Imagine a falling-out. The details can be whatever you'd like so long as one is this: the falling-out climaxes with the intention of never talking to that other person ever again. Now let's say that through a remarkable feat of willpower, you are able to carry out that intention. They are gone, you have said your peace, and you have wiped your hands clean. Minus a few bumps in the road of memory you are able to move forward. Months go by and that person isn't even a thought. Even the sight of their picture (a thumbnail on a Facebook thread, perhaps) isn't enough to insight any curiosity. The sting you were expecting to feel doesn't come. Their hair may be different, they are with a new group of friends, it doesn't matter. They are there, and you are here. You are complete strangers with a past.
It is five months later. They give you a call – drunk, of course, because that is their way (not that you are any better). They talk at length about their new life, their new job, and how they felt they had to talk to you about [something]. It seems like an excuse. You are open about not buying their reasoning:Why the fuck did you call me? They resist the probe. You break up their long-winded drunkery with monosyllabic retorts.
"I can tell you hate me," they say.
You think about it for a second. You don't hate them. You probably don't hate much. Hate is a difficult thing to achieve. In fact, you don't seem to feel anything. Yet, you remain on the phone. For some reason it feels better than just hanging up. The relationship is an impossibility, but you remember how it felt months ago, when that impossibility was exciting, because into that futility you bred false romance, and counterfeited hope. You were probably just bored, and so were they. You were able to exercise what you thought to be real emotions, and in that practice you felt invigorated. You felt complete. You needed it. You knew they would never be with you and that eventually it would all crumble, but that didn't matter. All the promises of love, leaving, and fucking would pile up. It would be over in a matter of days.
Now, they're on the phone, and they think you hate them. Why now? What difference does it make? They're just a ghost with a voice. They have probably hit a point of unhappiness or become a temporary malcontent. You were once the medicine for those afflictions. It is not a role you will adopt again.
"Whatever, you can hate me, that's fine..."
They continue. You have no response. Their diction deteriorates by the second. The voice stops. The hiss of the phone fades. Silence. For a moment you think you passed something up: the excitement, the drama, the dirty, inappropriate things. You get over it quick.
But, still: why would they call?
"The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference." – Elie Wiesel