Today, toward the very end of a frenzied afternoon, our office door opened and a guy with a handtruck of boxes came in. (I work in publishing; this happens a lot.) “Hey,” he said.
My first thought was, hey, that guy is pretty cute.
My next thought was, wait, he’s familiar.
My third thought was a clenching in my chest.
It was F, coming to bring me boxes of things I had left at our apartment.
I know this sequence must sound terrible, but it’s true. In my defense, I have a weakness (bordering on a disability at certain really awkward times) in trying to recognize faces. Furthermore, he had lost a lot of weight–maybe 15 pounds, or more–since I last saw him two months ago, and cut his hair very differently, and shaved all his facial hair. In his defense, he had told me he was coming and there was no reason I should have been so taken off-guard.
He was very polite, rather well-dressed–my boss speculated that he had “tried”–and he dropped the boxes and left in a hurry. I tried to stop him in the hallway, ask if he was okay, how things were going, but he was very sad and in a rush to some unspecified place.
It all must have all been glyphed across my face because when he was gone my boss came over to my desk and said, “You’re going to feel sad now, for a little while, but then you’re going to remember all the reasons you made the right decision. It will all come back very clearly and you’ll feel so much better you’ll be surprised.”
I mean, she’s right. It’s been a couple hours now and she’s right. But the moment was hard and surprising.
I guess this is what it means to have an ex. How strange, though, to be experiencing all these streams of emotions that fill other people’s cliches. It hurts to watch him hurting, because I care about him. And I have been so happy alone, working on finding myself. How come when I can’t see him, I feel so secure, but seeing him rattled me so deeply?
Yes, all cliches, streaming streams of cliches. At least I know why they are.
Luckily somebody was waiting in the lobby of my office building with a pint of green tea ice cream, all of which I ate like a creature in a RomCom.
Now, I am at home by myself in my new space, watching a favorite Chinese movie, blogging a little, maybe (later) choosing to treat myself to a glass of wine if I’m in the mood. And feeling very happy to be here.