The priest saying the mass I went to on Sunday did something for his homily that I knew only one other person would find as amusing and obnoxious as I did. I was feeling completely at peace Sunday night after a really happy weekend, so I took it as a sign: God was telling me it was time to get in touch with the Modern Ex.
I had exchanged one e-mail with him a few months back, wishing him a happy birthday and telling him I wanted my spare key back and had some stuff of his he might want returned. He responded, but it came during my hellish work trip in which I was stuck in Memphis for days and days. I forgot about it, or rather put it out of my mind for the next few months during my practically perpetual state of vacation.
I sent him an e-mail late Sunday apologizing for it being so long in getting back to him, asking him if he had time for me to drop by and regaling him with the church anecdote. That last one was a peace offering. I hope he understood.
Today was the agreed date. I only told one other person I was going and only because I was on the phone with her last night. I put it out of my mind all day for whatever reason, but I'm guessing it was because I wanted to be as cool and collected about it as possible. Seeing the Modern Ex for the first time in six months? Ain't no thang. Ha.
By about 6:15 my stomach was twisted into a knot. By 6:30, I was leaving work, driving that familiar path that I'd taken home from work so many times, pulling into that driveway for the first time in six months, pulling into that parking space I'd once claimed as mine. I rang the bell, as awkward as anything I was doing since I used to always barge in.
There he was, looking just like himself.
I gave him his bag of stuff and his key. He helped carry the stuff I'd left behind to my car and handed me my key. He told me of wrecking his poor truck trying to avoid an errant driver and showed me the damage. He told me of his marathon, I told him of my triathlon. We talked of work and mutual friends and things we've been doing to keep busy. I told him we should hang out, and I meant it sincerely thought not necessarily immediately.
And that was that, I got in the car and drove away. And my stomach hurt from those nerves all balled up inside. And I was sad.
Not sad in an 'I miss you and want to be with you' kind of way. Not at all. The meeting reminded me further of why we're not meant to be. And that much is always refreshing to be reminded of.
I was nervous, he was nervous and I was sad for that. Sad that things have to be so awkward between two people who loved for so long and know each other so well. Sad that they have to be awkward, despite both of us appearing to be well-intentioned and wanting to make amends. Sad to look at such a familiar face for the first time in a long time but in such a different way. Sad for missing certain generic things about being in a serious relationship. Sad that we couldn't seem to put less than three feet between us at any given time.
I wasn't going to write a single thing about the encounter, but then I realized I needed to write the final chapter to the book that started on Jan. 3. The breakup process is complete. Any future encounter with him is by chance or because of friendship.
And I did tweet about it just before I headed to his place. I needed to loosen some of the nerves, but I didn't want to talk directly of what I was about to do. I returned home to several replies from good friends wishing me strength. And a Google Chat with the fella who always seems to know the right time to be there and how to make me feel better.
God's way of telling me things will be fine, I trust.