Death of a Nemesis
Posted on October 28, 2009
You know those people who touch our lives? No, no. Not the ones who touch us. That’s a whole different blog. I mean the ones who touch our lives in a non-physical sense. But even beyond that. I mean the ones who touch our lives in a non-physical sense who we wish would go touch a live wire instead, one whipping around on the ground and sparking…lots. Exactly. Those people.
I have been in the unfortunate situation to have a few of those in my life, the majority of them coming from folks who’ve gotten to know Ralph, become enamored with Ralph, consider pursuing Ralph and then suddenly be hit with the realization of the sweet, understanding, kind-heartedness that is moi. It’s like hitting a very solid brick wall for them and one they come to resent me for.
This has happened quite a bit to me during my years with him. Some of these folks learn to adapt, others not so much, others run screaming into the night and a few become belligerent. It’s the belligerent ones who annoy me the most because they just don’t get it. On the flipside, I don’t exactly get them either and the chances of them opening up to where I might understand them a bit better is pretty much nil.
One such individual was someone who knew Ralph where he went to University. They chatted a bit before class for a semester, then the other man’s attention and interest grew. I met this individual after the semester-of-chats and his reaction to me was rather cool in the cold sense…icicles, freezing blizzard. He saw greatness in my Ralph, everybody does, and he saw me as someone who would forever hold the object of our affection back. Also, because he was older than Ralph and I by at least a decade, he believed himself to have a greater understanding of what was good for my guy and what wasn’t, what wasn’t namely being me.
Our acquaintanceship was rocky to say the least. We tried to get along. We honestly did. We saw a couple of films together when Ralph wasn’t available, met for tea/coffee and shared some of our writing. Only it just wasn’t meant to be. I truly believe that there are some people you’re just not ever going to get along with and we were two of those people.
I suspect things went into full-blown Nemesis mode when he approached another friend of Ralph’s and told her that he (Ralph) was going to have to make a decision one day about moving on from me. This struck a nerve not only with the friend, but also with me. Things soured further when he bought Ralph a very expensive ticket for Christmas to see a play where the men in the show stripped naked. I felt it was inappropriate and told him as much. I suggested that if he’d called me and told me what he wanted to do—be open about it with me at least—that I would have told them to have a terrific time. However, considering the nature of the show, his feelings for Ralph and a complete lack of respect for me, I took offense.
Things continued on that downward spiral for a couple of years until Ralph moved away for his first post-college job. Nemesis eventually moved out of state for another job, too, so contact between them was reduced even further to the occasional phone call and birthday or Christmas card Ralph would receive. Nemesis and I had minimal contact, but he seemed genuinely curious when I published my first book, even going so far as to order a copy at the launch, but not have me know it was him (the owner told me anyway). I think he wanted to see if I could surprise him by doing something (in his mind) right.
So, flash forward many years to yesterday morning. I was looking at a picture of Ralph from way back and happened to glance at Nemesis’ Facebook page only to find a number of comments from folks expressing their condolences. It turns out he had a major cardiac event a month ago and passed away in his sleep. I never knew much about him per se, but I did learn that those who knew him always found him to have a wicked sense of humor, be rather cynical, yet wonderfully caring, be a delightful cook and a bit lonely. I guess I’m not surprised by any of it. He didn’t know me any better either, only we never allowed each other to see anything other than what we did.
I may not have agreed with him, agreed with things he did that I mentioned or things I didn’t mention, but I’m glad that if he was going to pass away that he went peacefully in his sleep. I also no longer hold any animosity towards him. Ralph and I are still together, other hardships have come and gone and any bickering between Nemesis and I feels like a low rung in the grand scheme of life. I do know that even if he was still here today, we wouldn’t have gotten along any better. Sad? A little. But perhaps it’s just a reminder of how intricate our relationships can be and how unnecessary some of the drama is that all parties involved can create.
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.