3 years later.
Darius sat idly scrolling through his Facebook page, a rare break from his work of studying culture. As he scrolled through his pages, a message notification popped up. He tapped the red circle with a white number 1 and a split second later, a friend invite from an Allison Jones loaded on the screen. The profile featured a picture of her the way he remembered her looking; an older picture from a time shortly before they met. He stared at the screen for a minute and wasn’t sure what to do. Darius was surrounded by a beautifully opulent home. A small mansion really. A very intricate and well-appointed old-fashioned fireplace with a large hearth and a mantle above it filled the center of the wall behind him. The wall above the mantle and the rest of that room was covered in artifacts, part of his collection of rare tokens from different cultures and countries. Memories from Darius’s career that he had gathered over the years. Darius stopped scrolling and stared at the screen, then took a slow, deep breath. He looked around the room at all the things he had accumulated and the house he had built since he divorced from Allison. He thought about their history and about the turbulent feelings and emotions that had broiled between them. Darius knew and appreciated that Allison had respected his request to remain away for two years, and until now, given an extra year beyond the restraining order. She hadn't bothered him until now. Before he accepted the invite, he checked out her Facebook page. Darius was somewhat surprised as he scrolled, finding her page full of positive life affirmations, sayings, motivational things and positive messages. The things that he saw were something very different from the tone he was used to from Allison and their previous relationship. Darius cyber-stalked her for a bit, viewing the occasional photo of an event. Scrolling back to shortly after their divorce, he saw photos of some wild parties and things a little more demented. The further back Darius scrolled on Allison’s Facebook page, the darker the images and content seemed, but it also made him appreciate all-the-more how the images gave an insight into his ex-wife’s state of mind. It really seemed to show that her outlook progressed into something more positive and hopeful. He considered that maybe in the last three years or so, she had grown up.
Darius thought about his next course of action. He thought long and hard.
“It can't hurt.” he decided. “She doesn't even know where I live, so it can't hurt to accept her friend request… It’s just a friend request.”
Darius directed his pointer, and he clicked accept, then breathed a heavy sigh, letting his mind wander to the past.
He was about to go distract himself with something, maybe going to the kitchen and making a sandwich. Even though he lived in an opulent home, he still enjoyed a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Before Darius could get out of his chair, he heard a ding, a tone from his computer. It was a message from Allison.
It simply said "hi."
Darius stared at the screen not knowing what to do. Somehow that one word was loaded with so much potential and so much uncertainty. All he could do after several minutes of staring at that simple word was type in his response.
He typed "hi" and hit send.
Almost immediately, another message came through from Allison that said, “How are you?”
After a minute or two of thinking, Darius decided to go with something as non-threateningly neutral as “I’m doing fine, how are you?”
Again, very quickly the response came back “I’ve been doing well too. I was just thinking of you, I don’t know why but I was just thinking of you and thought I would just say hi”.
Darius thought for a little bit and played through some of the intense emotional interactions that they had during their relationship in his mind. He understood what it was like to have remorse and it was something that he always hoped for from her. Some sort of apology or remorse for the way their relationship ended and how she treated him during the relationship. In all honesty though, he had seen and dated people since their divorce and his subsequent success. He never felt the same passion that he had for her. He thought about what he should say, if he should put up a front, if he should somehow try to rub his success in her face. He decided in the end to just be honest.
His fingers hesitantly typed, “I think of you from time to time too” and sent it back.
A moment later Allison responded with a smiley face emoji.
Darius felt a flood of various emotions going in multiple directions, but decided to simply send back a smiley face as well.
Shortly after, Allison sent a message saying, “Well, it was nice to touch base with you again. I’ve got to run, but I hope you have a good night.”
Darius typed “you too” and felt relieved that he didn’t have to take part in some long, protracted conversation that was going to rehash their relationship.
He closed his laptop and went to the kitchen to make a peanut butter and jam sandwich before he settled in for the evening.
Sandwich in hand, Darius trundled down the stairs to his basement entertainment room. The motion from the kitchen had attracted the attention of a large, tan, Great Dane. The dog had been curled up in the kitchen, next to the central island where he knew the best food was hidden. The Dane’s name was Henry. Henry scuttled down quickly behind Darius and was fast enough to catch a peanut buttery crust that the man tossed over his shoulder absent-mindedly. Darius knew that his companion would be there to catch it. Darius had gotten Henry as a puppy two years ago, the year after his divorce. Darius had named him Henry after a famous inventor. Henry had grown to his massive size within the first year. The canine was incredibly loyal and followed Darius everywhere, well trained to only go where and when he was allowed to go. Darius had built a new house using the money he made from the movie deal he had signed with Penny. The deal had turned the series of books Darius had written about his life and experiences as an anthropologist into a series of adventure movies, bringing in lots of lucrative royalties. Darius wouldn’t have had to continue working in his career if he didn’t want to. He continued his life the same way he would have without the movie deal. Henry followed Darius to the basement entertainment room where Darius turned on the projector mounted on the ceiling that he used as a television. It was one of the few luxuries that he allowed himself after coming into his extra Hollywood money. Darius settled in after pouring himself a glass of Champagne from the mini bar beside his luxurious leather recliner. Henry curled up on the floor at his master’s feet as Darius sunk into the plush seating. Darius looked forward to enjoying his sandwich, his champagne, and the movie he had waiting for him in his blu-ray player. The classic film American Werewolf in London, a true analysis of multiple anthropological studies.
The next morning Darius woke and prepared to go through various notes he had made on a previous trip to New Guinea. As he sifted through pages he heard a tone, this time from his cell phone. He looked at his phone and huffed in exasperation. He knew he should have removed the Facebook app from his phone, it was an inefficient distraction. The app was still there, and it had a big red circle in one corner with the number one on it. Someone had sent or done something on Facebook. He thought, “well I’ll clear this off, and then I’ll get started.” He tapped on the app and it opened up, revealing that his ex, Allison had liked a previous post that he made, sharing an article from National Geographic regarding tribal society that he was interested in. He grinned a little bit and held back the feeling to almost be awkward about the interaction with the ex-wife that he was happy to be rid of. He was happy to be rid of her when it happened. He had no regrets about leaving that situation. In the pit of his gut and recesses of his mind, he really started to remember what had happened when they were together. He became anxious. He had allowed this person to communicate with him, to be back in his life after a series of horrible events. He had even been warned from a psychiatrist that Allison displayed classic sociopathic behavior and that his very life could be in danger if he continued to stay with her. He had a sudden flush of embarrassment and anxiety.
He panicked and thought, “Why did I let this person talk to me. Why did I accept that friend request? What if she goes completely insane?”
He thought about all the positive stuff, the affirmations, about all the things he’d seen on her Facebook page. She was a different person than he remembered her being, but that didn’t change his mind that much after 3 years. It was a disturbing question.
While he sat there looking at the page, a message came up that simply said, “I need to talk to you.”
Darius breathed in and sighed heavily.
He thought “well if this is going to blow up again, it's better that I deal with it now instead of avoiding it.”
He typed back “ok.”
Moments later he received a message and it read as such “I’ve been wanting to tell you for a long time how sorry I am. I want you to know that you didn’t deserve what I did to you and you didn’t deserve what happened to us. It was my fault, and I didn’t take responsibility for it. I am really sorry, and I’ve been doing a lot of work with a psychotherapist and getting all the treatment I can to try to get my life back in order and get my head straight. It was never your fault. You didn’t deserve any of it. I just wanted you to know that. I’m really sorry for hurting you the way that I did.”
They were the words that Darius always hoped he would hear. He had hoped he would hear them when they were together. Before the point where they needed to get divorced. They were the words that he had hoped he would always hear from her and had given up hope that he ever would. They were the words that could have fixed everything when they were married if he had heard them come from her mouth. Now he was finally seeing those words on the screen in front of him. He didn’t know what to say. He decided to stick with the honesty he had been using the night before.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish