But as I do check Facebook every 2 weeks or so, I’m happily scrolling thru people’s adventures: Brenda’s done teaching summer camp! Elana has a new boyfriend and looks very happy! Who is this Eric and how do I know him? (Why didn’t I ever try dating him? He’s HOT in these photos!) And oh look, it’s Jeff, my ex… and his engagement photos.
(Insert sound of screeching tires.)
I haven’t spoken to Jeff in years. We had broken up over pot. Yup, pot. He- at the time- was the epitome of ‘pothead’ and there was a permanent indentation on his sofa to prove it. He also was the epitome of ‘the love of my life’ at the time. He was a mass of mischief in a Boston hard outer shell- I thought he was the bee’s knees. But as we got older, we grew apart due to the pot. Fights like: Did you lose your job cuz you were high at work? We are NOT carrying that across the border in my car. You can check that in your luggage but not mine. Etc. etc. And there was more, but those are the complications of love: you may love 80% of a person, but can you live with the other 20%?
The last time I saw him was three years ago at a Christmas party for an old agent of mine. I knew he was also represented by my agent and I was hoping NOT to see him. And then I turned and who should descend the stairs? Jeff. His eyes twinkled. His face broke out in a smile. And after years of not talking, my knees buckled. God, he was still unnervingly sexy.
We had made small talk. He had said, “I don’t see why we can’t be friends.” But seeing that neither of us wanted to date, ‘friends’ really meant friending each other on Facebook and calling it a day.
But now I sit, staring at his engagement pictures. I recognize her. She was one of his friends from college. They had briefly dated. And they had lost touch. He had spoken of her memory fondly while showing me pictures from his past. And now there they were, in the present.. in that misty haze that wedding photographers use..laughing with each other while staring deeply into each other’s sparkling eyes.
It is the strangest feeling. There is a feeling of loss yes. (We had spoken ad nauseum of OUR wedding and what we wanted: at the lake house, barefoot, late summer.) There is a feeling of nostalgia. (What silly little children we were! What feelings we felt, ‘delicate like flowers‘!) There is a feeling of moving on. (I’m glad he’s found ‘the one’. He’s a good man, he deserves happiness.) And there is a strange peace… a synergy with the flow of life and realizing that the universe knows what’s it doing, that a break up does lead to the right decision for everyone involved, and that life is really quite fascinating in retrospect.
Growing old is lovely… because bittersweet is such a nuanced, fragile feeling.. it makes living out loud… seem so dull in comparison.