I called you to ask how you were doing.  I didn’t call about this kind of ‘fluff.’

Me [chuckling]: So…you lying to me is fluff?

Mr. Exec [raising his voice a little more]: Yes, it is!  I don’t need to explain myself or what I do to anyone!

Me [in a slightly sarcastic tone]: Oh, I know you don’t.

Mr. Exec: Are you being sarcastic?

Me: Yes, I am.

Mr. Exec: I called to find out how you were!  I don’t need to be bothered with this.

Me: Well, you wanted to know why I didn't text back so I'm telling you.

Mr. Exec [raising his voice even more]: You didn't respond to me because of that?  That's ridiculous!

Me: Not to me.  I'm actually on my way to an appointment, though, so we might just need to agree to disagree.  Hope you have a good day.

Mr. Exec [pausing]: You, too.  [Pause.]  Goodbye then.

Me: Bye.

That was the last time I spoke to Mr. Exec.  There was nothing more to say, and it was time for me to devote my energy to kicking cancer’s ass!  I had assumed that I would be doing that with my friends by my side and without a man in my life.

As luck would have it, though, only the first part of that sentence is true ;).

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