It is well documented that, when living on the tiny island Manhattan, the chances of running into a former lover are high on the scale of 1 to inevitable. These odds increase exponentially when you look like shit (Source: Sex and the City, Season 2: Episode 1. See video below). It’s true in my EX-perience (too much?). Even if I never actually run into the ex, I hallucinate his form on the crowded city streets, in a crowded bar, on the subway.
(Skip to 0:30 to get right to what I’m talking about & ignore the Russian? subtitles.)
Not this time. I am on my way to Times Square to see my former lover for the last time. If you’ve ever wished the person who fucked you over would just leave the country, be jealous: I’m living out that fantasy. Safa is leaving the country in 4 days. I will never suffer the horror of running into him with a new girlfriend. There is no chance a moment of weakness will bring him back into my bed again. It’s an impossibility. He will never see me looking like shit because this is the last time we will see each other and I just spent 20 extra minutes making sure I look good.
It is a well documented fact: when someone makes you feel like shit and you must see him again, it is imperative to instead look like the shit. I contemplated wearing high-heeled boots that make my already killer legs look serial and bring me to a height of 6′: if I stand up straight and he slouches (as he does), we’ll see eye to eye. But I plan on biking over and biking in heels is idiotic. Changing shoes after I lock my bike? Trying way too hard. Instead I opted for flat boots and a blue dress with a t-shirt neckline that hugs my curves in a subtle “Remember what I look like naked? (You’re never going to see that again!)” way. Did I put too much thought into this? Almost certainly. Did he even notice my clothes? Almost certainly no. Did I feel less like shit because I took the time to put on eyeliner? Yes. And that’s all that matters.
I see him from across the street, long (we’re talking maybe 2 minutes) before he sees me. I immediately notice two things: First, he does not have a bouquet of (preferably tulips but I’d settle for anything beyond carnations) flowers in his hand. The boy has a father and an older brother but he missed the “You fuck up with a girl, you bring her flowers” lesson? He’s clearly just ignoring it. Idiot. Second, he looks like shit. His eyes look scared, even from across the street. He’s pacing with nervous energy. The scruff on his chin that I playfully stroked before our first kiss now gives him a “I’m a homeless bum who can’t keep my dick in my pants” aura. Gross. This is the same guy who I thought was so adorable mere hours ago? Funny how fast things change.
I cross the street. Our eyes meet. I glare at him and give him a vague acknowledgement with my hand. “Hi,” he says meekly. He looks like the proverbial puppy who shit on the rug. Tail between his legs, looking at me with sad puppy-dog eyes, searching for the smiling, bubbly girl he knows. But she’s gone. In her place is a woman scorned, the furies of hell burning behind her charcoal lined eyes. She has no patience for puppies. She’s as happy as anyone to cuddle one, admiring its huge blue eyes and soft fur. But the minute it starts yapping or whining she becomes annoyed. A piss on the rug and Puppy is a pest, not a pet.
Like the whimpering puppy reeling from his master shouting “Bad dog!” he looks pathetic. He can’t clean up his shit. He doesn’t know what to say to me. I break the awkward silence, We’re going somewhere you can take your pants off, I say. Remember (click for a refresher), I let him borrow my 100% merino wool long johns that morning. At $70 a pair, they are the most expensive pants I own and my immediate priority is to get them back. “Ok.” he mumbles. “I’m sorry.” I roll my eyes. That’s all you have to say? “I’m sorry”? I start walking toward the nearest Starbucks. He trails behind me. Fuck this puppy shit! I was angry when I arrived and I’m only getting more so. Where’s the promised groveling? Where’s anything but sad puppy-dog whimpering “I’m sorry”?
In the silence between us hovers hate and hurt, I can’t stand it any more so I bust out banal small talk. So how’s your friend? I ask, but it sounds more like, “Fuck you, you stupid shit.” He pauses before he says, “Fine.” Did you tell him why you had to leave? flies out of my mouth dripping with “Do you realize how much you fucked this up? Will you tell your friends what an idiot you are?” He doesn’t answer. We reach Starbucks and I shove him in the bathroom line. We wait in line, one seething, one sad, both in silence.
We leave Starbucks. My pants have been returned, he no longer has anything belonging to me except some flakes of vomit on his jeans lying in his suitcase with my concierge. “I’m sorry.” he repeats. I have nothing more to say to him. “Can we talk?” He begs. Finally! I’ve been waiting for you to say more than 2 fucking words to me! Yes, we can talk. I’ve been waiting for you to talk. I can’t sit still or I’ll explode with anger. The last thing I want is to be marked “Crazy Bitch”, a moniker men love to place on women. I prefer calm and cold as hell, the flames staying behind my eyes. A walk and talk. We’ll go down along the river.
And so we begin The Closure Talk, the Grand Finale; me with a pathetic hope that he will say something, anything that will make me feel less like shit, him with further secrets and lies to reveal.
[To continue The Safa Boy Series, click for Part Eight]