Justification

I forget how good I have it and that the lines I make outwards come with major bonuses like neighbors with knowledge and expertise I don’t have. People who will take a few hours out of their day to console and counsel someone they see as a surrogate daughter. He’s right I can pull full brakes on a tit for tat, pain for pain. I should have stopped and just let it go. I refuse to repeat the mistakes of our parents, loving someone but incapable of communication, blinded by the small stuff and losing sight of the things that actually matter. I lost Stitch in a day and I’ve lost 5 years of my time with someone I love and that will just be. Going forward, I’ll still be available to listen, to talk should it be needed. I can love you without having you because bitterness was never my strong suit ❤

Bob* and Jane* – name change

Bob: “It’s been a while since my law classes but the Internet is the Wild West right now and I’m always telling my boys that it doesn’t matter what you think the privacy laws are, at lot of states simply don’t have many or, some not at all, concrete cases that bridge virtual communication and established law. Once it’s out there, the Internet is forever and people have had their lives ruined over frivolous nonsense that they shoot off the hip. I’m not saying your relationship and some of the mean things your ex has done are fluff but I’ve, we’ve ,known you since you were 10, 11…”

Me: “11.”

Bob: “And you’re how old now? Wait, I know this… Frankie’s wedding was 2001… 30??”

Me: “Close, I’ll be 32 in a few months.”

Bob: “Oh honey, we’ve known you for more than 2/3’s of your life! And you’ve blossomed beautifully! Me and Jane used to get a kick out of watching the little kids trail you like baby chicks and then, at the block parties, the boys follow you and you never noticed! Even now, heads turn and cars stop when you walk Stitch…”

Me: “No more Stitch.”

BIG HUG

Bob: “Sweetheart, it’s okay to cry! You know I’ve never seen you cry? That’s why I came over: it was like believing angels exist and then seeing one and now… it hurts (bad analogy). Listen, the point is that… I don’t think you know how radiant you really are. Life’s thrown you some awful fastballs and you’ve conducted yourself so admirably. Don’t hang your head, hey, look at me. Anyone, especially a boyfriend, knows what they’ll lose when they lose you and it’s not going to go over well.”

Me: “But I didn’t…”

Bob: “It doesn’t matter who did the breaking up! The fact is they lose a very strong young woman, with the tenacity to keep loving, to keep believing that there’s a lot of good in this world no matter how many times she’s struck down. Don’t shake your head no at me! I’ve got 35 more years on you and I’ve seen and gone through a lot – I nearly lost my wife and I don’t even want to think about what would have happened to me. But you, you go out of your way to help people, whether you’re healthy, sick, busy and not and you don’t give up on them. Though I’m sure you’ve had to make hard decisions like which friends to keep and which to let go before. I know it’s a hard thing for you to understand when someone fails you or gives up on you; problem-solvers don’t know when to give up and that’s what you are. It’s an easy thing to give up, to destroy and breakdown than it is to weather through the hard times. And if you don’t believe me on any of this, but you better, I’m just playing. There’s that smile! I think you know how sinking to your ex’s level will hurt you because that’s not the type of person you are. I know losing a loving and kind maternal figure is rough and I can imagine having his mom was a… a salve… kind of to your mom. Susie is a tough cookie but you should understand that she’s hardest on you because you’re her daughter and it’s hard for any parent to be unable to protect their children, to take away pain that no painkiller could. Does your mom and dad know? Or did they not know you had a boyfriend?”

Me: “They knew about Beck. Only mom knows about our break up.”

Bob: “Did they like him?”

Me: “Yes, mom especially.”

Bob: “Have you not told your dad because you’re afraid of his reaction? I know if we had a daughter, the intensity of her heartache would equal the amount of pain anyone who broke her heart would feel.”

Me: “No, I don’t think he knows how to handle the mushy-girl stuff and leaves it to mom.”

Bob: “I might have had to do the same… do you still love him? Your ex?”

Me: “Yes, but I don’t think it was ever enough for him.”

Bob: “Ah, so I’m starting to get why you want to get him where he got you. Do you want to, actually, first was or is your secret so cumbersome that you’re ashamed or afraid you can’t be forgiven if someone knew?”

Me: “My control over it was my coping mechanism… and without that, the burden is playing out all over again, the pain is fresh.”

Bob: “That bad, huh? Have you talked to professionals or anyone in authority?”

Me: “Yes and I’d rather not elaborate on it anymore, if that’s okay with you. I’m sorry.”

Bob: “Absolutely, sweetheart. I want you to feel comfortable and that you can trust me. Let me summarize what I know: your ex broke up with you over a messaging service, can I ask why? Cause that just seems so off and impersonal if you were together for 5 years or is that just something you Millennials do now?”

Me: “It was just a platform we happened to be using at that moment.”

Bob: “Jane would have killed me if I tried to break up with her over the phone! I.., moving on, he breaks up with you, tells you he’ll be throwing out your things if you don’t go get them, hence, you go get them. It’s not until you’re home, or a few days later, right? You realize there are things missing that you do want back, you email him, he just gets more mad because he thinks you’re manipulating or baiting him, into?”‘

Me: “Another fight, an actual discussion/closure, whatever – I can’t tell you because I don’t know where… I just don’t know.”

Bob: “Ookay, do you at least know if your property has actually been thrown out or destroyed? Because it doesn’t matter that he “allowed you to get your things” – nobody has the right to sell, destroy, dispose of or withhold someone else’s property that I clearly remember. Are you sure?”

Me: “No, but I have to assume he did. Both of us believe words still have meanings and reading conjecture into anything is foolhardy.”

Bob: “Wise, of both of you. He’s a smart guy? Other than giving you up that is.”

Me: “Yes. Very intelligent.”

Bob: “Hmm, something doesn’t add up. Was money a motivation or problem that selling your things would be seen as profitable to him?”

Me: “The only value was sentimentality…”

Bob: “I’m letting you slide on that for now because that’s a lawyer answer and not a good thing.”

Me: =oD

Bob: “Back to… okay, what was his response to your email? phone call?”

Me: “That he was blocking all communication, no definitive answer even to my offer of mailing out a self addressed bubble mailer thing.”

Bob: “What are you holding back about all this? There are some serious detail gaps in your story. Smart, and you say mature, men don’t break off long term relationships so stupidly, cut off communication, re-open it to say get your stuff and yes, you can keep in touch with my family or mother because it won’t bother him, refuse to talk/respond while you’re there, then go behind your back to instruct his mother not to keep in touch with you when you inform him of miscellaneous items! It’s not logical. What aren’t you telling me?”

Me: “I’m trying to avoid bias, in a nutshell and you know how messy the lines become once family ties are formed. I’m not sure when he told his mom/family to break contact, but about 2 weeks ago, was the last I heard from his mom. We had somewhere like a two or more hour phone conversation and it was only towards the end that I realized Beck could over hear. I thought the echoes in the background were from the kitchen. She essentially gave me carte blanche to date, to do what makes me happy and not wait for her son (which I was).”

Bob: “Do they have a good relationship, him and his mom?”

Me: “Do I have a good relationship with my mom?”

Bob: “Ha ha, good point. Family is a strange beast and more of a survival test than protection. Your date, did you go?”

Me: “Not to the first date he asked, but I did meet him at Starbucks after getting the go-ahead.”

Bob: “How did you meet this new guy? And what do you mean first date? You stood him up?”

Me: “A friend of Collin’s family. He apparently saw me at Collin’s sister’s baby shower a couple years back and I didn’t stand him up as much as cancel all together. It didn’t feel right though I needed a distraction badly.”

Bob: “Was he Chinese and what happened when you did show up?”

Me: “No, Irish-Italian. We talked for about an hour. He’s closer to 40, an RN and he wants to get married, start a family and I can’t move that fast. Well, not like this anyway.”

Bob: “See what I mean about people noticing you even when you’re oblivious? I take it there hasn’t been a second date, yet?”

Me: “Not with him. I met a different guy Labor Day weekend while I was in the city and there was a physical draw but I couldn’t seal that deal.”

Bob: “Daiissssisy, don’t step onto that route. If you’re not ready, don’t force yourself to date or to try to find something in the physical sense. I’m sure heartache is on your mind and your age group thinks it can have NSA sex but the truth is sex comes with a price, now or later, the bill will arrive. I think I have a clearer picture now and why you feel justified settling quid pro quo, secret for secret. You didn’t make sense when I found you and there are parts to this story that still don’t but do me a favor and just sit on whatever action you want to take. I’ll call colleagues and ask around. You said you spoke with a cousin in NYPD and he’s talking to detectives about similar cases that cropped up?”

Me: “Yeah and another friend who practices law about Internet privacy and as it stands, AIM’s TOS is a surrender of privacy. I was/am chiefly concerned with, not so much actual litigation but the protections to put in place? Like what is the explicit language of whatever law/mandate in this area and what are my rights down that avenue should I decide to take action.”

Bob: “A lot of dot com companies are covering their asses like that, especially ones dealing with social media. Give me until Monday when I’m sure you’ll have calmed down to your usual self. Don’t do anything you’ll regret, not because of your ex or what he threatens, but for you, sweetie. Our conduct defines us as people. The way we treat others, the ones we love, it matters as much as the meaning of words that you cherish so much. Keep your chin up, I’ll see you soon, okay?”

Me: “Yes’m”

Bob: Now, do you want me to walk you home?”

Me: “No, thank you mister. My mom and dad said I’m allowed to cross the street alllll by myself.”

Bob: “There’s the girl I know, bye!”

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