Though I live in Brooklyn, for the last month, I’ve been in Los Angeles taking care of family and it just so happens that one of my ex-boyfriends lives in Southern California too. Don’t get excited, I’m not trying to arrange some secret, sensual rendezvous where I cheat on my current boyfriend,** who’s honestly the best guy I’ve ever been able to call mine. Still, though my ex and I broke up in undergrad, I just want to get a beer and catch up, is that so wrong?
Ben* and I went to college together while on a year abroad program in England. At 19 years old, we began as friends, linked by our quick sarcastic quick wit amongst a group of about 15 students trying to figure out how to drink Ribena properly. He’s Jewish – why do they love black girls? – hilarious and adorable when he lets his curly hair grow freely. Eventually, we ended up dating, then broke up and tried unsuccessfully to become friends comfortably. After England and undergraduate graduation, me from UC Davis and him from UCLA, I moved to New York and he stayed in Los Angeles. We both began working in the music industry, Ben as a road manager for a singer/songwriter and I started the bumpy journalism road.
While on tour on the East coast, I met up with Ben and his tour buddies including the singer. She, who I won’t name here, was unknown then but sweet and I wished her the best of luck in her career. That meeting was almost five years ago and the singer has since become pretty famous and without knowing it, the biz made her change her name, I became a big fan of her work. Her lyrics let me cry when I feel sad or shout in my apartment when I’m happy. Then one day I realized, ‘Holy crap, I know this chick!’ The singer was the young lady I’d met years ago with my ex humbly in a quiet New York bar.
After figuring out the connection, I rushed to find Ben’s information only to realize he wasn’t on Facebook and all I could find was a dusty email address that I hoped worked. Clicking open my gmail account, I sent him an excited note saying ‘Guess what I’ve just realized? Call me when you get this!’ and left my number. Did I get a call back? Nope. Instead, I got a sarcastically – some thing’s never change – funny reply ultimately asking ‘What’s up?’ and no call back.
My feelings were hurt. Here I was trying to share that I’d grown to adore his artist and her music and this happens to be the album he’d put an inordinate amount of work into, and I get no reply. What part of the game is that?
Weeks later, as I drove though Westwood with my grilfriend, we talked about the theory of the “second break-up,” defined as when an ex declines a post-relationship friendship. Somehow this rejection hurts all over again because who cares if your relationship was some bit of collegiate silliness — weren’t you friends at some point? What’s the big deal? My girlfriend said she’d contacted her ex to see how he was doing and instead of a welcoming response, he took time out from his hectic medical residency schedule — we’ve all seen “Grey’s Anatomy,” those doctors are busy — to tell her he ‘didn’t want to contact her’ and he’d rather she ‘didn’t contact him.’
Wow. Reactions like these make one want to stop dating.
As my girl and I licked our wounded egos, we had to say ‘Fuck it.’ Who cares, right? Not everyone’s meant to stay in your life for good, or however that saying goes.
And then, guess what happened last week?
On an idle Sunday night, Ben text me that he’d watched some TV show that reminded him of me. Now we might make plans to hang this week.
Whatcha think, should I hold my breath?
*names have been changed to protect the unresponsive
**no boyfriend’s feelings were hurt in the writing of this post
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