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Monday, December 19, 2005


Write about finding something unexpected...

I wonder what his face will look like when he opens that envelope to find the money order for $10,000.  He won't have any idea that it was from me; I made sure of that.

We broke up six months ago.  I'm almost over him, but I still care.  Probably too much.  It's just that he had always seemed so needy;  I worried about how he was getting by without someone to love him.  Take care of him. 

It seemed innocent enough at first.  He'd lived in my apartment for three years and we'd shared everything.  We'd had a joint bank account even though neither of us was ever very good with money.  That was probably one of the things that broke us up.

When we'd first met I'd loved his insouciance and sense of fun.  Everyone I'd ever dated before had been so stuffy and obsessed with details, but I guess that comes from dating bankers.  I work in a bank, and though I'm not naturally the "banker-type," some of that practicality has rubbed off on me through the years.  And thank God for that.  My dad used to always say that I needed to marry some old rich guy who'd take care of me and tame my wild side but that hasn't happened yet. 

So when Matt walked into my bank and flashed that devilish smile as I handed him his cash, I was a goner.  I could see his bank balance right there in front of me; I knew that he was taking out his last $100 and was leaving behind a grand total of $3.71 but he didn't even flinch or look anxious a bit.  This is a wonderful quality in a date, but it gets old in a live-in boyfriend.

In the beginning it was all about going out for coffee and pastries on Saturday mornings.  Or out for Chinese food on Thursdays.  And if I brought home some expensive French wine one night just because I felt like kicking back and softening the edges a little bit, he never once made me feel that I should have economized, no matter how low our balance was.

But he was like an overgrown little boy.  He'd rush out and buy some gadget that he "just had to have," like an iPod or a recordable DVD player or a flat-screen TV, even when our old MP3 player worked just fine and we hadn't even been using it for months, or when our clunky DVD/VCR combo worked just fine (even if it wasn't as sleek and sexy as the new machine) or when we already had two, albeit round-screen, TVs in our tiny apartment and how could two people possibly watch three TVs?

But he was fun.  We were happy for awhile, before the stress of always being down to our last few dollars got to us.  He'd decided that he wanted to finally live his dream and go to massage school, but we had neither the money or the credit to py for that.  He became more and more depressed and frustrated because he couldn't do what he wanted to do with his life, so as compensation he'd buy his new toys and his daily lattes, further ensuring that he couldn't afford to do what he dreamed of.  Then he started drinking.  That's when I kicked him out.

It broke my heart for a few months.  I still hurt, but it's getting better every day.  Then I had the idea of looking into his bank account at work and I started monitoring his expenses.  At first it was a sick need to try to figure out if there was someone else in his life yet.  I knew him so well that I could tell by the Friday-night video rental charges and also by the amounts of his daily (especially Saturday morning) coffee purchases that he wasn't in a new relationship yet. 

I knew that this was sick (and totally unethical as well as illegal) but I couldn't stop myself.  And after I'd been doing this for some time it didn't seem quite so appalling when I took it further and peeked one day into his email account.  It was the account that we'd used to share but I had gotten a new one.  Actually, I can't believe it took me so long to think up this idea.  Here I'd been doing it the hard way, trying to glean from his expenses whether or not he had moved on romantically when it was so easy to read his correspondence with friends and family.

What I read there made me worry.  He was still drinking too much and depressed.  He was still despairing over being able to afford massage school.  I read several messages from the school which clearly stated that he did not qualify for either a loan or financial aid of any sort, and I read his increasingly despondent reactions to these messages as he kept people updated.

Now, this whole time I'd been getting my own act together.  Oh, obviously not my mental or emotional one, you don't need to tell me that.  But my financial house was in order.  I'd tightened my belt, stopped splurging on indulgences.  Since I'd taken to nagging at Matt in our final weeks together, I guess I wanted to prove that I'd really had something to nag about.  I wanted to show that without him, I was capable of saving money.

I read that the tuition for massage school was just shy of $10K.  I happened to have just that much.  I probably shouldn't be giving this man my entire savings, but I'd loved him.  Still love him.  And I'd proven to myself that I really could save up this much money!  This could be looked at as a temporary set-back; I'd be able to save up that much in another six months.

And yes, I suppose that deep down I was thinking that once Matt got his life back on track, went to massage school and was doing what he wanted to do and making good money at it, maybe we could try things again.  Seems so wide-eyed and delusional now but I really didn't even admit this hope to myself. 

I made out a money order at work and then slipped it into an envelope.  I'd arranged to send it first to my sister in Texas, who would then send it from there.  Matt would have no idea who in Texas could be sending him this money.  My sister had only just moved out there the month before, and even if he had somehow gotten wind of it through the grapevine, he'd never think that she would do that.  And he'd never expect me to have that kind of money.

He gets the money.  Does he figure it out?  Do they ever get back together?  Does he waste the money?  Does she find out that he has found someone new?  Does he find out that she was basically cyber-stalking him?  Is he mad? 

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