We Lose the Things We’re Not Grateful For

a white piece of satin
Image by martisimas / CC BY

At first, I think it’s a garment. A silk nightgown at the foot of the stairs. Well that’s an accident waiting to happen. Better pick that up, I think, imagining the banana peel gag in cartoons. Oopsa daisy, upsa daisy, splat.

But it’s not a nightie. It’s Karen. Slumped against the railing. Sobbing.

“Are you okay?”

She shakes her head no. “And I don’t know how to get back there,” she chokes out.

“Back to okay?”

She nods.

“We can take our time,” I say, draping my arm around her, pulling her to my chest. “Okay will wait for us.”

When It’s Finally Over

She’s finally called it off, she says.

I smile. “Oh!” I’m inappropriately chipper, I know. But I can’t help myself. “That’s great!”

We’ve all been telling her for months that her girlfriend Lauren treats her like shit. That she deserves better.

“You don’t understand,” Karen would say. “Lauren has trauma. She’s a survivor. Like you. She’s working through stuff.”

Working through your patience, I think. And the patience of everyone around you.

Lauren went months without seeing Karen. Or even paying much attention to her. And when she did resurface, Lauren was nasty. Passive-aggressive.

And during this ordeal, Lauren of course found the time to date other people. New ones.

“That’s great?” Karen asks me now, dazed, confused that I’m happy about the breakup.

“You can get some closure. Move on,” I say.

Karen considers this. “Maybe.”

“No maybe about it,” I say. “This is pure yes.”

*

Lauren texts her an eyeful later. Karen shows me the screen. You cruel bitch. I expected better from you than to dump someone who’s sick. I’m in fucking therapy. Having flashbacks. Do you think that’s any picnic? No, it’s all about you. 

Then another. How selfish can you possibly be? I expected better from you.

The phone continues to sound. Karen sets it down on the table. We both pretend it’s not making any noise.

Karen sighs, heavily. So heavily her shoulders move.

“Well, she’s really responsive now. Funny how she suddenly found the time to talk to you,” I finally say. “Defending herself is obviously more important than your feelings ever were.”

“Sometimes Lauren said she cared about me,” Karen says, quietly.

“But did she ever show it?” I ask.

Karen doesn’t respond.

We Lose the Things We’re Not Grateful For

It never ceases to amaze me when someone acts like they’re owed another person’s friendship. Affection. Love.

The truth is? People don’t owe you anything. You’re not entitled to another person’s kindness.

Love can keep a person close to you for a while. And a commitment can extend that life. A sense of obligation.

But if you continue to treat a person like shit, why on earth would you be surprised when you lose them?

It’s a law of life: We lose the things we’re not grateful for.

*

My book is out!

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory

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