Seven Stages Of Self-Infliction

Seven Stages Of Self-Infliction


He’s married? Did he just say he’s married? Oh. My. God. I wish I were deaf, so I didn’t just hear that. God! God hates me for not believing in him. This is payback, and it’s in the form of a wife. What a horrible woman! Stealing my secret future husband. He doesn’t even wear a wedding ring. I have never seen or heard of any topic even remotely related to eternal vows with a soul mate in a year of working together. In 365 days, he never had the urge to mention her? Is she the elephant woman? Maybe she’s just hideous. No. She’s probably cute. A super cute, blonde, Kindergarten teacher who wears short shorts because her legs are perfect.

It just doesn’t add up. He openly flirted with me. At least, it seemed like flirting. How am I supposed to tell the difference between flirting and friendliness; do I look like some kind of hardened gumshoe? Men should know the least they can do for us single girls is indicate they’re taken, so we don’t count phone conversations – fifth today – as evidence of requited feelings.

A wife. It’s inconceivable. Maybe they’re not getting along. Maybe they were high school sweethearts and have fallen out of love, and he only mentioned her because… because…

I will not think about him and his wife, standing at the alter (my alter, with my grandma in the front row smiling and waving) exchanging vows.


I am getting so drunk tonight. I’m getting obliterated. I can’t take this continued failure of a love life. If these experiences are supposed to make me stronger, then why does it feel as though a petard has blown a hole through my soul? A human can only take so much devastation; it’s killing my will to live. All right, so maybe I’m not ready to toss my near lifeless body off a bridge over this. But I can’t believe I have to suffer through the day until 5:00 pm.

Okay, I’m back in my cubicle from a mini-breakdown in the bathroom and have convinced myself to stop being a baby and get over it. I will not give in to miserable self-pity! I will not think about him and his wife, standing at the alter (my alter, with my grandma in the front row smiling and waving) exchanging vows. My vows, that I would choke out with sincere, blissful gratitude as all my friends who never thought it would happen watched on; patting their mascara with tissues… oh, great now I have to hide in the bathroom again.

It’s good I have a cold; no one can tell my bloodshot eyes and runny nose are due to heartbreak. Heartbreak in my cubicle. That’s got to be a new low. The thing is, though, I was so sure we were meant for each other. I was utterly convinced this was fate. All the signs were there; he was nice to me – yes, I grasp that isn’t a significant indication of love, but he was especially nice. I mean, really nice. I’d read that people often fell in love during work-related situations, after spending so much bonded time together. How could this not have been a perfect case? And we talked on the phone so much! I mean, it was work related, but I was certain there were undertones of bonded love.

What I want to know is: do guys have some kind of universal affectation that they use with women they like and women they love? A kind of altered behaviour that can easily be identified and avoided; like knowing that when a skunk lifts its tail you better start running? This really should be studied in sociology. Maybe I’ll take a sociology course and break this shit wide-open. I’ll write a self-help best seller like, “The Singles Whisperer.” Maybe this is my destiny, and I don’t even know it yet. I hate him! No, I don’t hate him. I’m a bad person for saying that, but I’m questioning everything now. My life is as shambled as my soul.

I wonder if they just got married? Maybe they’ve been planning their wedding this whole time, while I was daydreaming about when he’d finally make a move (after a beer, and sharing work stories we’d walk out to his truck. Our spontaneous hug would lead to soft but passionate kisses). Meanwhile, he was living it up and “hula dancing” in Hawaii for his honeymoon. Great, I have to go hide in the bathroom again.


He once sent me an email with: “You’re the best,” followed by 18 exclamation marks. I counted them. How is that not an example of passion? Three, and I probably wouldn’t be so worked up right now because I’m a fairly rational person. But 18? And, he always called me on Friday to tell me to have a good weekend. He’d say things like, “You’re fabulous,” or “That’s our girl!” I mean, really. I’m only human. Like Shakespeare wrote, “If you tickle us, do we not laugh?”

This is so mortifying. I feel like a puppy that’s the only one left of a litter, in a box at the mall.

No, you know what? Enough! What kind of married man treats a single girl like she’s an invaluable part of his life? He really ought to have dialed down the enthusiasm. This isn’t my fault. He was practically begging me to fall in love with him, probably to boost his own ego, the psychopath! But I’m not falling for his sneaky tricks anymore. I’m dead inside. I hope he’s happy.


I emailed my friend, Lorrie. She wrote back that I’m special and that it is against the laws of the Universe that I will remain single forever. This is no salve for my pain, coming such from a biased source. If I wanted to be spoon-fed flattery I’d call my mom, who sends me gift baskets on Valentines, every year, without fail. And every year, without fail, my heart jumps for a split second when I open the door and think I have secret admirer. But no. My secret admirer is my mother.

I know I’ll get over it tomorrow; I’ll go for coffee with the guy online who just asked to meet me. I’m not completely washed up; I’m in my late 20s. I’ve still got a good three or four years of life left before I need to make that lonely journey to the SPCA and start hoarding abandoned rabbits. I know I have a lot going for me: I’m literate. My hair takes product fairly well. I have a nice apartment, and the respect of my colleagues (most of them). I own a company blackberry. I’m going places!

I don’t want to be tied down to being a housewife yet, anyhow. Even if I did go to the trouble to figure out in my head how I would come up with dinners for him seven days a week for eternity. Now that was a waste of fucking time. Next time, he can cook his own damn meals.


One of my coworkers Rachel told me a story about her kid, while we were eating lunch in the staff room. At first, I didn’t bother to listen. I don’t care about her problems! I’m going through a traumatizing life event. But then, she started describing the difficulty of having a boy who’s half-blind at six-years-old, and I realized that things – I suppose – could be worse.

I mean, I could be half-blind. Or, even worse, I could have a kid. I could be a single mother like Rachel, with frizzy hair and an extra ten pounds, trying to find my son a new dad. And I’d have to go home to explain why he isn’t going to meet “mommy’s new special friend,” after all, because mommy is a desperate sad sack who lives in the land of make-believe. Oh, poor kid. You’ve got a lot to learn. Now, sleep tight while mommy goes and silent sobs in the bathtub with a bottle of Merlot.


By way of some kind of supreme act of will, I managed to get all my tasks done today. It seems I’m still capable of existing, though it hasn’t been easy. I just hung up with him, and we had a normal conversation, same as always. My ability to sound unfazed, even happy, surprised me. I’m totally having a moment of clarity: I see how elaborate this invented future has become. But I’m not sure what to do now with all these useless fantasies of our lives together.

I can find solace in the fact there are greater ghost towns in the world than my own, like the Kowloon Walled City in China. I just Googled ghost towns for validation and found this one. It is a creepy landscape of boarded up brothels and casinos, empty opium dens, lifeless food courts and secret factories. According to Wikipedia, the city was torn down in 1993, after the Chinese government deemed it unsanitary, anarchic, and out-of-control. Uhm, yeah, sounds familiar. That’s like, my mind with guys. I need to do the same thing I guess: tear this whole situation down, with the power of my own authority. Otherwise, who knows what kind of weeds might start to grow.


How weird! The cute guy in Accounting, who I kind of forgot about, just passed by my desk and asked how I was feeling. He’s never done that before. He seemed genuinely concerned too, like he could see past my cold and read the turmoil that has gripped my countenance. It’s as if he was relating to my secret pain, with that one look. I think he really gets me. I can’t wait until tomorrow! I wonder what I should wear? Maybe we can get to know each other better. I’m sure I must have something here I could ask for his help with…

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