“How do you know those guys?”
I’m on a date, and I just crossed paths with the last person I slept with and his best friend. It was an awkward interaction; my date knows my former lover and his best friend, but he doesn’t know that he’s my former lover. I’m not exactly ecstatic to see my former lover, then or really ever, mostly because he’s a shitty person with a slew of unmanageable personality problems that range from addiction to violence. So I did what I always do when I run into my former lover: I look away. And he does what he’s been doing every time he sees me, which is to run up and say hi to me. I’m not sure if he does this because he knows that I find it to be irritating or if it’s just another crappy power move intended to unsettle and intimidate me. I have considered the possibility that maybe he’s a cordial guy who is polite enough to acknowledge the presence of a former sexual partner, but upon further consideration I realized that, no, he’s not that kind of person. He’s the kind of person who discards women like dirty dish rags without a second thought. And I would prefer to watch him drift off into the sunset, but he’s refusing to go quietly. Despite the fact that our departure from each others’ lives was mutual, if tacit.
“I don’t know,” I reply dumbly and drunkenly to my date, trying to dodge any conversation about them because I’m not feeling secure enough to be mature and tell the truth which is, “I used to get ass fucked by that dude while high on cocaine at eight in the morning on occasional Tuesdays and sometimes we’d invite his friend to have group sex with us.” I know that neither of those are answers that my date wants to hear, mostly because he knows them, too. Instead I am awkward and aloof.
“I think that guy is so&so’s boyfriend,” my date says about my former lover. I feel crestfallen as he hands out this information. Mostly because I know it wasn’t true then (I did my research!), but also because it might be true now. Also, it’s none of my business if they cuffed each other up after I gracefully pirouetted out of their sexual rotation. I left for a reason, and I stay away from them still. That reason was because they had a highly toxic, very codependent, somewhat abusive relationship, and their M.O. was to drag me down into it, too. But I wouldn’t go down, so I got out, and here I am now, dating other people.
“Oh,” I reply. This isn’t a great way to wrap up a date as we head back out. This isn’t what I want to think about angrily as we drive away, being silent while being wasted, too. I don’t want to think about my shit head former lover, and all the crazy sex we used to have, and all the shit he put me through. I’d rather be making out right now, but I’m not, because my head is tangled up in him and the chaos he brings to my life. I am aching to be the person who doesn’t feel like this whenever he walks into a room. Because he walks into rooms all the fucking time, and this feeling is indelible as I try to run away.