Yesterday, my colleague Paula and I had training for a (pretty cool) new student management system at The Place Where I Work. (Thus why there was no blog post yesterday!)
To make a long story short, the old system we used was based off of 20+ years of database software, and the company who bought it off the really switched-on tertiary education guru who created it decided it was time to retire the software. Because the price increase to their new product was drastic, the change was sudden and not transitional, and the new software didn’t really do half of what we wanted it to do (and it was as clunky as the old software), we decided to change.
We changed to a really good-looking, flexible, reliable student management system with a great team behind it. The owner himself even came down to Christchurch to train us, which was great. We had a wonderful day with him, and he really seemed to enjoy our company.
This man, David, is from the same city as The Man I Once Loved. I don’t know how this came up in conversation, but we spoke about it towards the very start of our conversations when I was researching a new student management system.
And when Paula and I Skyped with him as David demoed his software, hearing the accent made it hard for me because it was extremely familiar.
We had several phone conversations after we agreed to go with his company, and that was fine. It was strange hearing that accent again, and, dear reader, I must make a confession: when David called me to discuss something on The Man I Once Loved’s birthday, I couldn’t handle it. I merely ignored the call, and the message, and dealt with it another day.
So, yesterday was an eerie day for me but also a good day for me.
It was great to meet David in person. Paula, he, and I seemed to get along extremely well, and we had a very excellent training session. Both Paula and I expressed how strongly we felt we made the right choice, and David replied we were easy to teach and he liked working with us.
He looks nothing like The Man I Once Loved other than he too has quite piercing eyes. So when I was talking to him face-to-face, it was easier for me because David wasn’t him. No resemblance so the impact of the accent lessened.
The eerie part was that David was sitting behind me to my side, and he would talk, and I’d hear that accent, and even though the voices are not the same, they were similar, and there were times I struggled to keep going. As a matter of fact, in the afternoon, I was floundering at times, and I have to admit, part of it was hearing that accent behind me.
Midway through the training, I started turning my chair around to face him when he spoke to break that difficulty.
Part of me is excited about this new software and its positive impact it will have on The Place Where I Work. It will help reduce some of my workload in the fact that it captures a lot of data and presents it in nice-looking graphs for me to analyze instead of all the various Excel spreadsheets I have used in the past to gather data in. When we have an audit, or when I need to give everyone a pep-talk with facts and figures, we can then access that program and get some pretty instantaneous results. I’m quite happy about that.
But another part of me is haunted. Yesterday afternoon and part way into the evening, I struggled through not crying at points, because I wanted to text The Man I Once Loved and say, “Hey, guess what happened to me today?” And I guess I’d expect an answer like he would have given me years ago, but that’s unrealistic. What would his answer (if any) look like? Would he even respond? Probably not.
We’re no longer at that point in our relationship. As a matter of fact, we don’t have any sort of relationship.
Plus, the stronger part of me answers that I let him know I wasn’t going to be treated poorly again the way he kept ghosting me, and that last text should remain just that: the last.
It hit a bit harder when, last night in a conversation about David, Noel said that it was sad that The Man I Once Loved and I had a falling out and didn’t speak any more. It was an invitation to talk about it, because I haven’t really spoken to anyone about it, but I clammed up instead. I felt anxiety tightening inside me and tears on the edge of falling at the thought of talking about it.
Before bed, I have a ritual, where I take a few moments in solitude to think on the days events, to wash my face and brush my teeth, and to pray. Last night in that moment, I cried. It welled up and I could feel its strength struggling to erupt, but that part never came.
But it felt good to let that all out just the same, and I slept all the better for it last night.