The 1,763-Day Weekend
Part 3 — Willfully Blind from the Start
While I know that clichés are bad form in writing, there’s a reason they exist: they neatly and succinctly encapsulate common truisms. One cliché my brother from Moncton used when I was confiding to him about the collapse of my marriage a few weeks after the fact was, “Love is blind.” However, I would go further and amend that cliché to better describe my case in this instance, to “Love is willfully blind.” That adverb, in my mind, brings a significant and pertinent amendment to the cliché.
NowEx certainly did charm me off my feet during my Summer 2007 vacation in Montréal. Yet I feel a little queazy now when I re-read my blog entries from August of that year onwards. What bugs me is not what I wrote back then (although it doesn’t make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside) so much as what I omitted — stuff I brushed aside as petty trifles — as if the act of omission denies existence. In fact, with the benefit of hindsight, a part of me would be tempted to delete or drastically edit those entries. However, I don’t and never will do that, as that would be counter to how I’ve blogged in the last decade. How and what I chose to narrate is as significant as the existence of that narration itself, replete with flaws, inaccuracies, and selectiveness.
The omissions and denials amounted to my not trusting my intuitions about people. I had — I’m better now — the bad habit of not trusting them because doing so struck me as being superficial and judgemental. This mistrust of my intuitions was a by-product of that long-past sense of being rejected, whereby I never wanted to be found guilty of rejecting anybody without knowing all the facts, not to mention without cutting plenty of slack for the sake of what I perceived as fairness. So while my intuitions were telling me that NowEx could be bad news, I turned a deaf ear to them and even denied I had them by omitting them from my narratives in 2007.
Let me give you a sampling of my most glaring repressed intuitions.
NowEx had to attend a party the night after we met but he said he would call me around 11:00 so we could meet up. Being that it was the middle of a canicule, I hung out in the Village where we’d probably meet and where my B&B was, and like a fool I waited and waited for his call that didn’t come …until nearly 4:00 am. It wasn’t only the lack of couth in calling at that hour that offended me but moreso the fact he hadn’t done what he’d said he’d do.
Anyone brighter than me — there are legions — would have told him to fuck off, hung up and gone back to bed, and thus my narratives in the next five years up to today would have taken a radically different turn. I would still be in Montréal and working for the bank, and I might be in the same apartment, but very little else would be the same. I probably wouldn’t remember his name, I wouldn’t know as much Spanish as I do, I probably would have been debt-free for a few years instead of by the end of 2013, and I certainly wouldn’t be spending all these hours writing this more honest narrative!
Then there’s the conversation we had in our hotel suite when I’d come back a few weeks later for the Labour Day long weekend. An aura of melodrama surrounded him as he was preparing to leave the place where he was living without giving any notice. In other words he was stiffing his roommates, but that’s because they were moving to another place and he started seeing the impossibility of living illegally, so he didn’t want to move with them but rather head back to Mexico.
By this point, he had presented himself to me as a “journalist” back in Mexico and a student who only had his thesis to complete. (I came to find out much, much later that he was merely doing newspaper clippings for an American journalist based in Mexico City and that the thesis in question wasn’t for his master’s but his undergraduate honours degree.) So, I playfully asked him a serious question: “What do you want to do when you grow up?”
“Lots of parties and lots and lots of drugs” was his reply, very serious, not at all playful. I seem to recall that, after he said it, he even made a pout reminiscent of Paris Hilton (whom everyone knows I can’t stand) as he was nodding with dreamy eyes, as if his answer described the summit for which anyone could ever aspire, but my mind and the passage of time could be playing tricks on me and editing in that flourish. “But of course!” Cleopatrick said as I was recalling this response over lunch one day many years later and my incomprehension toward it. “He was describing to you a life of leisure, of little effort, or where any effort should go on doing ‘grown-up things,’ feeling good and being seen in what he viewed as the ‘In’ crowd.”
Alas, instead of taking NowEx’s answer as the signal to end that conversation with a dismissive “Good luck with that” and go on our day trip to Québec City, have fun playing tourist, finish the weekend and say, “It’s been nice knowin’ you,” I repressed how my intuition was telling me to react to that answer and rationalized that, being 13 years my junior, he was still a bit young and he would grow out of it.
More than that, I would help him grow out of it. He was still holding onto a teen-like idealized view of what adulthood was supposed to be like.
I would rescue him.
Mind you, I didn’t hear myself say those exact words to myself. I never did. I never would.
Meanwhile, my intuition was protesting, to no avail: “Run away from the flake!” But now you know why I chose to title this series of blog entries “The 1,763-Day Weekend.” I should have listened to my intuition and let this encounter be a simple one-weekend folly.
But no. Instead I let it run from August 10, 2007, when I met NowEx, to June 6, 2012, when some judge in Montréal pronounced our marriage dissolved. Echoes of the Queen of Sheba, whom we teased that her maternal instincts made her the Madonna of Alberta, come to mind: I seemed bent on vying to become her equivalent from New Brunswick.
Shortly after NowEx had returned to Mexico that early September, I took him up on his invitation to visit him and booked myself on a flight to Mexico for Christmas. We conversed somewhat regularly on Skype and, by late-November, I had decided I would arrive there with a ring that I would offer him under the full moon on Christmas Eve on a beach in Oaxaca State.
Which I did.
I know, I know! It’s all incomprehensible… Remember how I told you that NowEx wouldn’t be alone to come across badly in this narrative? In fact, I think that so far I’m coming across worse than him, unless you’re a particularly generous reader and are thinking we’re just about even. But that perception should change as you continue reading…
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