“Life hasn’t beat you up enough yet. I can tell in your writing,” my mother bluntly told me a few weeks ago while I was chomping down an organic banana. I looked at her, puzzled. Well god damn, it sure feels like life is taking its’ swings.
It’s 10:07 P.M., and I’m two Sex on the Beaches into my night in downtown St. Cloud. Life is seemingly great. I’m surrounded by a lot of my good friends and we are having a blast shouting insults at each other.
“Why are you drinking Henry’s hard soda?” I ask my fashion-centric friend, as he slurps down his third in the last hour.
“Bro, I would drink something else but the beer selection here is terrible.”
We are at my second favorite bar in St. Cloud, so naturally I am not too keen on his sentiments. Out of the depths of my prefrontal cortex I find a comparison between this “hard soda” and his current girlfriend, who does not have the luxury of joining us because she is not yet of age.
“Oh. To be honest, it looks more like something your girlfriend would actually drink,” I belt, pouring all of my emotion into perhaps my only good insult of the night. With this roast comes a mouthful of saliva, which means I’ve now spat and been spat on a half dozen times throughout the night. The table erupts in laughter and I hold onto the few seconds of satisfaction I receive.
As soon as I take another swig from my Sex on the Beach I turn my head to the right and see someone I wish I would never have to see again, my ex-girlfriend. It’s been a month and a half, but that doesn’t mean all wounds have subsequently disappeared.
I figured her appearance there was tactical, considering she showed up with the guy she uprooted my life and left me for. She waddled over to our group, her new boyfriend left behind to presumably avoid some sort of confrontation. My heart began to beat uncomfortably fast. I did not want this two-faced, selfish woman in my presence.
I’ve always said that a man will punch you in the face, but a woman will stab you in the back. I did things in our relationship that were wrong, so very wrong, but she knew I was going to do them. While that doesn’t make it right, it at the very least can be frontally dealt with. It’s like when your mom tells you not to leave your dishes on the counter, but you look her in the eyes and ultimately do it anyway. Without going into too much detail, which tactfully I am saving for my next novel, let’s just say that the woman I used to think was my life and my future, is not the person she has ultimately developed into.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, she did vanish to the other side of the bar, but still she was there. In the context of our past relationship, this was my bar, and these were my friends. If she hadn’t met me, she would never have met them. To see her feel entitled to come and disrupt my happiness really aggravated every part of my disposition. I wanted to turn around and tell her to beat it, but what was the point?
She is a woman I no longer like, yet inexplicably still love. Yet, it’s a different type of love. It’s not a love where I want her back in my life. Rather, it’s a love that says thank you for the memories. Like the old cliché goes, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” And that’s where I’m at. I’ve been extremely vulnerable in the last month and a half, and that’s fine, because to admit otherwise would be emotionally disingenuous to everyone in my life. But I’m mature enough to recognize the binary, that being not what I don’t have, but rather what I do have, which for all intents and purposes is a really good life.
“Virtually everyone I know has been tossed aside for someone else in their life,” my good friend said to me earlier in the night. I don’t know if he was trying to make me feel better, but his comment nonetheless had a warming effect on my evening.
I’m not trudging along in life. I’m taking steps to ensure that I have a bright future. Perhaps that bright future entails being able to recognize that not every beginning has to have a grandiose endpoint. Sometimes things will just be, and then they won’t be anymore, but it will all work out in the end.