The people who know me

I make it a rule that no-one who knows me personally has the address of this blog. Theory goes I don’t want to be inhibited knowing that people close to me are reading what I’m writing. And, I guess, you never know when I want to write about them – problematic when they can read it.

That’s the theory. In reality there are people who know me who know about this place, and at least one who is an active reader. In his case he basically pleaded with me to get the address, and I relented – he’s now a loyal reader who gives regular feedback. There are others who knew about the site back in its inception, in 2004, but I doubt if any of those still read, or are even aware that it’s still active. Then there are the accidents, the calamities, when people you know unexpectedly learn that you have a blog – and have written about them.

I had lunch today with a mate, the very guy I mentioned above and who is probably reading these words right now. He was telling me how he had recently gone back into the archives and began reading my posts from the second half of 2006.

As he said, that was an interesting time in life – though probably a better read than it was to live. Without going into too much detail I became infatuated and very likely fell in love with a workmate who happened to be attached to someone else. It was a complex, messy and ultimately doomed period of my life, and it all came back to me as he asked questions about it. Like I said, it’s a good read, like an edgy Mills and Boon.

Life happens and it goes on. What was forever once soon recedes into the past, but it’s always yours. I could think of nor imagine anything else but her back in the day, but ultimately you move on. That’s the pattern. If I look back it’s with a mix of wistfulness and regret. I don’t regret feeling what I did or meeting her, and I’m not even really sure if I regret they way it turned out – badly. Shit happens, after all. I regret that I didn’t know better and couldn’t close it out, one way or another.

It is of the past though and just another story, except that this was an occasion when others stumbled across my blog. That was tough. They were some of my work colleagues, including her, and everything I had written was revealed. That would have been tough enough without my intimate thoughts being exposed – and believe me, there were intimate thoughts.

I curled up in a ball. I cringed. I felt myself naked, as if everyone knew and were pointing at me behind my back. As it happened I had written of my feelings for her, and everyone could see, not the least her. For a little while I password protected my site. I withdrew into my technological shell. At work I probably put on a stony face, but I felt it. And then there were the comments I had to respond to. As always, I was combative, but I felt under siege.

Looking back now I don’t know what difference it would have made had that never happened. Did it cruel my chances with her, or enhance them? Certainly she could read my innermost thoughts, most of which were tender. I had reason to believe that she was receptive to that at least – I could track her frequent visits to the site, and saw that she had saved many of my posts to her hard drive, as if she want to keep them and read them whenever she wanted. She was in a relationship, yet she kept returning.

On the other hand it made things near impossible between us. What had been a small thing shared became tawdry exposed to the open air. What might have gone on quietly for months and simply enjoyed without undue expectation suddenly had an expiry date. Exposed as we were it couldn’t go on.

Ultimately the resolution was ugly and it remains one of the more difficult times in my life. I felt ostracised, but squared the jaw and didn’t complaint. The writing was on the wall, loud and rude, and I took myself away from there.

It’s long in the past now – more than 10 years. She could be reading still for all I know, but both of us have moved on.

Do you regret? It might have been different yes, and I wish we had stayed friends – she was a grand person. But no, I don’t really regret. For a while I was filled to the brim, and I felt it, felt it all the way so that I knew that I was perfectly alive. And now it’s just a story, but mine – and hers too. That much we still share.


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