Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Catching Up: Just Friends? Part 2

The first couple weeks of my sophomore year at Williams, in Fall 2008, were not so great. There was the notorious sophomore slump, for one. And the next couple got even worse. The first weekend back involved going to a party thrown by L.'s a cappella group, watching him with other girls, and leaving in tears. Summer Romance, as it turned out, was not very good at keeping up his end of the long-distance deal. He barely made time to talk on the phone, and our conversations were strained, at best. Meanwhile my friends back at work continued to tell me stories of Summer Romance and Other Woman's alleged relationship, and being three hours away I did the only thing I could think to do: come home unexpectedly and see if he had any time to see me, or if he was suspiciously booked for the whole weekend.

The first weekend I came home wasn't decisive, as he had some afternoon time and took me out to dinner (read: we split it and then I left the tip because he didn't have enough money), but after that he "had to meet up with his cousin to watch the Sox game." I didn't even know he had a cousin.

The visit wasn't great but it wasn't enough to make me end things, and L. had seemed strangely affected by the idea that after he had broken my heart over the summer I had returned to Williams with a new boyfriend, so I wanted to ride that road out and see why that was the case. After another few weeks went by, a friend from work called to tell me some interesting news: Summer Romance had a bonfire at his house for our work friends, Other Woman was in attendance, and suspiciously stayed the night when everyone else left to go home. Of all the questionable things Summer Romance had done, which included, but are not limited to,

Having me leave his apartment before brunch and me going home to read that Other Woman appeared to be going with him and his parents, who I didn't even know where in town

The magically-appearing mascara smudges on his pillows when I made sure to wash my face before going to bed

Come into work one night when he didn't know I was working at chatted with Other Woman while she worked the bar, and then awkwardly tried to alleviate both of our questioning stares

Told me he would come to my parents' beach hosue on Memorial Day weekend (aka the day before I left for college), but cancelled last-minute

Refused to let me end the relationship

...of all those terrible things, FINALLY somehow that was the last straw. I called him up and ended things, despite his angry allegations that she was too drunk to drive home and needed a place to stay. A few weeks later I went home for the weekend since he wanted to talk things out in person, and stayed with him since my parents had gone north for the weekend and empty houses creep me out. But I had gotten hints that Summer Romance had made more of a commitment to Other Woman after he and I broke up, so I refused to kiss him or sleep in his bed. It was a confusing and awful weekend, especially since I was the only one with any fortitude in keeping the physicality to a minimum.

I only saw him once more after that and a month or so later, L., who had been there for me the whole time, and I began dating. I saw him on Christmas Eve, when he came into work (Yes, I had to work Christmas Eve. Damn the restaruant industry!). It was strained and awkward and, as much as I hated it, emotional, and when he asked to get coffee so we could talk over what had happened I almost said yes. But of course, then I decided last-minute to jet off to Santa Barbara for New Year's Even with L.'s family. And when I texted Summer Romance that as the reason why we couldn't get coffee, he responded with

"All the way to California for him? Wow, looks like I missed out on a good thing. Though I never really had much confidence in you having a long-distance relationship..."

I deleted that text almost immediately and it's still burned in my memory. Only if by "confidence in me having a long-distance relationship" he means "turning a blind eye when I feel the need to sleep with other women when we're apart." Ugh!

Cut to last summer, Summer 2009. I wasn't home for most of it as I had my art musuem internship near school, but right at the end I had a couple weeks and Summer Romance wanted to get together and have that long-time-coming talk about "what had gone wrong between us." Um? YOU WERE SLEEPING WITH SOMEONE ELSE.

Luckily, this talk coincided with me recently having lost 20 pounds on the South Beach Diet, so I got into a pair of jeans that were TWO sizes smaller than the ones he had last seen me in, a v-neck tee, and cute heels. We had decided that I would drop by the highschool since he was trying to get his classroom together for the first day of school. He had complained that he didn't have enough decorations for the room so on the way I stopped at Staples and grabbed some of those cheesy window clings you see in Kindergarten classrooms--you know, the ones that have one ant holding up the number 1, two caterpillars carrying the number 2, and so on.

I got to his classroom and, though my hands were a little shaky, sauntered in the door and made a Geometry joke right off the bat (he's a Geometry teacher, if you didn't catch that.) We hugged, I told him I had the perfect thing for him to put up in his room, and presented him with the window clings. He laughed, my hands stopped shaking, and that is where the power shifted and stayed. His next words were that I looked "soo're a skinny minnie!"...really dating himself on that one. Anyways, I made him laugh, got him a kick ass joke gift, and he noticed I was hot. Things were going pretty well.

They only got better from there. He showed me some of our cute texts from the previous summer that he had SAVED FOR A YEAR. I promptly told him that I had gotten a new phone and didn't have any of mine. He asked if he could see me again over Thanksgiving. I told him L. was coming home with me. He not-so-subtly had one of his teacher friends come in to "chat," but sheepishly admitted they had planned the whole thing an hour before so he could show off his hot ex-girlfriend. And when I told him I had to leave, he got serious, took my hand, told me that he'd always be there for me (yeah, just like he was when we were together?) and if anything ever happened (read: if L. and I ever broke up), to call him. He then attempted a sneaky kiss (I turned the cheek,) hugged me tightly, lingered, and I strutted out and made sure that I worked me heels all the way out to my car, since I knew he was watching from the window.

I want to make it clear that vindictive was the LAST thing I was during the visit. It was really too pleasant on my side, for all that he put me through. But I'm happy with L. know and god knows what kind of girls he's messing around with now. I didn't ask...I didn't want to know. It was just great, after feeling so powerless at the end of our relationship, to have our (most likely last ever) meeting to be one where I held the cards, and left him questioning a lot of things.

We haven't really talked since then and I don't imagine that we will. Though I generally remain friends with my exes, he and I had nothing in common in the first place and probably will never speak again. So in that case, no, we could never be friends.

But that still leaves the problem of Big Relationship. How did we manage to remain best friends after a four-year relationship ended in a very, very non-mutual breakup? Well, I guess that's a story for another time...

1 comment:

  1. Ack, I'm so glad you finally got rid of that scumbag! I was screaming in my head while reading this, "don't go back to him, he's cheating on you!!" You are so much better off.

    As for the being friend with exes...I have two cases of that. In both, I was friends first with each, and we built a foundation. I think that's truly the only way to remain friends. That and not having any lingering feelings! If one of you does, ultimately it's going to make things awkward.