The EX-FACTOR

SOMETIMES GOD SENDS AN EX BACK INTO YOUR LIFE TO SEE IF YOU’RE STILL STUPID

He was coming to town for a meeting and wanted to know if I could recommend a place to eat near his hotel.

The last time that happened, the requested recommendation involved, time spent together, dinner and really intense sex. We were both with other partners during that time , but I would hesitate to call those few times we spent together , an affair.

We met in the 80’s, I was in my mid thirties once married and divorced and the single mother of a Black male child.I had just landed my first really big job and he was the consultant on the project I was responsible for managing. My passion for work quickly turned into a blind passion for him. I was sure he was the one, my soulmate, my second chance around, at least according to Shalimar. He was smart, handsome and very aware of the complicated politics at my new organization. I needed him , it was a sign . He was recently divorced and as a result, emotionally unavailable to me.

My insecurities and self doubt made me desperately crave his love and approval. The more I desired and pursued him , the more withholding he became. I shamelessly chased him, I called him endlessly, begged him to spend time with me. I was so obsessed with him that I could not see that he was unable or at least unprepared to give me what I needed to be able to realize the dream of a “happily ever after”. My persistence and adoration made it impossible for him to resist , he was a mere mortal after all. So after several years of a on again, off again situation-ship , we moved in together and played with the idea of marriage. I shopped for a dress, even in the absence of a formal proposal or an engagement ring. It took a year of therapy to strip me of all my illusions and of him. This was the most difficult breakup of my life. I did not think I would be able to breathe without him, love could not be possible without him. I could go on, I was a bit of a drama Queen back then.

I have had to bring the drama queen in me, under control. I was afraid that she was just one bad relationship away from being featured on an episode of Fatal Attraction on TV One But boy do I miss her at times.

So today, the less dramatic version of me, recommended several restaurants and asked what time was his flight back to Atlanta, old habits die hard., don’t judge me. The thought of our being in the same city at the same time still made me a little, ok, a lot crazy. He said, “Friday afternoon”, I replied,”too bad , maybe next trip you can buy me a drink and he said “maybe tomorrow”.We planned to meet, both of us aware that it would be the first time in over 25 years that we would were both legally and morally free to do so. Evidently neither one of us was ready or able or available emotionally. The next day, he texted his apologies, because of a change in his schedule, ” unfortunately”, he would not be able to see me, and suddenly all of those old feelings swept over me. I felt a little stupid that I let myself get so carried away after all this time and distance.I thought it was done, “water under bridges that had already burned”. Who knows, maybe there will be another next time to find out how far I am from stupid.