It had been so long. Maybe 7 years, since we’d seen each other. About as long as we were together. I’d fantasised about this meeting every now and then throughout the years. I wondered if it would ever happen. I wondered if we’d both die before seeing each other again. I wondered how he’d feel about that. I never really thought about how I’d feel. What do people think about their first deep loves when their lives are ending? Anything at all? Regret, probably. Happiness, maybe.
He texted and said he was in town. I said hey, welcome. We talked about the things that you should do when you visit this town. I asked if he were free to catch up. It just came out. I pressed send before I really thought about the enormity of that idea. He said it would be great to get a drink; it had been so long. I agreed. It had been so long.
So then, there we were, sitting in a bar together, new partners by our sides, trying to make all the awkwardness less awkward. I was glad to not be alone, but I wish we could have been honest like you can when you’re in the dark, or when you’re alone. All the things that were never said seemed to hang in the air. They could not be said here either.
I don’t know what he wanted to achieve by meeting up. I don’t know what I wanted. To satisfy curiosity? To make it all OK? To make sure we were both fine? To tie up loose ends? Simply because we were in the same city? I don’t know.
I could tell that she was uncomfortable. Really uncomfortable. The New Girl, the New Girl who had been around for years now, with him. The New Girl that obviously fit in his life, long term; his forever girl. I’d seen her on his social media for years now and I was and am genuinely happy for them both. She seems smart and funny and obviously kind and understanding – she came along to the 7-years-later-catch-up-with-the-ex after all. That takes some serious love and understanding and support. I was impressed and thankful for her confidence. I felt bad for her discomfort. I tried my best to make things open and light. I don’t know whether it helped at all.
We talked about our families and filled each other in on what all the brothers and sisters and Mothers and Fathers were doing these days. It felt like the two of us were performing in front of a small crowd. It was clear that we were completely different people now. We didn’t talk about the lies and we didn’t talk about the fights or the falling outs and the distance. We didn’t talk about love. We didn’t talk about the ring. I guess we didn’t really talk about much. Then he was gone. Again.
Afterwards, a text message told me he was sorry. I asked if it was about the night or our relationship and he said maybe both.
I said me too. It had been so long.