October 29, 2021:

I had no desire to hurt her. Her clueless, aggressive insistence on ignoring my polite demurrals finally forced me to be blunt. I told her what I felt, and that should have been the end.

Instead I found her one day in her matronly minivan, silent and immobile in the street, gazing longingly and forlornly at my front door, as though desperate for some enraptured middleschool glimpse of her now hopelessly helpless love — a 14-year-old's narcissistic romantic self-pity.

She was in pain. Her husband had died, she raised her girls alone. She had fixated on me to save her from her loneliness. I never asked for that role, and I'd tried in true sincerity to decline it gently. In the end I ripped her head off, which she deserved, and which I've never regretted, although I do truly wish it hadn't had to come to that.