This is how it felt.

It all started because Aunt B had to move. Why, I’m not really sure. Either way, I’m at her house all the time. So we are driving up to her new house with he life up to this point in tow when my biggest nightmare came true. We park. I start to get anxious. I look around, no sign of him. We get out and start unloading everything. Unpack. Hours go by. SC keeps asking me what’s wrong. I’m staying in the house and praying that someone doesn’t come tell me what I already know. That The Ex is across the street. At his house.

I tell Aunt B, but I keep it from SC for now. I’m not ready to go there with him again, yet. I just don’t want The Ex to continue to come up in the middle of our relationship. I’m tired of it. It’s not his fault, I guess, this time. But I can’t help but hate him for it.

We actually hang out there for days before it happens. It’s somewhere around sunset when I see him. I walk outside into the garage where everyone’s playing pool and he’s out in his garage getting ready to mow the lawn. I see him flip his hair back from his eyes and I cringe. And then he sees me.

It’s like the whole world stops in the worst possible way. So, as everyone (aside from SC) starts to recognize that it’s him, I fake like I have to use the bathroom and run inside. I pull SC in with me and explain to him that Aunt B moved in across the street from The Ex. And that he’s out there right now. And I can tell that SC doesn’t know what to say or do.

So I freshen up, so that I obviously look like I’m so much better off without him, and SC sits in the recliner waiting for me to make the first move. And I wonder, is he waiting to test me? To see what I’ll do? Or is he just unsure of how I want to handle this? I don’t know.

Everyone starts to come inside, The Ex in tow, so that we can all “catch up”. My family doesn’t really understand the whole i-don’t-want-him-in-my-life thing. And all The Ex ever wanted out of our relationship was to be in MY family, so that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to keep from him. He can’t have my family without me in it.

So he walks in, I’m standing, and SC stands up out of the recliner. “The Ex, this is SC, my boyfriend, and SC, this is The Ex.” His name precedes him. The Ex doesn’t even know I have a boyfriend as far as I know. And right now is when I wish I had a ring on my finger more than ever. Right now is when I wish he’d just vanish forever.

That scene pretty much ends there, but The Ex doesn’t stop wreaking havoc on my life just yet. 

There was a playground at the school in the neighborhood. I saw him there one day as I was walking by, and I have no idea why I was walking by. I also have no idea why I stopped. But I did. I climbed up the slide and into the heart of that piece of metal. And we talked. We talked until the sun disappeared and the stars danced to the tune of our words. Never was there a sexual innuendo or twinge of jealousy. We weren’t trying to one up each other with our respective relationships. Turns out he’d ended his a while ago. But I still didn’t want to be with him. I no longer want my babies to look like this man I don’t even know. I don’t see him at the end of that aisle anymore. At one point or another, I was ready to leave this stranger behind and cuddle up next to my forever.

But it wasn’t over. It was about to get nightmarish all over again.

A few day later I went back to that same playground, hoping to sit there in peace for a while and collect my thoughts using all that good energy we left behind. He was there. But this time, he wasn’t alone. He was with my ex best friend. We were the three amigos in our senior year of high school. We actually called ourselves the tricycle. She was okay with being the third wheel, our half-girlfriend, in the relationship. I snuck up that slide hoping to surprise them, only to stop halfway when I heard their conversation.

It was always them. They always had this unspoken connection. I was in the way. She waited and waited and waited for us to be over so she could make her move. So he would be able to see her like that. He is who she wants in her forever. She loves him. They kiss. And I’m watching in the shadows.

I’m betrayed. I was the third wheel after all. Fate is a dirty whore.

SC sees me and calls me over. They realize I’m there. I run.

I sprint passed SC, tears streaming down my face. He looks dumbfounded.

He runs after me. He catches me. He tells me he’s not going anywhere, no matter what. And then he asks me to talk to him. All of the words start spilling out of me like lava. Destroying everything in their path. He thinks I’m still in love with The Ex. How can I tell him about the talk a few days ago now? It will only reinforce his conclusion, since I spent hours talking with my ex. But I tell him. And we talk. And we cry. And we talk until the sun streaks the sky. And somehow, he’s okay. We’re okay.

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