Return, return to the person that you were.
And I will do the same
cause it is too hard to belong to someone who is gone.
My compass spins. The wilderness remains.
— Bright Eyes “Make War”

after i found out about the old flame-turned-new-husband, i decided to email him and tell him congratulations. i could have ignored the fact that i knew, but that almost feels like hiding it or keeping a secret. i felt like since i knew, i should let him know that i know, and also that i’m OK with it. to push the awkwardness of it all under the rug.

i did that last year when i was at a weekend outdoor music concert (desdemona festival, for those of you who remember). i was there with one of my coworkers and his friends (a coworker who, yes, i’d dated but who at this point really didn’t want to have anything to do with me, so that made it awkward enough as it was). and i saw the old boyfriend, watching the same stage as me (the VHS or Beta djs) with his girl there dancing. he had a camera slung around his shoulder and looked every bit the same from when we’d been together 3 years before.

well, we both ignored each other. he wasn’t exactly in my line of vision (more peripherial) so it wasn’t obvious to wave and be done. but that kept happening all weekend (at one point, he sat down on the other side of holly as we were sitting at a statue) and we just kept on pretending like we were clueless about it. i thought that was stupid, so at work on monday, i sent him an email telling him so. and that i hated that things had to be weird between us. he agreed and a decent email exchange ensued. nothing deep but, instead, very ordinary, update-y type things. it felt nice to acknowledge what had happened and then be able to react maturely, even if after-the-fact.

so the same was true in this incident. i sent him an email telling him how i found out and that i wanted to pass on my congratulations and that i hope everything went well. the next day, an email showed up from him where he said thanks and told me that they’d gotten engaged in april and had a 4-month engagement till the wedding this month. he caught me up on how his school’s going. he offered to send me some pictures from the wedding if i wanted.

i wrote him back this morning and responded to everything, making pleasantries and updating him on my (slightly static) life. i told him, sure, he could pass along the pictures. but even in thinking it, just the idea of the whole shebang is weird. and so i decided to tell him as much: that thinking that the person i used to talk about marrying is now married to someone else, is just weird. i told him that it’s funny how when you’re so young, you’re so sure of things, but that we really had no clue what it all meant. i told him that i’d never wished badly on him or on their relationship, but that, in a nostalgic sort of way, it was just plain weird to think about.

i want to be able to be OK with admitting those things and putting those things out there, even if they make me look less “put-together” or flawless. i wanted to acknowledge that and get it off my chest, rather than pretend that everything was peachy keen. for the most part it is, and as i’ve said, i have no regrets about any of that nor do i question whether i want him back: i don’t. i know that for sure. but there’s that little voice that says, “he used to love you–he still should! why doesn’t he? how can he move on? why isn’t he still pining?” that’s selfish, for sure. but it’s that little pang that hits that reminds me where we once were (in love) and where i am (not–in love) and where he is now (is–in love).

anyway, he responded and just said that now that he’s older, it’s made him question more things. i kind of just wanted him to say, “yeah it’s weird to tell you, too,” (not to discount what he did say). but i think, for me at least, it cleared the air because i wasn’t sitting there pretending. and i guess that’s a start in this whole lesson about learning what vulnerability means. i feel like that is the season of life that i am in right now, that i’m always going cycles and the cycle i’ve recently entered is one of learning more about honesty and vulnerability and opening up. so if i start to sound like a broken record, bear with me. i’m hoping that part of it sticks and lasts and the next bit of the cycle will make its way in due time.

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