Life blows my mind sometimes.
I’ve said it a million times, but I’m a firm believer in signs and that each odd twist of fate carries some meaning. Lately it had been bothering me that I spent 1/3 of my life with my ex-fiance and there was a chance I’d never see him again. It had been 6 months since we’d talked and a little longer since I’d had a glimpse of his face. Things ended abruptly. One day he was there and the next he was gone permanently.
A few days ago, I had a dream about him. It was so vivid and detailed. I hardly ever remember my dreams but this one left me shaken. The oddest part of the whole scenario, was that I just couldn’t see his face.
The next night I had plans to go to an enormous bar/entertainment complex. It’s not necessarily my style. I know that his band plays there sometimes and before I even agreed I stalked Facebook and found his schedule. I was in the clear and it’s not a place he would frequent even if his show was cancelled. I almost backed out several times, but I’ve been pushing my boundaries lately. I suppressed the nagging feeling that something strange was going to happen.
Within a half hour of arriving at the bar, I was standing around with friends when a guy walked up to the group. I don’t know if I was in shock or what, but my initial thought was, “Damn. He’s hot.” Then, “Wait. He looks really familiar.” There was complete silence and everyone’s face changed. Shit suddenly got realer than the Real World. But I couldn’t process why.
As the guy hugged my friend, I looked down at his calf. I recognized the tattoo. All of the color drained from my face, I started sweating, I couldn’t hear a sound except for the pounding of my heart. It was him. I waited in a stunned daze as he made his way toward me. The world stopped and nothing seemed real.
He gave me a hug and I tried to smile. We exchanged pleasantries. “What’s new with you?” he asked. “Well Pandora Shuffle has really changed my life for the positive,” I replied. I don’t know why I said that. At least it broke the tension and his familiar laugh dissolved the space between us.
“Let’s go for a walk,” he said.
My friends, completely unsure of what to do, were talking to me, yet I couldn’t make out a word they were saying. I just walked away with him.
After his gig ended he had made his way to the bar (or whatever the weird adult Disneyland was), because he knew a band playing on one of the stages. Out of the thousands and thousands people inside and outside and the endless places to go for a drink in a huge city, the universe tossed us into each other’s paths. The odds of this occurrence are staggering. Strangely, it was much like the lightening, random way we met.
We sat on a bench away from the crowd in a quiet little corner alone. I only had one drink but I felt high as a bat. I didn’t care what anyone else was doing. I was just floating in this weird state of suspended realty. I wasn’t sure what to expect. He looked so different. What was his life like? Was he still the same person? Had I been replaced yet?
As we talked under the moonlight, it was like nothing had changed. He was my best friend again. We laughed and filled each other in on what we’d each missed. I felt a sense of relief. I’d imagined what it would be like should we ever meet again. This possibility was happening and it wasn’t anything like I had feared. It felt good. The topic of conversation inevitably turned to what had happened. I’m not going to lie and say it was easy or that I’ve completely dealt with everything and moved on. It was sad, but not more than I could handle.
I’ve been carrying this burden with me. Everything was my fault. He had every right to despise me and it killed me. There hasn’t been a single day that has gone by that he hasn’t crossed my mind. But when he told me that he didn’t hate me and I had to let go of my self-loathing, I saw in his eyes that he meant it. He freed me.
He’s still the same person I’ve always known and loved. He exists. Time didn’t stop. Talking to him felt right. Half of me was overjoyed while the other half straight up hurt. But it was okay. Things got even stranger when I had to sleep at his house (long story involving a lost cell phone, not knowing anyone’s phone number by heart, and losing my friends in the massive crush of people…not what you’re thinking).
“Do you think this is going to be weird? Is this the best idea?” I asked in the cab on the way there.
To tell you the truth, I didn’t care. My intuition and every cell in my body told me it was fine (I also didn’t have any other options). I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye. I silenced my rational mind and just went with it. Was seeing him and talking to him going to make things more painful later? Probably. But sometimes these little moments are all we have. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with embracing the split second when everything is normal. If I constantly fear the future and what I might or might not feel, I’m denying part of being human. Underneath it all, even the aching is beautiful in a way.
He dropped me off the next day and I cried when I said goodbye. I didn’t want our hug to end but it did as all things do. It got really messed up between us. We won’t be together again, but in the past few days I’ve felt a sense of peace that has been eluding me. Maybe I really needed the closure and the stars aligned to let me experience it.
My brother brought my two-year-old niece over that evening. We blew bubbles, she called me a good “boy.” I laughed, gave her a kiss on the head, and thought, “Fuck it. I’m going to be okay.”