Tonight, I went to a bar with one of my exes. (Don't worry; this is not one of "those" stories that involve the equation of an emotionally vulnerable woman + man from her past/present she can tell you full measurements of, and I mean, FULL measurements + alcohol = oops.) It actually wasn't as simple as that, because it never is-- when he originally got in touch with me, he said "coffee" and "afternoon," which as the day progressed later and later, turned into "beers" and "11 PM" by the time we actually connected with each other. As is prone to happen, as soon as we made firm plans, a dinner invitation with friends rolled in, I realized I had absolutely nothing to wear in my over-flowing closest that was suitable for this occasion of "hi, this is casual, and yet don't I look great?", another guy came over while I was supposed to be getting dressed, and yet another man texted me to ask if I had any plans for the night. Yes. Yes, I'd say I did. (I swear men have uncanny Spidey-sense about when other men are moving into territory. As I followed my mid-dressing visitor into the kitchen, I had a brief, terrified moment where I thought he was actually going to sit down at our kitchen table to chat and render me hopelessly late for this most very important of dates.)
It always blows my mind how skittish women are about calling guys to firm up plans, but after the ship has sailed, I swear to god it's the easiest thing in the world, mostly, because you don't give a shit. You stop worrying about who was the last one to call or text, or if you're blowing their phone up. He texted me on Wednesday to let me know he was coming into town. He called me this afternoon to work out a time and let me pick a location-- he always lets me pick the location, and this is such a good move on his part. I texted to re-affirm that plans were still on. He texted me to let me know where he was downtown before the bar if I wanted to stop by and grab a slice of pizza pre-drinks, and I called him when I was 5 minutes away from the bar to make sure he was there. I have been told that in a perfectly functional relationship, this is the sort of discourse a couple can have. I have only been able to seemingly achieve it with a few of my exes. I never said I don't have my communication issues.
Once there, standing, pint glasses in hand, face-to-face again after 2 years, it got interesting. I was surprised to find myself no longer sexually bowled over by him, even since our last meeting. Not much had changed in his life, while a lot had in mine-- it made for uneven conversation and the feeling that the student was outgrowing the master. He's 25 now, and I was standing in front of him, drinking legally, obviously not 18 anymore; we were both a little taken aback. And then "Hot Thing" by Talib Kweli came on, and I couldn't place it-- other than the fact that it's on my iPod-- and why it seemed so familiar, and why we were both suddenly so stiff, until I realized it was one of Those Songs from a dark night and twisted bed sheets. Awwwkward. Thanks, 3 Needs.
Afterward, we strolled Church Street to talk where we could actually hear each other talking about our respective semesters in Florence over DMX growling, and when our arms brushed, there was no static charge anymore. In my mind, that was the end of The End. Ship. Officially. Sailed. Off over the horizon. I really have no clue how and why these things work. It makes me wonder if I'll wake up tomorrow morning, or the morning after that, or 2 weeks from now, or 3 months, and suddenly, have no feelings left for people I've held on so doggedly to and weathered through so much with. Probably, actually. Sad, really.
I'm not going to lie about this: Every woman secretly hopes to hear that a guy she used to be with has found that he just isn't able to live without her. This is very rarely the case. But, as we of the XX chromosome persuasion have to know everything, and figuring that all this time and all those other men in between later, I thought it was high time to actually come out with it while he walked me home and ask him why exactly he still calls me every time he comes back to Burlington and asks to meet up.
But instead of admitting his misfortune on dropping off the face of the Earth after graduation and dropping me faster than a hot potato covered in ignited kerosene, when asked why he's kept in touch with me, 3 years later, he grinned his little grin and said, "I still like seeing you. I liked seeing you tonight. And I enjoyed the friendship that we had," and kissed the side of my head. Roughly translated from his Manslation, "I liked the way you blew me."
I have no hope for huMANity. Or my love life.