7. His hair was in a braid

The next day dave showed up.

He looked very thin and kind of old. My heart went out to him but then I noticed that his hair was in a braid. Obviously he hadn’t done that himself. It brought me back to reality.

I just went in my room.

He went in what had been his office. His computer was there but nothing else was as he left it.  He showed no reaction.

He asked me if I knew where his computer glasses were. I was standing in the doorway of my room I couldn’t even talk because I was crying. Tears were streaming down my face. Not only didn’t he make reference to it, he didn’t move towards me or show any reaction at all. He kept talking about his glasses. He turned and went back into the office

“A Stranger With the Face of My Best Friend”.

On one of his visits he told me she was leaving on the 19th and he was leaving for the tour on the 20th so he’d like to spend that night here.

I said ok.

On another day I asked him where he was staying now.

“On 37th street”

The only way I can describe the smile on his face was ‘conspiratorial’ as if we were both sharing a bummer

“The room is so small you can barely move in it. We share a bathroom!”

His eyebrows went up “and it still costs $1000 a week!”

I knew he wanted me to sympathize with him because he and his squeeze were crowded.

I just stared at him.

On another of the days he told me he had a scary symptom. I’ll save you from knowing what it was. I pooh poohed it. He said if it didn’t improve he would go to the doctor when he got back. That seemed soon enough to me.

Unfortunately it cleared up. I know because every time he saw me he kept me informed of the condition of his ‘situation’.

I asked him how he was feeling, meaning physically. He answered;

“I feel bad about hurting you but very happy about my decision”

There was that knife again.

A few days before the girl left he said “When I come over on the 19th can we go out to dinner or should I eat before I come?”

“I don’t know”

“Ok, we’ll see”

Just as he was closing the door, I panicked.

I said “We can go out to dinner”

He smiled that creepy smile and said “I’ll pay”

After he left I felt ashamed of myself, wondering what someone would have to do to me to give me a backbone.

Later that day I sent him an email with “I changed my mind” on the subject line. It said:

Dave

I hope you understand but I can’t have dinner with you on the 19th.

I feel like a fool that I even contemplated it.

We are not friends.

Mattie

I pressed ‘send’ before I could think about it and was relieved to see that I immediately felt better.

At first he sent back his new usual:

“I understand”

A few days later he followed it up with;

“I’m the one who was foolish. What would we talk about?”

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