He Said, She Said, He Said
I had drinks with my ex-boyfriend on Thursday night to say goodbye to him to the chagrin of many of my friends. For some reason, my friends always had a bad feeling about him. Even my nicest friends had trouble endorsing his candidacy. He was leaving Philadelphia the next day forever and wanted to tie up some loose ends, get some closure or some other applicable cliché. We discussed our lives, past and future, ate some nachos and things were going along very well.
Then he asked me if his current boyfriend should visit him for the Fourth of July. And pointed out that his coat was from Argentina where he went with his boyfriend for Spring Break. He can’t tell me these things straight out, of course. These are details that must be drawn out over painful question and answer periods. To wit:
C: Do you like my coat?
Z: I guess. But I don’t like leather much.
C: Because I got it in Argentina. I told you I went there, right?
C: I went there with [boyfriend] over Spring Break.
Z: Yes. You told me.
C: Sorry. I don’t remember who I tell what to!
Z: You don’t really remember much.
C: I do if it’s not trivial.
Touché. He told me that he doesn’t really see us keeping in touch and doesn’t expect to ever see me again. This was news to me. He implied that since I hadn’t talked to him in 5 months, he didn’t seem too invested on talking in the future. Besides, he said, he only had very "narrow reasons" for visiting Philadelphia, and I was not included among them. I am not sure if he meant it or if he were just trying to hit a nerve. I felt tremendously guilty for some reason as I was hugging him goodbye. I tried to explain to him that the space I needed was necessary for my sanity; I thought he understood that.
Later that night, he called me to let me know that he was packing and found some books and clothing of mine. I walked to his apartment on the way to work the next morning to retrieve them. There were torrential downpours. We walked down the street together for the last time, and I dropped him off at the Fed Ex building where he was shipping his belongings home. As always, he told me I walked at the speed of light and I told him his waddle was slowing me down. I thought about how a year ago we walked down the street with such different circumstances. More smiling. Less clouds.
I rounded the corner with my umbrella and waited. Without him seeing me, I watched him walk out of the building, put his hood up and walk back to his apartment for the last time in the rain. I might have ruined a really good friendship.
My ex-girlfriend was in town this weekend for our 5 Year College Reunion. None of my friends were going to the reunion, so I decided not to go. Unpredictably, I just wasn’t up for the small-talk attacks that would be levied. She was traveling here from North Carolina where she is finishing up medical school. She is one of the most charismatic and intelligent people I have ever met. She’s got a flair for the dramatic, of course. She just got engaged to someone whom was pissed to be in Philadelphia for the weekend, as it was causing him to miss a NASCAR race back in NC. She wrote me this in an email, explaining her dilemma on whether we should meet up or not:
"I would like to meet up to, but I have a feeling you and [fiancé] are notgoing to get along. He told me he'd be "cordial" if he met you, but Ijust don't think either of you will like the other one. I'll call you when I get up there….[Fiance] just doesn't like the idea that you are an old boyfriend, nevermind that you are GAY. But sometimes how he says he will act and how he acts are two different things--he will act like he hates the idea of meeting you, but will be fine once I make him. Also, you bothlove food, if that hasn't changed.”
I know. What the fuck, right? She called me Friday night and said we would plan something the next day. She never called. After a fine passive-aggressive missive, like the email she sent, I think she wanted me to beg to hang out with her. As much as I would have loved to see her, I wasn’t going to do that.
A lot can change in 5 years, but the old girl I knew would never have her weekend activities dictated by her fiancé.
In the same 3 day period, my ex-girlfriend and ex-boyfriend managed to get the best of me. They managed me to get to feel things I didn’t want to admit. They made me think about a past that I had managed not to think about for a while. They made me miss things about myself, certain capacities, certain feelings , certain attitudes, ambitions and hopes. And they both managed, however allegedly inadvertently, to push my buttons in ways few others are capable of doing. That’s probably why I loved them both in the first place.
Thank God I was able to dance those anxieties away at Silk City with KD on Saturday. For a while, on the dance floor, it didn’t matter what happened 5 years, 5 months or 5 hours ago. I was just happy, dancing, carefree. Myself. And that? That’s the best button that anyone can possibly push.