There was nothing left to say.
We sat across from each other, separated by his living room coffee table. The chair beneath me made my butt feel much like the rest of me: stiff and uncomfortable. The empty walls of the Spartan living space gave me nothing to grasp onto for conversation. There was not a trace of the sexual tension I so strongly associated with our relationship. Nothing hovered in the air between us but a vague awkwardness. It’s my job to avoid awkward silences (seriously, I get paid to do it).
“Okay, I should head out. It was great seeing you.”
“Do you need a ride?” he asked.
“Nope, I’m good,” I said, edging towards the door. “We should hang out again, while I’m still in town.”
We both knew I was lying. “Definitely,” he said. We didn’t hug. He opened the door and I left. He closed the door and I felt palpable closure. We’ll never see each other again.
It’s strange who you see when you visit your home town. Every time I go back to San Francisco, my roster of friends grows smaller and smaller. Thus, I find myself in the company of boys I went to elementary school with and former lovers from New York.
I’m living the dream- nearly all my former lovers have since left the city. They have dispersed themselves far and wide to Canada, Denmark, Wisconsin, rural Pennsylvania, and San Francisco. The lad who moved to San Francisco, my hometown, is most likely long and forgotten to you, dear readers. “Central Park Guy“. I met him on my first day in New York City and his story arch here concluded nearly four years ago.
As I am learning in adult life, exes have an uncanny way of popping back up in one’s life. Especially when one lives on an island or has Facebook. When I made plans to stay in San Francisco for an extended vacation, I contacted him. We had never really been friends, maybe now was the time and California the place for just. Of the dozen friends from high school who were still in town, I really only had anything in common with two of them. I didn’t want to have my visit end with me hating my parents, with only two other people to hang out with, that was a real possibility. So I made lunch plans with Central Park Guy.
He picked me up in his car and I thought of the numerous times we had rendezvoused at subway stations. It made me miss New York. I opened the door and there he was. His hair was longer and he perhaps no longer employing a personal trainer as he had when we were dating. He still had the same goofy smile, same plain t-shirt and jeans, same tattoos on his forearms “No Shame, No Regret” which were already starting to look silly on someone pushing 30. He looked more or less the same, but in my eyes he had lost his allure. No longer the emotionally unavailable semi-bad boy who lived on the Lower East Side, just some dude in a kinda sad-looking car.
At lunch, I listened to a long monologue of “How Glad I Am I Left New York”. He went on and on about the negativity of the city, the cutthroat coldness, how selfish everything is. I sat there, contemplating the negativity of the person in front of me. How I had cried when that relationship had ended, the first time I’d cried over a boy since age fifteen. How we no longer had anything in common. How fantastically clear it now was that this wasn’t the guy for me, and had never been.
Every time I’ve run into an ex, and even many former crushes, I’ve experienced this same feeling. What did I ever see in that guy? So not the guy for me! Just goes to show, I pick the wrong men. I know I do. I’m probably doing the same thing as I type this. But how to stop?
After lunch, we found ourselves at his apartment. Four years ago, that sentence would have ended with “in bed”. This time it ended with him showing me his little one bedroom he shares with his girlfriend. It ended with nothing to say. It ended with closure, and that’s a happy ending.