I struggled for a while with whether I should write this letter. I have come to the conclusion that I can write it but I cannot post it to you. Or send it to you on Facebook. I’ve had a look at you, looked at pictures of your poor unassuming face. I mean, I assume you don’t know, because if you did why would you stay with a man like that? You look so happy together, but does your smile tell a lie?
Now Simone, you may be wondering who I am, I assume you’re reading this and haven’t skipped ahead to my signature. You may well do that now that I have mentioned it but really, my name won’t mean anything to you. So you will need this introduction. You see Simone, I know you and I’d put money on the fact that you don’t even know I exist. For your sake I hope that you don’t. Sorry to ruin that all now if you’ve found this letter lurking on the internet. But there are many women named Simone. Is this really intended for you? Have I got the right Simone reading this. That’s for you to judge, I’ll leave you some clues throughout this letter and then you can decide whether X marks the spot so to speak. Simone I’m the woman that you never wanted to exist. In fact, I’m really a girl; does that make it worse?
I’ll tell you how this is going to work, I’ll give you all the information you need, ask you some questions and tell you once again how truly sorry I am that I had to write this letter. But please, in my defence, I have suffered internally for too long. I need to get it out or I’ll off myself. Simone really you’re the only one who can help me. Who can put a stop to anything like this happening again. You may not want to help me, to be honest this isn’t for me, I am beyond your help. This is for the others, of whom I hope there will be none. I also hope that none came before me.
So I’ll give you a time-frame to set the scene, or to at least help to. I’m afraid it’s going to be hazy because I don’t know the full details of it all. I never thought to ask. I never wanted or needed that much detail. You may have noticed some changes in July or August of 2019, perhaps a few more in November 2019. Definitely something in December? By January 2020 you must have known that something was going on, did you ever ask yourself why your partner suddenly needed to leave a company that he had been perfectly happy working for for 12 years? What did he tell you I wonder? Not the truth I’d imagine. He didn’t tell anyone except me the truth. I told our boss eventually but that was confidential. B told me that I had to tell him because what happened was inappropriate. The head of the business knew too as this case had the potential to be serious. Did he tell you any of that? I guess not because I don’t know if he knew.
20th December 2019, well, technically the 21st because it was gone midnight. We’d all been out for the Christmas Party. We drank, some of them smoked but we all drank. So much alcohol. Not too much though. But enough to make my memories hazy and messages read differently. I didn’t know what to say. I thought he was just being nice. But then the extra touching and the weird hand holding made sense. He had feelings for me and that was when my world ended. Splinters of my remaining innocence were chipped away.
I texted A. I didn’t know what to say. What to do. Was I being overly dramatic? But the unshockable A was outraged and as I said, the laid back, jokey B became serious and told me that I had to tell the boss. Simone I’m so sorry. I was creeped out. He had recently joined my department, just 18 days prior to the party. I liked him as a colleague, I was so excited when he joined my team. Suddenly I didn’t want to go back to my job. I was going to call in sick on the 23rd. Maybe cry off on the 24th. I didn’t want to see him. I was one of the only 2 who didn’t join in the Christmas Quiz because I couldn’t bear to be closer than him than I had to. I considered quitting my job.
At that point only A knew. I wanted to talk to R but what would that achieve? I told him later and words along the line of ‘Holy Crap’ blinked at me from my screen. Maybe they were a bit stronger. I went in. I dealt with crap, holy or not. Of course he had to be the one to be my Secret Santa. I use his practical gifts to try and face my fears but I can’t wear the socks. They feel too intimate.
I digress Simone. I left on the 24th December for the holidays. I came back on the 27th but worked from home, he wasn’t in that day. I didn’t speak to him until he wished me a Happy New Year. This was when things fell spectacularly to pieces. He told me that he was quitting his job because of his feelings for me. He said that we were unable to be just colleagues. I was shocked, I felt sick. He felt that strongly about me and I had no idea. Follow on the fight with my boyfriend about why I was being weird and what was the reason for me suddenly bursting into tears. Then the panic surged in. I was sure this was going to get out, get round the office. I would be the slut, the harlot. Everyone liked him. Loved him. This was not how I envisioned the start of 2020, a panic attack and someone who was once my friend causing me to contemplate suicide.
But as I said, B made me tell the boss. I only told B because I didn’t want to sit next to G, to be closer to him than I had to ever again. But I had to tell B why. He then told me to tell the boss. Things were said, measures were put in place and G never knew a thing. It still makes me feel sick thinking about it. It makes my skin crawl and makes me feel that I’m so dirty I’ll never be clean again.
A couple of weeks ago I found out something that makes everything worse Simone, you two have been together for as long as my parents have been married, years longer than I’ve been alive. It made me feel even worse, I thought I was a fleeting fancy, something that made his eyes stray even in the throes of a new relationship. I didn’t realise you’ve been together for a quarter of a century.
There’s more that I want to say to you Simone, more that I have to tell you but I just can’t face it. This letter has taken me days to write, I keep flicking back and forth, it pains me to write it.
Let me just finish by saying this. Simone I am so sorry, I never wanted this to happen, I never did anything to indicate to him that I wanted him, that I liked him as anything more than a colleague. I am so sorry Simone, I never wanted to exist in this capacity. I don’t want to exist as G’s fantasy anymore than you want me to exist. I’m sorry Simone, but you needed to know.