It’s week #5 of Turn-a-trope Tuesday from the wonderful Woegman’s World of Witty Wonder. This week, it’s Opposites Attract Revenge. I read through the description a few times because the title didn’t seem to match the description. It’s basically a failed relationship where someone ends up with the other’s rival and a battle ensues – think Mary Jane in Spider Man.
I took it rather loosely, but I wanted to go in a slightly different direction. After all, the challenge is to turn the trope on it’s head. So, I give you 986 words:
What She Couldn’t Offer Him
Sophie and James met through mutual friends and while they both recognized that all-too-familiar “something”, it took some time before they dove into any kind of relationship or understanding. All told, it lasted about four years. Four years of happy and sad, back and forth, break-up and get back together; a contemptuous, loving, altogether toxic nightmare.
The core of their relationship was the connection they had – that divine spark so many people believe is out there, spoken of in terms like “soul mate”. It was the only thing that kept them together through it all. Sophie believed the connection was too strong, too rare to let it falter and fade; but there were things, core realities she believed they should have faced from the beginning. She tried, but he always told her he loved her and nothing else mattered.
It wasn’t so much the age difference – he was younger, and while it brought jokes and ribbing from friends and loved ones, it wasn’t a core difference. It was that she had two children and couldn’t have any more. It was that she had been married and divorced and didn’t believe in the institution anymore and was disinclined to try it again. It was that she was angry all the time and all he really wanted was peace and love and attention. It was that he was an only child and had developed “mommy” issues at a young age. As in any relationship, theirs was fraught with tiny “beings” living with them and threatening to tear them apart piece by piece.
Eventually they succeeded.
After three years, they decided to move in together. You know that old saying, the way to truly test any relationship is to live together.
Theirs didn’t stand up to the test.
Sophie had many reasons why she eventually made him leave, but none of them were the core issues she too soon came to realize were what tore them apart. Even after begging and pleading on his part – the soul wrenching entreaties that almost broke her – she stood firm.
The hardest part, for her anyway, was running in the same circles. She knew going into it that if things didn’t work out they couldn’t leave and forget as easily as some. She would always hear about him and of him and while she was sure she had made the right decision, there was a tiny part of her buried deep that remembered their connection.
She was at a party four months after the breakup when she overheard the news.
“Are you going to the wedding?”
“Yeah. It should be interesting. Have you met her yet?”
“No. I’ll probably have to wait until the wedding, at this point. It’s not like they’re giving us a lot of time.”
She was sitting close to them on the couch and couldn’t help but accidentally eavesdrop on their conversation. She was curious and with no one else to talk to, she decided to join in. “Whose wedding?”
They both looked at each other uncomfortably and one of them muttered something and actually got up and left. At that point, Sophie was feeling a bit sick to her stomach because somehow, she knew it was James…
…and it was.
Only four months after declaring undying love to her and begging to take him back, he was getting married to someone else. Even though it was her decision to end things, she still felt betrayed. She left the party soon after even though she said she was fine and it was no big deal. She even said all the right things, she hoped they were happy and of course it was right that they both move on. What else could she do?
And just when she thought she had started to move on and accept that it was really over, only two short months after the marriage news, she heard they were going to have a baby.
Six months in total and he was already living a life completely different than what theirs had been, what he said he was okay living without in order to be with her. She felt angry, betrayed and sad. But who to direct those feelings towards?
She begrudged them their piece of happiness plenty of times in the months to come, but Sophie knew it wasn’t going to somehow magically end their marriage or stop a birth; it only served to make her miserable.
If she was totally honest with herself, it wasn’t his wife so much as it was what she could offer him. While Sophie believed she would have eventually married him if things had improved, she hadn’t been ready at the time. She also had two children above the age of ten and had taken steps to ensure she wouldn’t have any more; but his wife could give him those experiences – walking down the aisle for the first time, having a baby and learning to be parents together.
Was there really anyone to blame? Anyone Sophie could lash out at in order to take the hurt away?
In the end, she realized it wasn’t someone, it was something – an idea; the idea that she couldn’t give him what he needed but someone else could and did. The ironic part was, she had offered him that out in the very beginning and he had chosen to stay for the long, torturous four years that it had lasted.
Did he lie?
Dwelling on a past, failed relationship didn’t offer much beyond more questions and a constant barrage of ugly emotions, but Sophie came to understand that the only way she knew how to exact revenge (if that is what it was) against the idea that she didn’t have enough to offer someone, was to look for and eventually find her own peace and happiness.
And that’s exactly what she did.