We all have that one ex, don’t we?
The one that absolutely tore your heart out, and left you completely destroyed. The one that casts a shadow over every relationship afterwards. Usually its the first one. Before our hearts start to harden, before experience warns us which ones to trust.
I was nursing a killer hangover on a beautiful Sunday, after a disastorous date the night before. My apartment was a mess, there were empty wine bottles everywhere and my head was killing me. I needed a distraction. My phone bleeped. An unfamiliar number was on the screen. ‘Hey stranger’ it started ‘I know its been a few years. I’m back in the country now, and I was hoping you are free to catch up. It would be great to see you.’ It was The Ex.
My heart stopped. It always does when I see his name. In an instant a million memories washed over me, a million feelings. In the next instant, before I had processed anything, I had replied and told him to meet me at the bar down the road for a Bloody Mary. I told myself, I just needed to get out of the house. Why not? I’m an adult. I am stronger now.
I walked into the crowded bar and saw him instantly. Sitting in a corner booth, two bloody mary’s in front of him, and a look of sheer terror on his face. As he looked up and saw me, his face split into that wide, familiar smile I know all too well. After an awkward hug, and a shit load of small talk about the weather and ‘what have you been up to for the last five years?’, things started to feel normal. We decided to grab something to eat, a discussion which somehow led to picking up some Thai food and watching the sun set from my balcony. Part of me was still seething from the terrible date the night before, the other part of me was four Bloody Mary’s in, and all together I was just enjoying easy, flowing conversation and male company.
Warning bells were not yet ringing.
We collected our takeaway and stepped into the lift of my apartment building. I was laughing about something ridiculous, and he looked down at me with that bloody look in his eye. Time actually stopped, and so did my breath. The first kiss was the stuff that Disney movies are made of. By the time the lift arrived at my floor, his familiar hands had found there way into my skirt.
The sex was absolutely incredible. Bodies don’t forget. After being together for five years, and apart for five years, it was like no time had passed. We collapsed together in a trembling, emotional mess. His hands traced the curve of my back and we whispered about our past, our history, all the other times we had lain like this. Round two, round three… long, slow thrusts, eye contact, hand holding, the whole shebang.
As I nestled into his chest, completely satisfied, I ignored the pesky voice inside my head screaming at me. I didnt want to think about what this meant. I just wanted to enjoy this moment of bliss, of complete happiness. I felt like I had come home. He was running his fingers through my hair, and telling me the things we all want to hear – how much he has missed me, how much he has missed this.
Just as I started to drift off, he abruptly moved out from under me and stood up. ‘I cant do this’ he said. ‘This is fucking with my head. I can’t do it. I’m sorry’ He muttered as he stumbled into his pants. A soft kiss on the head, a whisper of ‘I’m so, so sorry’ and the firm click of my front door.
I sat upright, partly in shock, trying to hold myself together. How could I let this happen again? I poured myself a stiff drink and lay down, in sheets that smelled of him, trying to force some sleep.
As I swallowed back the tears I reminded myself – I am stronger now. Tomorrow, I told myself. Tomorrow is a new day.