‘Dear’ in the Headlights

Dearest Rachel –

I have to confess that I’ve all but given up on watching Doctor Who any longer. Not because it’s ‘gone woke,’ like some people claim. Heck, I’ve enjoyed Jody Whittaker’s distaff take on the role: she comes across as the team mom for a fairly crowded TARDIS, much like Peter Davison’s Fifth, along with an admiration of humanity that David Tennant’s Tenth had. No, I’ve set it aside because it was you that got me into it, and with you gone, there’s nothing particularly about it to keep me watching.

Indeed, thanks to the internet and YouTube, I don’t know if I have the attention span to get into a television series anymore. I’m sure you were starting to get mildly frustrated with Daniel and I as it was; we would collect a season’s worth of episodes, and not get around to it until weeks or even months later. It began to feel almost like a requirement to watch it by a certain point – and, like with chocolate, when you sense an obligation to consume it, it takes so much of the enjoyment out of it. For what it’s worth, you – we – were caught up with all the episodes as of the time of the accident; whether there has been anything more released since then (and I kind of assume there has been, although with the restrictions on everything during the pandemic, who’s to say whether production was delayed by a year or not?) I couldn’t tell you.

But if you’ll allow me, I find myself going back a few Doctors, and considering the Tenth’s reaction to a character greeting him with…

Now, in fairness to the Doctor, this is the sort of thing you’ll have to deal with from time to time: sometimes, your past shows up in your future, and vice versa. The Seventh is known to have been mildly irritated at being recognized as Merlin by an Arthurian knight; it meant a bit of his future was being revealed to him out of order (and he was fated to take on the role of Arthur’s magical advisor someday, whether he wanted to or not). But to be confronted with a term of endearment from a woman he currently wouldn’t know from Eve herself… well, that’s a bit of destiny that will shake any man.

Of course, unlike him, we all travel in the fourth dimension at the same rate as everyone else, so it’s not like this is an issue any of us will ever face. And yet…

There are some out here in the ether that seem to think that unsolicited terms of endearment are just the sort of things we want to hear from a relative stranger. To be sure, it might be somewhat expected from a dating site: we’re all out here looking for a specific (and specifically close) type of connection, after all. But there is a certain point at which it’s just too soon to assume such a level of intimacy. And yes, I realize it’s not a very deep level at that, but a few hours – or even a few days – into a text conversation isn’t sufficient to say you’ve earned the right to call me ‘dear.’ That’s the surest way to invoke my ‘fight, flight or freeze’ instinct.

Mostly ‘freeze,’ since I literally don’t know how to react to that with anything other than suspicion. Even as it sets off warning bells in the back of my mind, I find myself extending the benefit of the doubt at first. It may have been a lapse of judgement, it may have been just a slip of the tongue, or even an expression of hope for a certain enhanced level of familiarity. I try to let it slide, but it’s the first of so many potential red flags. Ruby used a variety of such terms, and we all know where that went. Naruko and E.C. were a bit more sparing, but they were part of their way of addressing me. While Naruko ultimately flamed out, the jury is technically still out on E.C.; I’m half-expecting some outrageous request in order to convince and facilitate her to return to America any day now.

With that being said, I have to admit to a certain amount of relief in meeting Yvonne. She doesn’t use any term of endearment when addressing me – and when we’re on the phone, it’s like talking to a… well, maybe not an old friend, but certainly a friendly voice. Granted, her texts can get a little intimidating, even the small ones – last night, she started the conversion with “my heart dances with joy when I think about you,” and I find myself feeling guilty that my suspicious mind won’t allow me to honestly respond in kind – but by and large, she’s not jumping into excess familiarity all at once. I’m actually looking forward to the time when she decides to, at this point.

Until then, honey, wish me luck. I’m going to need it.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

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

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