One of the healthiest things you can say about anything that’s over and done with is “okay, that happened.” Unless, of course, you’re talking about a stretch in a World War II concentration camp or something equally ghastly. Otherwise you have to be accepting, past it. Especially when it comes to ex-girlfriends. We went there, it happened, nobody was right or wrong, that was then and we’re here now…let’s get a coffee and catch up.
All my life I’ve been friends with exes, or have at least been open to same. And they’ve been open to ease and friendship with me. Except for one.
She was (and most likely still is) a whipsmart blonde with a great ass, a toothy smile and a kind of young Katharine Hepburn vibe. She’d been raised in Brooklyn but always reminded me of a Fairfield County gal.
She’s married now and living in Pasadena; her husband — a slightly stocky, gray-haired guy of some means — doesn’t resemble me or her first husband (a doobie-toking small-business owner who owned a Harley) at all. Whatever attributes or nice qualities he’s brought to the table, he’s clearly a swing away from the past.
I gave up trying to be in touch with her 11 years ago, or towards the end of Barack Obama’s first term. She really wants to erase that part of her life — the first marriage (which began in the summer of ’96) and the affair with me that began in early ’98 and lasted two and two-thirds years, ending in late September 2000.
We last spoke in ’12. The most emotionally significant thing that happened before that was her friending me on Facebook, but what is that?
Our thing began at the ’98 Sundance Film Festival and finally ran out of gas in late ’00 when her husband found out.
I took the hurt and the lumps. I was dropped six or seven times. It was easily the most painful and frustrating relationship of my life. Whether things were good or bad between us was entirely about her shifting moods. Her father had been a philanderer when she was fairly young and this had caused a lot of family pain, so she felt badly about following in his footsteps. But she kept coming back and oh, the splendor.
The bottom line, obviously, is that she’s not at ease with having been a beloved infidel in the waning days of the Clinton administration. Easing up and looking back by way of occasional contact or e-mails just isn’t a comfortable thing for her.
I could write a Russian novel about what happened during our fractured romance. I once flew to NYC just to hang with her for a couple of days without the nearby presence of her husband. Toward the end we had a blissful rendezvous in Las Vegas.
But when all is said and done I’m basically a Woody Allen type of guy — the heart wants what it wants and all’s fair. Even if nothing hurts quite as badly as being the on-and-off boyfriend of a not-very-married woman.
But I’m past it. I’m not sorry it happened. And I’ve always liked her besides. She’s smarter than me. And a good judge of character, more practical, more planted, etc. But I’m deeper, stronger in terms of handling rough seas, and a better writer.