Tonight I went to dinner with my ex.
Just the two of us, having a meal. It wasn’t the original plan, we were joining a mutual friend but he backed out, had a work thing, so, it was just the two of us. The two of us alone together, something we haven’t done in ages. Even before it was over.
It was easy, and familiar, and a little awkward and then it wasn’t. After we ate, we didn’t rush out, instead we lingered and chatted for awhile. We still know all the characters in each others’ lives, so we know what their actions mean, what’s funny, what’s not and why. There’s still a shorthand between us.
Touching a bruise, bringing the pain to the surface. A reminder.
Before dinner we raced to Wal-Mart for dog insulin like we always used to, showing up at the pharmacy just before they closed for the night. He dropping me off at the door to run in while he parks the car. His racing in as they are ringing up the purchase.
Running your tongue over the space where a tooth used to be.
After dinner we stopped to buy dog food supplies, again something that is SO familiar. We used to do this every Sunday night. Then we’d come home together, or later when his job moved south, towards the end, he’d continue down to the boat. It always killed me. It made sense, he’d have a two-hour commute if he stayed, but I hated when he’d go. I always hated it but I never said it.
Tonight was the first time there was a before and after we broke up question included in the conversation.
He was never mine, even when he was mine.
He left the dog, he’s going East, on a trip we used to take together. I’ll have the dog instead, Memorial Day, then again on my Birthday, and again on Labor Day. The ties the bind
All the feelings, all the coulda, woulda, shoulda, couldn’t wouldn’t didn’t.
I don’t want him back. I mourn what we took for granted at the beginning, what we thought would always be there and be easy. We didn’t realize how fragile. We neglected to protect…and that brought us to where we finally gave up on one another.
It’s long gone and we both know it.
But I still hate the sound of his car pulling away from the curb in front of my house.
Evan was my first love. We met at 14 and were “promised” in marriage while still in high school. We were both fundamental Christians. He was slated to become the next minister in the rural town where he’d been raised. Yep, I would have been a minister’s wife. However, he went to school in Chicago, I headed to San Diego and the distance was more than we could handle. We split up. He married the next girl he dated. They got divorced. We dated again in college and by then he’d become a Dead Head. We dated for close to two years before ending things for good. He married the next woman he dated. They have two sons.
I found him online as I owed him money — he’d paid for my last year of college when my parent’s disowned me. Neither of us could remember how much I owed. We agreed that I’d pay off the debt by designing a website for him.
This time we became friends. True friends.
For 10 years, we kept in touch, sometimes daily, sometimes weekly, usually monthly. Not deep conversations, but we checked in with each other regularly. We finished the design of his new website on August 8th. I last emailed him on August 20th - as it turns out, that was the day he died.
I didn’t know he was dead until tonight when I Googled his name and his obit came up.
He had a lot of strife. He was deep in debt, his wife and he struggled when an ex-employee sued them and they sunk deeper and deeper in debt as she continued to drag them back into court to take more. He’d confided in me that he thought he’d be crushed under the weight of it all. His marriage was in shambles, but he adored his sons and couldn’t bear for them to go through a divorce, so he hung in there, sometimes with just the tips of his fingers.
This summer fell down the stairs, he was drunk, really drunk—well over the legal limit. He checked himself out of the hospital against doctor’s orders, and his wife’s wishes. I don’t know if his death is related to the fall but I suspect it was. If not, it was a wake up call. I didn’t know he had a drinking problem. I didn’t know how serious the fall was. I don’t know what happened and likely never will
I am very sad.
He was 51 and I’d known him for over 35 years. He was my first love.
A TOUGH DAY ON THE MICRO-FARM
Here’s our Ameracauna hen Orange Blossom, so named by Kevin’s seven year old niece, Ivana. Orange Blossom died today at about 7 months old. Sadly, she wasn’t built properly for egg-laying and there really wasn’t anything that could be done to help her. She laid large, beautiful, blue eggs that were just too big for her body to handle.
She was a really beautiful, if somewhat flighty bird. The bird beside her is Mrs. Bossypants, they were raised together and an inseparable pair. Bossypants stayed with her until the end. RIP Orange Blossom, you will be missed. ©Qdesign/Laura Quick