Today, I would have just told him “No” and let that be the end of it. The year was 1997 and I was 26 years old and seven years post high school when I ran into a guy who had harassed me mercilessly during high school. During that time I was lead singer of a band and we were doing a show at a nightclub in Memphis. It was during a fifteen-minute break between sets that I ran into him and I’ll have to admit, he was very charming, displaying the very charm which had allowed him to go undetected and escape accountability all those years ago.
I was cordial to him as I’d been to everyone who had come to watch the band. However, when he asked me out, instead of feeling honored, I felt quite insulted. My first thoughts were:
“You’ve got some nerve, buddy!”
“Do you not remember all the times during school you helped make me feel completely worthless?”
“Do you not remember all the horrible names you called me? All the taunts? The jokes?”
“What make’s you think that I’d be even REMOTELY interested?”
Honestly, I would’ve had to be either stupid or desperate to go on a date with the likes of him and I believed his reasoning for it was one of either three things:
1. It was much safer for him to take me out now that we were out of school and he no longer had to face the old high school clique on a daily basis.
2. He thought I was desperate.
3. He thought I was easy.
This only made me angrier. Then I smiled and said, “Let’s talk about it after the show.”
After the show ended, we talked and I agreed to go on a date with him the following weekend. We agreed to meet at a restaurant in a neighboring town. Only I never showed up.
When he called me the next day and wanted to know why I had stood him up, informing me that he’d waited for over an hour, my response was,
“You don’t know? You don’t remember all the times you made me feel so bad about myself during school? You don’t remember all the horrible names you called me? You don’t remember all the times you joined everyone else in humiliating me during school? You knew I was hurting and you didn’t give a damn! You knew I was dying inside and you didn’t care! Well, how does it feel, buster?” I shouted.
He apologized profusely, over and over again. But at that time, I just wasn’t ready to forgive him.
It was a rotten thing to do to someone, I know. However, at that time, I wasn’t as mature as I am now and I just had to make a point.
It took a while but things worked out in the end. I eventually forgave him and we became close friends.