This morning I had a conversation where I caught up with my homegirl, Courtney. Courtney is an undeniable Day 1 friend. I hadn't spoken with Courtney since days after Pete died, when I was an emotional wreck. It was nice to finally check in and update her on things. I'd started by telling her about the actual reason Pete died, Pete's service, and that I was/am finally ready to move on past Fred. Yep, the decade-long tryst is finally over.
Last week, when I met with my former crush James, he made an interesting comment to me. He was kind enough to talk about his flaws in past relationships and man enough to admit to having some fuccboi tendencies (my word, not his) previously. He made a statement that really hit home for how I'd come to view Fred. James said "I used to be that dude who would be with a woman while she was going through stuff. But eventually, they'd look up and realize that all I had to offer was emotional support and dick, and once they no longer needed the emotional support, they realized I wasn't able to bring much else to the table."
I swear as bad as it sounds here, I'm not inferring that Fred was a bad guy. Quite the contrary. Its just that a large part of my attachment to him stemmed from my healing first from David, then from El Cluster Fucko (aka, my son's father). As time went on and as I started to do the necessary work on myself, Fred didn't spark me nearly as much. Sure he's beautiful. We've shared countless memories. The sex was nice. But as I put on my big girl panties, I need more than pretty dick and moments of finesse. I'm wrapping up this master's degree and really ready to shine in life. I want to start businesses and travel. Fred, on the other hand is still figuring out what he wants out of life and exactly how to go about getting it.
I think another part of my being over Fred is that he seems to have set his eyes pretty heavily on one particular lady, and she happens to not be me. The wild thing is that when I met her (odd night that was), she and I shared the same sort of personality. Like seriously, she's weird and outgoing and loves colors just like me. For a good long time I had a hard time believing that Fred had a thing for someone like me, until I met her. That's when I was like "oh shit, he's got a type!"
What brought it to a head for me was my realization that I was propping Fred up so that he could chase her and present a prettier picture of himself to her. Now don't get me wrong, certainly not throwing salt in his game. Shit, that's what dating is- putting forth your best effort to win the affections of the person you desire. I've certainly tried hard to be less... well, less like Malika, but anyone that knows me will tell you that shit only lasts for like 30 minutes. What can I say? I'm hardwired like that. But as I thought back on my previous relationships, I remembered how often I'd held another dude up so that he could present a nicer version of himself to another woman. God knows the hoes my son's father chased didn't know how much his shit stinks (hell, I know for a fact he's fucking around on his current chick), and as much in denial as David was, I certainly held his ass down too. Grown ass Malika just isn't in a space to to play that role for another man. Chase her all you want, but I'll be damned if that's all I'm used for in your life.
With David and my ex, I remember how fucked it felt knowing that I saw their ugly sides, all while they showed the pretty side to other women. Like damn, I get the tears, while these broads get flowers? Nah homie, I'm good. And again, I'm not shitting on Fred, he's just got some steps to take in life. But I'm not going to be the one to look at his ugly side, all while another woman reaps the benefits of my sacrifice.
Needless to say, it brought it all back to Pete for me. The funeral, followed by other things that I'd learned showed me how much Pete cared. He cared enough to hide his inner ugly. A friend of mine happens to be a bit of a seer. I stopped by the internship one day while she was with me. I'd already gushed to her about Pete and I looked forward to seeing what she had to say about him as he approached us. He and I exchanged basic pleasantries and I introduced them, before we went on our way. The moment we walked away from him, I asked her what she saw. Her response didn't make much sense at the time, but her words were "he doesn't want to hurt you." If only I'd known then how much he was really hiding.
I never saw him raise his voice. He'd do simple things like take the trash out of my hands if I was walking it to the trashcan. Even on the days where his mood was below the jovial person I've come to love, he was still pleasant. Shit, I'd already figured he was staying in a halfway house, before he admitted it to me. He'd only left it for 2 weeks when he died. He told me his problems early on, without showing me his flaws. Up until the very end. He never pretended to be perfect. But he definitely cared enough to paint me a pretty picture.