A few weeks ago, I was sitting outside on a bar patio with a friend in the middle of the afternoon. The patio was right on the sidewalk and we faced out, enjoying the sun and people watching. About a block away, I spotted two women approaching and said to my friend, “Don’t look now, but an ex of mine is coming this way.” We didn’t exactly make eye contact, but she must have seen me. She did that thing where she stopped her friend, pretended they were going the wrong way, turned and headed back away from us. It’s been well documented that I seem to have this effect on women - a repelling effect. Especially when it comes to ex’s. Now, this is a situation that many people have been in, running into an ex, but I would like to use this experience as an opportunity to bring up a few points.
I’m friends with almost no ex’s. Does this reflect badly on me? Probably. Most likely. Yes, when a relationship ends, there is heartbreak and sadness, but retaining some sense of a friendship always seemed futile to me. I’m not knocking those that do salvage a friendship, it’s just not for me. Do I really need to put the effort into this? Hmmm, well, last year I ran into an ex at the bar Three Speed (a place where nothing good ever happens), she grabbed the guy she was with and ran out of the place.
This kind of incident calls for some self-reflection.
When you do not become friends with your ex’s, you tend to forget that they are a person somewhere out in the world living their life, hopefully evolving in ways you couldn’t imagine. Despite the low grade perception of myself, I do have to admit that perhaps I played some important role to the people I shared pieces of my life with over the years. Maybe that ex ran away from me in Three Speed (a place where nothing good ever happens) because she was startled over who I had become and not because of who I was in the past?
This particular ex I saw a few weeks ago has a habit of popping up in the most unusual of places. We reconnected a couple of years after breaking up, doing the whole ‘we should try to be friends’ thing. But then she read some of my blog entries from around that time and instead got quite angry with me over them. This was a pivotal moment for me. I remember a long night of feeling bad that I had hurt someone with my words. Then I thought, wait a second, I didn’t say anything bad about her, in fact, I wasn’t even writing about her. Maybe she was angry because what I wrote was much more straightforward and honest then anything that came out of my mouth? Maybe I hurt her because I was never that honest with her? I had a decision: keep writing or stop if I couldn’t deal with reactions to the work.
I kept writing.
Maybe this is why I am alone? Trust me, I’ve thought about it a lot, too much really, reviewed what I put out there and pick through it to see if I could have hurt someone in an unfair way. Unfair, meaning that I misrepresented them or had identified them in any way. I’m generally writing fiction, yes, fiction that is springboarded off of real experiences, but I’m not interested in revenge. I don’t believe I’ve been unfair, but others might disagree. Honestly, who gives a shit? I have no connection to this person anymore, none. I have my little corner of the internet where not many people visit. Unless she seeks me out, there is no reason why any of her friends or anyone else that we mutually know would find out. And even if she did, there is no way anyone would know it was her. I’m not interested in writing about personal experiences for the sake of sharing them, what’s the point in that? But if writing about something or someone can express some larger truth, that’s what I’ll do.
What if someone wrote about me? That would be great. It would justify my existence. I had one ex that wrote a blog for her family back home to update them on what was going on in her life. Apparently, I was not going on in her life. I was nowhere to be found. She described places we had gone, except I had been erased. That did whatever the opposite is to justifying my existence. Maybe this is a desperate plea for someone to write about me? I dunno, what I do know is that ex from a few weeks ago had a strong reaction to my words. It surprised me that I could get a reaction, and you can’t have the good without the bad. It’s not always about the fun moments, but also about the crappy ones.
The main thing I learned about seeing that ex is although I did not want to talk with her, to have to small talk while a different unspoken conversation was happening underneath, she most certainly did not want to talk with me either. What an arrogant jerk for my immediate reaction of not wanting to run into her, for she is a person out in the world evolving, hopefully learning new things and avoiding other ex’s.