I’m very glad the most stressful period is over, and now I can live a relatively stable life. But it’s a small world, and there’s always s chance of bumping into someone who knows, as happened tonight.
I’m now out of the social group I was in, but the shared interest means our lives still intersect. Tonight’s encounter was with friends of my ex. Uncomfortable and awkward for both parties. It could have been worse: at least it wasn’t my ex herself who was there. But I still count it as a setback, as it’s going to take a little while for my emotional state to return to normal.
It’s hard to know how to act in such situations. I could simply not talk to them, as if we don’t even know each other. And after tonight’s stony reception, that’s probably what I’ll do next time. On this occasion, however, we were both there to see a mutual friend and it would have looked odd to refuse to approach.
So, I default to acting normally, as if I believe that we still have a civil acquaintance. But I worry that this makes me appear ignorant. That they’re standing there, thinking: “Holy fuck, he doesn’t get it, does he? How can he just go on with his life as if nothing has happened? How dare he think he has any right to talk to us?”
But of course I know. Of course I’m aware of the gravity of the situation. Of course I know when I’m not wanted. But I think it’s just a sensitive situation where there’s no good way to handle it.
Discomfort aside, I guess the other reason I feel a sense of anxiety about this encounter is that I suspect they’re finding it very difficult to keep my offences secret from others. Judging by personality and other clues I’ve picked up along the way, I suspect they feel it their duty to tell others: either to warn them (as if I’m a threat), or to disabuse them off the notion that I’m a good person.
Is it possible to live a normal life as a convicted sex offender? Time will tell… But will they?