Closing My Eyes

Dearest Rachel –

I don’t remember where I heard about it – probably in the Readers’ Digest when I was a kid; I spent a lot of time going through my grandparents’ cache of them, with particular emphasis on their monthly features on ‘Laughter, the Best Medicine’ and ‘Toward More Picturesque Speech’ – but there was a couple where the wife, at least, was deaf. The husband had mastered sign language, but I forget whether that was an accommodation or if he was deaf, too; I suppose for the purpose of the story, it didn’t matter that much. The gist of it was that, when they would have an argument, the wife would ‘windmill’ her side of the story… and once she was finished speaking her peace, she would shut her eyes, the conversation effectively over.

You’d think that would be a good time for the husband to rearrange the furniture while she was a vulnerable as Helen Keller, but I don’t recall if he ever worked out – or if he did, he didn’t mention having done so – any suitable retaliatory measures.

Ironically, I feel like taking the wife’s position these days, especially with regard to Ruby and her – well, perhaps incessant isn’t quite the word for it, as she was actually quiet during the workday yesterday – unending text messages, both in terms of the fact that she won’t stop texting, and they go on and on and on.

She continues to insist that we have an emotional and spiritual bond, despite being, at this point, little more than electronic pen friends. A dating relationship (let alone anything deeper than that) doesn’t exist when you’re not actually, y’know, dating. Sure, we’ve talked about certain subjects, so we theoretically know more about each other than any two given random people on the internet know about each other, but what of it? How do I know any of what she’s told me is true? For that matter, how does she know that anything I’ve told her is true? While my profile picture apparently looks like I wouldn’t hurt a fly, how does that mesh with reality?

It’s kind of funny; for all the disputes I’ve been having with Daniel about his current choices in politics and religion, and what he chooses to listen to, last night, as we were finally getting back to watching a few YouTube videos together, he noticed the ‘thrum’ of my phone as Ruby sent message after message, and offered to look up how to block people on Google Hangouts. I’m loathe to actually do so, as apparently this also involves reporting them to Google proper (and do I have proof she’s actually trying to scam me? No, she’s only asking for money, not forcing me to send it to her). Besides, I feel I should respond to her somehow, and let her know that I don’t appreciate this interaction.

But I’ll give her credit for patching up any differences Daniel and I have with each other. It’s amazing, the affinity you can develop when you’re dealing with – and I hate to say it, but it’s all but come to this – a common adversary (‘enemy’ seems too strong just yet).

Similarly, Dad is saying much the same thing as Daniel. Not the part about blocking her, necessarily – he’s not that level of tech savvy, and he’d be the first to acknowledge it – but more about simply running away from her. His approach is to simply appeal to a higher Authority:

The only ·temptation [or trials] that has come to you is ·that which everyone has [L (common to) human life]. But ·you can trust God [God is faithful], who will not permit you to be tempted more than you can stand. But when you are tempted, he will also give you a way to escape so that you will be able to ·stand [endure] it.

I Corinthians 10:13, Expanded Bible

I wouldn’t say that Ruby is any ‘temptation’ to me – although at the moment, ‘trial’ might not be all that far off – but yes, Dad is telling me to make use of any ‘way of escape’ I can, as soon as I can. So, I’ve basically got family on both sides of the generational divide telling me to “Get. Out.”

But I can’t bring myself to say my peace to her and just close my eyes. And so I wind up looking at responses like this:

you are a man, you have brain, you can think, you know what’s good and bad, so why are you listening to others and even want yo leave me in this darkness, we met when none of them is there when we met, And today you are trying to listen to what your parents and friends saying and want to leave me in pains, I am not somebody daughter?

Okay, I did shut my eyes – and sighed – after reading that. Why I am I bothering with this?

At least, it turns out that blocking doesn’t require me to report her to Google, so there’s that. It does remove the entire conversation from the chat app, but it’s still available to refer to in the Hangouts section of Gmail – although you’d be justified in asking me why I’d want to even do that. I could respond by saying that there’s a lesson in every old conversation, and considering your penchant for keeping every scrap of paper, I think you’d at least cut me some slack on that front (not sure about Jan, though – although, since it’s not taking up any physical space, she probably wouldn’t take issue with it, either). If nothing else, her monologuing is full of enough red flags to outfit a May Day parade, and might be a good reference of what to avoid.

I have to admit, as with Naruko, I find myself wondering if she wasn’t a real person, with real needs, and if I’m not abandoning her by doing this. It’s not like I couldn’t help, after all, and as I comment so often, whatever expenditures I make in life seem to pale beside the gains (or losses) in either portfolio you left us.

But I suppose, like with just about everything else in life, there is a time to extend an open hand, and a time to be closed-fisted. I’ve decided (with input from so many others) that this is one of those latter times. I should feel good about this decision.

So why don’t I?

Wish me luck, honey… I think I still need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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