Once I hated a girl

I hated a girl once. I almost got eaten alive by my hate for her, until at long last we parted ways forever.

We worked together for two years. I was 23, just out of college. She, too, was 23, just starting out, like me. We first met at orientation on our shared first day. Looking back on it, we had more similarities than differences.

She was startlingly beautiful. She had the kind of looks that made you want to stop and stare at her. She had long silky black curls, large eyes, delicate features. She was small, but strong. She exercised religiously, ate nothing. Her body was incredibly sexy. She had tons of cute clothes. She was Jewish — the real kind, not my sorta kind. She was unattached, no husband, no boyfriend, no girlfriend. She lived in the city with roommates.

She talked, at length, on her phone in her cubicle across from mine. She talked about her exercise schedule, about her dates, about her trips to museums by herself. She flirted shamelessly with my boss.

Now, let me explain something. I flirted with my boss, too. He was just a little older, funny, and hot. But I did it guiltily. I was already engaged. Back then faithfulness was a primary concern of mine. Plus, this was my boss, not hers. She was just removed enough to be able to do as she liked. They bonded over workout tales.

Everything about her ate at my soul. She was the me I wanted to be in so many ways. And she was interesting to me. I wanted her as a friend, as a more-than friend. At the time I didn’t, couldn’t, know it. I only felt, I couldn’t think. My jealousy of her, my envy for what she had made me hate everything about her.

Did she hate me, too? I think so. I think we both exuded a vibe that repelled the other. Perhaps she was similarly attracted to me. Maybe she wanted what I had: a fiancée, a close working relationship with the hot boss, security. Who knows?

Have you ever truly hated someone? It feels like I imagine it would to fall into quicksand. It’s annihilating. Sooner or later, it comes down to an ultimatum: you or it. And if you don’t want to end up in a therapist’s chair, you’ve got to make the call. You.

Just when I’d finally realized that things had to change, she left the company for a better job. It was providential. Once she was out of my life, I felt instantly better. And honestly, I’ve never had a reaction like that to anyone since. If I did, I hope that I would recognize it and confront it. Hatred is a dark dead-end street in a bad neighborhood.