There was nothing he could have said that wouldn't have crawled under my skin and set up shop. But I have to hand it to him. He managed to find the one thing. The one thing to say that would make all other obnoxious things pale in comparison.
"I knew she'd get married."
Not "Congratulations", which he wouldn't have meant. Not "To who?", though he wouldn't have cared about the answer. Not "I'm glad she's found some happiness", which would have disproved the glaring reality that he has no soul.
Just snidely, "I knew she'd get married."
Why'd ya sing with me at all?
There are people who come in and out of our lives. Despite their reasons for coming and going, once they are gone they tend to stay gone.
Then there are others.
The people who come into our lives. Wreak havoc. Leave. But linger.
Linger through random encounters.
Linger through mutual friends.
Linger through coincidence.
And continue their original mission for being in our lives in the first place.
To make us as miserable as they are.
I am surrounded by people who are good at letting things roll off their backs. Inconsequential people are just that to them. Inconsequential. They don't care what obnoxious people think or say. They accept that there are jerks in the world and then go on with their day.
I am not one of these people.
I internalize everything. I turn every snide remark over and over and over in my mind until all the flavor is gone. Even then I don't spit it out. I swallow it. I rehearse the things I would say should I meet this person face to face again. Go over my mental flashcards to make sure that I have not forgotten any relevant points in my campaign to make the person realize what a vile human being they are. How unfair they are. Why they should be sorry. Why "I knew she'd get married" is such a wildly inappropriate thing to say, in light of all they've done to me.
But, sadly, it doesn't matter.
Because the only thing more unlikely than me being in the same room with this person is me saying anything that would make a difference. If he cared, he wouldn't have done what he did. If my feelings mattered, he wouldn't continue to say things about me to people he knows will pass it along. If he said he was sorry, I wouldn't believe him.
"I can compartmentalize things," he used to say to me. "I put everybody and everything in its own compartment. That's how I get through the day."
He was an imposter when I knew him. Now he is just a virus. A contaminate.
Worst of all, I am letting him win by giving him a second thought. I am blessed to have many people in my life who truly care about me and have my best interest at heart. Their opinions, thoughts, feelings...they are all that matter.
Not some schmuck who will, at best, die in a "compartment" of regret. If he's lucky enough to be given the gift of clarity. And redemption.
In the meantime, I am seeking out the gift of letting go. Letting go of anger. Letting go of false control. Letting go of grudges. Letting go of the bitterness. Just, letting it go.
Maybe then when the "I knew she'd get married" comments come my way, I can just smile quietly to myself. And walk on.