A few days ago, I got a message via Facebook from Ex-Ex.
My gut reaction was what you’d expect upon hearing from someone you dated for seven years and had broken up with more than five years ago: I sighed like an overweight lady trying to board a bus while carrying lots of bags. And then I thought, “Whaaaat? What now? Jeeezus.”
He’d found some old photos and scrapbook-type stuff of mine from college. He wanted to know if he could drop it off, or meet for coffee.
Cue another public-transportationesque sigh.
I knew exactly what photos he had found – I had torn the house apart looking for them when I moved out, and eventually had to make peace with the lost photos being the price of admission to my fabulous new Ex-Ex-free life.
I asked if he would just leave them on the porch and I’d pick them up. He demurred, saying he’d rather meet me. Jeeezus.
I figured he was planning on breaking it to me gently that he was married. Whatever. I agreed to meet him at a coffee shop. And then I dreaded it. Like it was a horrible errand, akin to a pap smear. After all, it took me four years (4! Years!) to forgive him. It’s not like I want to be his BFF.
But then I started thinking … what, exactly, had he done that was so awful? He’d robbed me of my sense of self and treated me horribly? OK, but people don’t exactly do that kind of shit without your permission. Really, what was so awful about Ex-Ex?
And then I saw him today and I remembered!
I had my laptop. I specifically sat at a table that had only one chair. But instead of just dropping off the bag of random stuff, he sat on a hearth next to my table. And talked. For more than an hour.
It started out with niceties about families, acknowledgement that he was married and I was engaged, where we are working, etc. And then it morphed into a diatribe (his) about how he and his wife planned an ecologically friendly wedding with bamboo plates and utensils and had a fancypants print company here in town print everything on cork paper for them and how he planted a garden and makes his new stepson eat vegetables and how they had three photographers covering their wedding since they’re in the agency world and all, and two photos from the wedding have already been optioned for stock photography by some national company and how he has a client whose restaurant logo features clowns and oh, could I even believe it, and well, I would appreciate how he told them that it just haaaad to go and our former house is now rented to three college baseball players, but the college is one of his clients so he called the college president, who called the three students into his office and put the fear of God into them stating that landlord Ex-Ex is his close personal friend and he would stop by to make sure they were taking proper care of the house.
Meanwhile, I was having an inner monologue about that crazyass eyebrow sticking about an inch out from his face and I would have at least pointed that to his attention when we were together but he looks like he has an antenna and how can one person talk so much – like a 90 / 10 distribution of talking between the two of us and gawd, it’s just so tiring listening to him talk and good LORD, did he do this when we were together because surely I would have developed some sort of hearing loss just to save myself some heartache and I’m so tired and I really want to tell him to SHUT THE FUCK UP but instead I keep nodding and why don’t I at least tell him I need to work but really I just want to tell him to shut up and, really, if we’re being honest, move far, far away and yes, it really was nice of him to save the photos and contact me and go to the trouble of getting them to me, but JEEEZUS, listening to this diatribe of how awesome I’m supposed to think he is soooo isn’t worth it and ohmygod, that EYEBROW.
And then he told me to stay in touch and he hugged me and he left.
I felt the need to go home and either have a drink or take a nap. Maybe both. I gathered my stuff and realized that the overflowing shopping bag he’d brought me had a broken handle. Classy.
So, along with my purse and laptop bag, I had to schlep a broken shopping bag. Like I was an overweight lady getting on the bus while weighted down with too much stuff.
At least there was that symmetry to the entire experience.