I wrote about Jennifer Ball’s blog post, Haunted (By) Houses, a few months ago. One of the things that people have said to her apparently is the title phrase, “He’s moved on, Jenny. Why can’t you?”
That phrase has stuck in my head. I don’t always express myself concisely or as eloquently as I wish the first time around but after ruminating on this blasted phrase for a while I finally figured it out in the shower this morning.
They didn’t have the same experience! It’s not just that he had someone else, ready and waiting. It’s not just that life went on for him as normal. The entire experience was completely different for each of them. He firebombed her life! He cheated on her. He tricked her into getting sterilized. And then he left her and their four kids in poverty and went on to live a life of luxury with his ho-worker and their own two mulligans. He had nothing to get over.
They were not both in a car accident and horribly maimed; he didn’t get on with his life, learning to live this new reality while she continued limping around, hanging on to the memories of pre-accident Jenny. No, he was the one in the damn car running her over!
It would be like someone running over my dog, and then mutual friends saying to me, “Look, that person has moved on after running over your dog. He’s not living in the past. He’s gotten on with his life. In fact, he’s got an adorable dog now. Plus, he’s got a cat. And some chickens. I don’t understand why you can’t move on and forgive and forget.”
Oh really? Let me tell you why. It’s not the same! I didn’t run over his dog. He ran over mine. We’re not on equal footing; we did not suffer the same loss. This person has done something to me; he’s taken something from me. I have done nothing to him; I have not taken anything from him.
Jenny, if you ever read this I have a suggestion. The next time someone makes that comment punch them in the nose ever so slightly. Just enough to make their eyes water. Or maybe poke them in the eye. And when they react with shock, or cry, or ask you why you did that just shrug your shoulders and reply, “I’m already over it. Why aren’t you?”