Saturday, June 12, 2004

The Ex-Games

met the ex last night for what was supposed to be our first drinks date as friends. i suggested the idea, figuring it was time, that the four months apart provided enough distance and perspective to have an honest conversation. and as i'm steadfast about not making enemies out of ex's, i wanted to merge us onto the friendship superhighway. so we met up at the bar, exchanged CDs and began our chat, which was incredibly cordial, pleasant, with him telling me about his big trip to asia, me talking about graduation, yadda, yadda. it wasn't all that awkward and the conversation flowed. and in those first 10 minutes, i remembered everything i loved about him; i even thought of giving him a kiss (but didn't).

then something happened. alcohol happened. the honest coversation happened, and then quickly descended into an exercise in cruelty. it started with the best intentions, with us discussing when and why the cracks began to form (when i started school and had no time for him, which only worsened when he started school the following year), how we felt about being single again (both loving it, better at 30 than at 20), where we were in the getting-over-it process (healing, both far along and strong).

and then... i don't know. it got darker as we got drunker, and all the healthy honesty turned into an opportunity to shine a spotlight on all the things we couldn't stand about one another. it was brutal. he turned into a mean drunk, a belligerent ass, and i matched him insult for insult. and wow, what great insight it produced: his mother never liked me; he felt trapped and bored and wanted to end it a year earlier; i never felt the sex was satisfying and thought of cheating on him way before he cheated on me; he thought my writing was cliche; he didn't regret his own cheating and doesn't feel guilty over it; i thought his stories were boring; he thought i nagged him too much.

and trust me, it got MUCH nastier, but those details are not for public consumption. there were some low fucking blows, and i found myself frequently slamming my hand down on the bar table, which startled him, but it was the only thing i could do to keep from slamming it against his face. so i just kept staring at that handsome face of his, looking deep into his hazel eyes, trying to see behind them in hopes of recognizing that man i once fell so hard for. but i couldn't find him. all the tenderness that ever existed between us seemed to vanish, go up in the cigarette smoke we were producing. (ouch, was that a cliche?)

and i hated myself, too -- pissed that i sank into that mode of hurtful one-upmanship. we never said a single nice thing about each other. it was sadistic on both our parts, sitting there from 9pm until the bar closed at 2am, just playing this ping pong game of cruelty, talking about how wonderful our new (sex) lives are. saying all those things better left unsaid not because you'll regret them later, but because they're all true and carry the most punch.

we then spilled onto the street, by now fully wasted, and began a playful tussle. he pushed me, i punched him in the stomach, he put his hands around my throat and gave a squeeze, i just stared him dead in the eye. nothing really gets out of hand; it wasn't a violent exchange, but the intent was clear. we hated each other at that moment.

i come home, throw up and pass out. this morning, i wake up with the biggest hangover, my body dehydrated, my belly full of anger. i cuddled with juice for a bit, easily the best thing that came out of that four-year relationship. she's all i have, all i need.

i've been a mess all day, canceling my plans and just staying in, processing. it's set me back some. i IMed with pablo this morning, and we both apologized for our vitriolic behavior last night, coughing it up to the alcohol. we agreed not to speak or see one another for a long while.

but it's ok, all this bloodletting. i think it'll get me closer to the next level, where i can really let it all go. (new mantra lately has been 'detach and be free.') perhaps it was too soon to meet and try to be friends, but i thought we were ready. four months out, i really do feel strong and solid. there's no longing or desire to have him or the relationship back, hasn't been for a while. i understand the whys and hows of our split, and am very much enjoying the new life i've carved out for myself. i don't doubt all this.

yet i still need some closure. i guess it'll come with time, even though my rational mind wants it now. last night did much to diminish the sentimental love i still carried in my heart for him, but it shouldn't have happened that way. i don't want to replace that love with anger. my heart has hardened enough. i want to love without fear and live without baggage. a healthy life.

No comments: