Last week, as I was watching the President give his final State of the Union address, I got a message. I happened to do one of those glances where you just sorta acknowledge that your phone vibrated, but immediately go back to what you were originally doing, so I thought my eyes were tricking me when I saw that it was my college ex who was reaching out to me. But it wasn’t a trick and after 4 years of silence and separation, he returned back into my life. Much like my favorite game to play at carnivals: Whack-A-Mole.
If you’re anything like me, you believe in the effects Mercury being in retrograde has on your everyday life. Your travel has been less than smooth, your phone or laptop is giving you the blues, and…exes reappear out of the woodwork. Now, I’ve had my most recent ex show up all the time, but not him. Not my college sweetheart. Not the ex that I watched slip away from me and fall in love with another woman right in front of my eyes (via social media). No, this ex was happy in life. This ex had found “The One.” This ex was engaged to be married. But here’s he is; telling me that he missed me and the friendship we once had.
I can’t lie, I missed his friendship, too. Before we even became romantically involved, we were two transfer college students who bonded in the basement over our discontent for our roommates. We would talk all night and walk to the cafeteria for waffles the next morning. We spent most of our first year really getting to know one another, playing Monopoly until the wee hours, studying, going to parties, and relaxing into what we defined as being young adults. That year ended with us becoming intimate, but ultimately me deciding that we should just keep it at a friend-level, because by then our friendship meant everything to me and I didn’t want to lose that. It would be another 18 months before I lowered my defense and became his girlfriend. I would remain his girlfriend for 5 years; my longest relationship to date. The day we broke up, my one wish was that we could remain friends, which wasn’t easy considering we now lived in separate states. But we made it work, even when I started a whole new relationship. He was there, until August 2012. That’s when he met the woman he would eventually call his “wife” and he bestowed on me a title that I still hold today: his ex.
But last week, he returned to me; bringing with him the promise of a rekindled friendship. He had been reminiscing lately on how close we were before he moved on. He wants me back in his life as a friend. Naturally, I’m cautious. Is he bored in his marriage? Does he REALLY miss me or am I just an escape? Have I matured and moved on enough that I can be JUST a friend to him? So far, that’s all that’s been happening; sending text messages here and there to each other. My friends are worried about me; they knew how I was when it was over. They held my hand and attempted to listen to me through short breaths and tears. Plus, none of them are friends with their ex; say it’s impossible because one person will always want more than the other. I’m taking a slightly less cynical approach to this. Right now, I’m just glad my friend is back. However long that may be.