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the ex files.


Rainy days no more.

Figurative and literally speaking.
 
So I have been on the fence about posting an event that recently took place. While I know that I don't have to share every part of my life on the blog, this one has been sitting on my mind for a few weeks now. Because I do receive a steady stream of emails from heart broken gals who follow season one of the blog, and who want to know how long it takes to get closure, I felt that it was somewhat of my responsibility to share the meeting I recently had with my ex. "The" ex. 

I am someone who after the dust has settled, tends to lightly keep in touch with most of my exes. Unless they did something really fucked or were proven jerks during the entire course of the relationship, I don't see a reason not to. I prefer to live life giving people the benefit of the doubt (sometimes too much and for too long), and don't see a reason why not to have a distant and cordial acquaintanceship with someone who at one point was considered a best friend.

It had been two years since I had seen MF and I couldn't help but want to know what he had been up to since his cafe in the Marais is no longer. Why I wanted to know, I'm not sure, but I'll just chalk it up to simple human curiosity. Speaking to Aurelien first, I told him that I was thinking about giving MF a call, and oddly enough he'd had an email correspondence with the girl he had dated for years before we met and was going to ask me the same thing.
 
With that easily settled, I called MF who was happy to hear from me and immediately extended an offer to meet for coffee. A mix of laziness and anxiousness -- if those two emotions could coexist -- I canceled our "date" twice. Why didn't I just cancel altogether? I feel like this was something that I needed to have happen. He was the ghost, this mystery of my former life in Paris, and I was seeking that sense of closure, even if I had ended that chapter long ago.

Finally setting the day, when I told Aurelien, he laughed because that was the day he was planning lunch with his ex and her new boyfriend. I swear we did not plan an "ex" day. We do err on the side of being cheesy, but we're not that bad.

Getting ready for the coffee date, I was strategic on how I presented myself. Unlike some of the heart-wrenching post-break-up meetings we had where I got all dolled up with coats of DiorShow Mascara, sky-high heels, and hair flowing in the wind, clearly demonstrating my desperate hope to rekindle his flame for me, this time my intentions had severely changed. With my hair pulled back in a braid, very light make-up (no mascara!!) and Carmex Vanilla chapstick, I arrived in my flats and simple summer dress. This was not a "look at what you missed out on (snap!)" meeting. (Although I had spent months back in the day fantasizing about it.) Those days are long gone and I sincerely hoped he was well, and would share that he had met someone more suitable for him than I was.

I arrived at Café Cannibale in Oberkampf (incidentally where I had my rehearsal dinner), grabbed a seat outside and waited. I admit though, I was a little nervous. But why? I was not expecting anything more than to catch up, this wasn't two years ago, so why were my hands shaking? 

Indecisive on what to order, as coffee I feared would make me more jumpy, wine in this heat would make me boozy, I ordered an overpriced Perrier with lemon and took a deep breath. As usual, he was late, but for the first time since I had known him, I was actually grateful for his tardiness. I needed these few minutes to myself.

"Bonjour, Madame, shall I now say?" I heard.

I looked up and there he was. Pretty much just as I had remembered him; just a little more gray, a little more filled out, a few more lines around the eyes, but more or less, the same. It was then, that any nervousness I was consumed with disappeared. I know this person. We had spent a lot of time together, and there was no reason to feel ill at ease.

Coming prepared, I came armed with things to talk about: a few proofs of the professional wedding photos that had just come in, snapshots of my little students (I'm really starting to miss them!), and a mental list of things and people to mention that we have in common. I learned that like me, the break-up was a turning point for him as well and that he lost touch with many of our at-the-time mutual friends, citing with a shrug that you don't have to stay friends with everyone forever. Life takes its course and people part ways. It's natural evolution. 

I liked that. It also amused me that he seemed not in the slightest afflicted by this. C'est juste comme ça. Ah, the French.

We lingered at the cafe for a little over an hour, exhausting all of our conversation topics before he asked, "Don't you think you got married a little soon?" he asked. "I mean, didn't we just break up?"

I fucking knew it! I knew something like this was going to come out! He just can't help himself, never could. This coming from the guy who told me he was going to marry me a week after we met! N'importe quoi!

I laughed it off and explained that to me, if I don't know after spending two years with someone if they are the one to marry (or at least be with on a permanent level) then perhaps they aren't the right one. We aren't exactly spring chickens with the luxury of having another decade to contemplate, and entertain those fun on/off, love/hate relationships. That's what the gruesome 20s were all about.

Standing outside his nearby apartment to say goodbye, I could not help but reflect on the last time we were standing in that very spot. February 2011, in the winter rain with my suitcases, waiting for a cab to pick me up. Fast forward two years later to this day, with the blazing heat beating down on my shoulders, being a happily married woman. To someone else.

Never, did I think the events would turn out the way they did. Nor did I want to. I was hellbent on making something so broken work, even if my infinite happiness was at stake.

Turning to open the door to his apartment and me heading to the nearest metro, I stopped myself mid-step and turned around on the sidewalk. Looking back at each other, with an unspoken understanding we knew that it is probably the last time that we will ever see each other. And with that, we waved au revoir.

Everything happened exactly the way it was supposed to. And to be clear, my happiness is not solely derived from the fact that I am now married. My contentment comes from surviving some rough patches here in Paris, and owning the wisdom of appreciating the present and the people who I am lucky to have in my life.

It's funny how we imagine the path of our life to go in one direction and once we relinquish it, things tend to turn out even better than you had imagined. Now that's something to be thankful for. With that, I wish you all a bon week-end.

22 comments:

  1. When i opened the blog, i saw the Ex-File... oh Lisa, she always do the play on words scheme.
    *Giggle*

    I'm thinking something scientific but then i was like, of course it going to be about MF.

    Honestly, i hated MF in the past. I would cringe whenever he did or said something stupid that you retold in the blog.

    You were just not the girl for him.

    I'm actually glad that both yourself and your husband agreed to go out and catch up on old times with the "exes", that actually pretty admirable.

    Au revoir MF...

    Like a great bedtime story ending,the princess met her prince charming and lived happily ever after.

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    1. hahahaha scientific!? So funny! Did you think I went on some extraterrestrial hunt in Paris for UFOs or something? Now that would actually be cool. Must look into it!

      This post wasn't to get you guys to like him. Lord knows I have painted some awful truths about him in our relationship! This was just to share that we are okay and the hatchet has been buried. He wasn't the one for me and hopefully he will find someone who can handle him. I didn't have it in me. So it was a friendly au revoir and it will probably be the last time he will be featured on the blog. It only took 2 years!!

      Thanks for your comment and for making me smile. : )

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  2. Thank you. I know this was for you, and it should be, and I'm glad you were able to walk away with such an ease and lightness... but this was comforting to me, too. Looking forward to this moment :)

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    1. You're welcome Danielle. It was for me as much as it was for you. Everyone has been here and I knew I would be reaching out to some of you directly.

      You will get to this point one day. Trust. Never did I think we would be okay because I was so hurt. But that hurt fades over time, you will focus more on the good times with the wisdom that this person was not the one for you.

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  3. "You don't have to stay friends with everyone forever. Life takes its course and people part ways. It's evolution."

    So true. And some people refuse to evolve and try to drag you down out of jealousy and insecurity when they see you change for the better. When that happens, you know it's time to take stock, be grateful for the lessons learned and move on.

    I'm not surprised he should let on that you married the rebound boyfriend. Sour grapes, anyone?:) Good for you for taking it in your stride. I'm glad you had that closure. I did the same with my ex. He accepted to meet me after 12 years, a few weeks after I got married (I think his wife is the jealous type and that to her, a married ex is less threatening than an unmarried ex living with her future husband in a house they've bought together). That was just before I moved overseas in 2010. I had stuff to give him. It was very sweet. And I think it was the last time. Haven't heard from him since (he used to send me pics of his children and regular updates, but now, nada). Think I won't anymore because I'm living with someone else the life we planned on living together while his new life is nothing like that. Oh well. I wish him well:)

    You feel serene because you've found a stability on the personal and professional levels and have figured out where you want life to take you:) It's great that you got married, but if you didn't feel grounded professionally, you'd still be restless, husband or not.

    Hope you have fun plans for the weekend!:))

    Bisous xxx:))

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    1. Hey Duchesse!

      You said it perfectly. Not everyone likes to see you change and it's exhausting trying to justify yourself to people unwilling to except your evolution, almost like it's a character fault.

      Once it's confirmed that there are no old feelings for an ex, I think it's healthy to be able to check in once in a while. I have been lucky because all of my exes have been open to, or have even encouraged keeping in touch with me (and some of their wives too!). I guess I can't be as crazy as they say because if anyone has seen my nutty side, it's been these dudes. I cringe sometimes... : )

      I hope you had a lovely weekend and had that kir out on the balcony!! : )

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  4. My first though was " and they all lived happily ever after".

    What a wonderful reflection of your marriage that you can both meet exes and there is no jealousy or insecurity. And how great you can now see from the happiness of that marriage that he was not the one for you or you for him.

    Bon weekend and bon vie to you all

    Love Denise


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    1. Hey Denise!

      No, there was no weird jealousy or insecurities about seeing our exes, which a lot of people asked us. I was actually supposed to go to his ex lunch, but it happened to fall on my "Date" so it didn't work out.

      I feel like it truly was closure on an old story. It felt very final which I'm pleased about. : )

      I hope you had a nice weekend!

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  5. girl you are SUCH a good writer! this had me so drawn in! i'm very happy that you had your closure, we all need it, and that you're happily loving the present!

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    1. Awww, thank you. Wow!

      Yes, I have moved on and that back story now seems like a weird dream I had in Paris. Never thought I'd say that given how much it consumed me!

      Thanks again Marissa!

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  6. Sounds like a very good ending. I agree about staying casual acquaintance with exes... I've at least had a couple of check in type conversations with mine as well. Like you said, they were once a best friend.

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    1. Hi Laura! Wow long time! So nice to hear from you! I had been wondering about your situation, I remember you had posted about it some time ago.

      Yeah, I think after some time has passed and it's best to just bury the hatchet. I know I wasn't a total angel in our relationship and it worked out for the best, so why harbor hurt feelings?

      Thanks for dropping a note, and again, really it was nice to hear from you!

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  7. Did he not cancel on you a while back after hearing about the upcoming marriage? Glad he (and everyone!) is being so mature about it now & it went well. Same for Aurélien I guess?

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    1. No, he just didn't really want to see or talk to me. It was probably for the best. Last autumn was super hectic that it would have added another element of emotion that I probably did not need.

      Yep, Aurelien's rdv with his ex went well and she and her new boyfriend gave us this super cute red heart-shaped umbrella. I'll post a photo the next time it rains (which I hope is NEVER!)

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    2. I can't even picture a heart-shaped umbrella, so please do! Personally, I want it to rain at night, because it's too damn hot to sleep. And then sunny and not humid in the day. Please arrange that for me ;)

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  8. I don't know why but as soon as I started reading this I knew he would say that! His jealousy and insecurity made him do it. D**k.
    And for the record, when us women reach a certain age, we know when the one, is the one because we've been to the circus, we've seen the freak show.

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    1. We certainly have seen the freak show and once we get someone good, we don't need to "wait and see". Luckily Aurelien felt the same way!

      I think he thought I was going to wait and that we would do our "dance" for at least another year. I was 29 when this was all happening and the power of pushing 30 was way stronger than my feelings for him. Who wants to be freshly 30 and in a non-committal unhealthy relationship with your ex-fiance?? Not me!

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  9. Ha, ex-day, love it! So why did the cafe close? Did you ever learn, or was he too busy trying to massage his ego? ;o)

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    1. Why restaurants always close: money! It was probably for the best, now I can wander the Marais drama-free!! : )

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  10. Perfectly written and since I wasn't around for season 1, I feel like I must go back and read!

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