I jumped a little; he’d spotted me studying on the couch as I’d been waiting for him to arrive. I hadn’t heard him enter the cafe.
“Oh — haha, yeah! NASA… hi!”
We side hugged and then it was quiet for a minute. After pointing out the brick walls, concrete floors, and exposed pipes to him, we walked over to the front counter to place our orders; a hot chocolate with soymilk for him, and a white chocolate peppermint latte for me.
We returned to the couch and talked for a long while, holding our drinks close and showing our socks off to each other (his featuring dinosaurs and mine picturing bunny rabbits), and then he suggested going for a walk.
“Do you like spending time outside?” I asked hopefully.
“Me TOO!” I exclaimed. I felt like a child in summer.
So we drove to the park, walked through its wind and sunshine, and then sat in the shade together, a solid block of concrete cooling our elbows and thighs. We talked for another hour, at least — about caves and circuit boards and future games of frisbee — and then he suggested doing lunch.
So we rode over to a cafe downtown where I know the staff; we shared a meal and then wandered around. I bought an empty, amber-colored bottle for mixing essential oils and a box of incense; (not)incidentally, his favorite scent.
He complimented my hands at the park and my eyes on the amber bottle aisle, and I felt my cheeks flush both times.
So this WAS a date! Ha… I KNEW it!
And this afternoon, he texted me, saying that he’d had a great time and would like to go out again, if I was interested.
Another great suggestion! I celebrated to myself, dancing in the driver’s seat. I tucked my phone into my leather jacket and skipped into Whole Foods to say hi to my best friend before responding.
“Hey — will you please tell Charlie that I said bye? I want to try to beat the traffic,” I explained.
“Sure thing,” Charlie’s coworker said. We’d been able to chat for a few minutes, but then Charlie had disappeared into the back, checking for product.
I grabbed a root beer-flavored kombucha and an alkaline water on the other side of the store and then headed toward the checkout line, but I was intercepted on my way.
“Heyyyyy, Jace.” Christopher.
“Helloooooo,” I sang out awkwardly.
“So look,” he began, stopping in front of me. “I read the blog… I can tell that you hate me and I hate that you do…” and from there, we stepped over toward a case of frozen foods so that several dozen customers could make their way past us.
“I hate you and I love you, Chris… you know this,” I said, smiling weakly. “I will always love-hate you.”
We talked about the breakup; about whose idea it was to do that, and whose idea it was to set him up with someone else… about the amazing duo that we were back then and how that was the thing of it; we belonged in the past.
“And I regretted both of those decisions long after making them — right after emerging, alive, from my identity crisis,” I admitted. “But it was too late then. And I’m not an indecent person — I wasn’t going to try to interrupt or disrupt your new relationship.” I paused. “I doubt you’ll ever read the story I wrote,” I continued, “but in the end, Jinx dreams of you coming back for her… after you’d already died. And last year, it was a matter of me facing the fact that sometimes, dreams come true, and other times, they don’t. They just remain dreams.”
We continued talking; 10, 15, 20 minutes…
“I’m a manager now,” he said, pointing over at his bakery. “And I’ve started playing music in this alt-rock band. I mean, I toured last year…” he shook his head. “I’m doing really well.”
“I know you are!” I encouraged him. I didn’t understand why he was saying all of this to me.
“Look, Chris — I went on a date yesterday, and he asked me to go out with him again today. And I think I’m going to say yes,” I smiled. “I wouldn’t go back on a second you and I spent together — and I’m so genuinely sorry for shaking your world up with mine two and a half years ago and then not being there for you during and afterwards — but the truth of it is that we’re morally and fundamentally unaligned.” I shrugged. “I’m glad you’re with someone who cares about you and shares your lifestyle and standards, and I’m very glad that you’re happy. I’m so proud of you — of everything you’ve accomplished, and of the person you’re becoming. And if you ever need anything — like a kidney,” I laughed, “or if you ever just want to grab a coffee or whatever, I’ll always be around. I will always love you.” I reached over and hugged him and then smiled my “goodbye.”
And there it was: peace. Finally. And for the record… Christopher is a wonderful person; charismatic, brilliant, talented and beautiful. Despite the love-hate that you’ve read on this blog over and over and over and over and over and over and over and OVER again… 🙂 he’s a great guy. And I am beyond lucky to have spent so many years by his side. I wouldn’t call him an ex-husband now so much as a wonderful, old friend.
Back at the house this afternoon, feeling as weightless as a soul on the moon, I texted him back. “Roger that on date numero dos, space boy!”
And then I wrote a song and ate a salad and couldn’t imagine sleeping at all, wondering how soon I’d see him again… that brown-eyed, spinning space boy.