Seeing Your Ex

There they are on the crowded street like a hallucination in the pregnant air. You are immediately hit by a bolt of anxiety while the word “fuck” skips over and over in your head like a roughed up CD. Your first impulse is to toss yourself into the nearby alley, but it’s too far gone. They see you. You are two bar magnets simultaneously attracted and repelled by each other, north and south poles wildly confused. The sweltering tension as you approach each other climaxes in a, “Hi.”

Then, an awkward conversation bumbles along in an effort to disregard the coffin of memories anchoring every word. You brandish your shield, calling to arms everything in your reserve in a noticeably forced bluff of contentment. You uneasily shake hands or hug as if you’ve lost all knowledge of how to hug. And you continue along the filthy sidewalk, treading over cracks as you are struck with murky emotions of nostalgia.

It’s a near-death ordeal where brain activity surges and a mashup of all your memories with that person plays on and on and on through invisible earphones. You can’t shut the music off. It crescendos and you remember every nondescript detail. The way you changed hand positions when you went on walks together, sometimes intertwined, sometimes palms diagonally overlapping. The way you couldn’t grasp how this person you’re so in love with could actually like the medicinal taste of kale. The way you held their face or stared up at them anticipating a moment of vulnerability. The way they touched your leg under a table filled with your friends and how that small gesture gave you a profound feeling of support.

It is then that a decrescendo occurs and a cold stream runs through you as you remember that monumental fight you two got into, retreating into your corners of the ring, waiting for the other to send the first SOS, the first apology, the first admittance of wrongdoing. The way you felt at first and the way your relationship crawled towards a routine complacency, dispiritedly trying to regain that electric current of the initial few months when time was irrelevant. The way you both wanted different things in life, but kept an ongoing, unspoken mantra that you were bound by something stronger than your own selfishness.

It was like any other relationship of both positive and negative charges. Just like any other.

And suddenly, it’s all over. You start thinking about your own life again, your present problems and the fact that you need to buy Parmesan if you want to actually enjoy that spaghetti you plan on eating. The memories evaporate. Who you were and that particular stage of your life recedes back into the depths of you, laid to rest in a place with no gravestone; a place you will visit less and less because, no matter how much effort, you can’t resuscitate the past. TC mark


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  • Michael Koh

    why don’t you troll them

  • Laurenk

    I liked the ending a l0t

  • tkid

    well put

  • Sara

    “now you’re just somebody that i used to know’ 
    get on the “Gotye” if you haven’t already. You’d like it OP.

    • Sara

  • Sara

    “now you’re just somebody that i used to know’ 
    get on the “Gotye” if you haven’t already. You’d like it OP.

  • Wdeanis

    This happened to me once (not an ex bf, we were more fuck buddies til he decided he was “still interested in girls”, false). I was so embarassed when he broke it off and was hung up on him for a long time. One day while I was working at Pottery Barn in the mall, I went to a stock room by way of back corridors customers don’t see, and I popped out in a random place in the mall and actually ran into him. Me in my dirty PBarn outfit, he in his Vineyard Vines with his mother who didn’t know he was gay and his boyfriend who didn’t know he was “straight”. This is post-college btw and I had a full time job and helped at PB with the heavy lifting on wknds, but he just saw me wandering the mall looking sweaty and gross (did you know the Pottery Barn stock uniform is a black shirt with khakis and tennis shoes?) And when he asked what I was doing nowadays, his mom said “obviously he’s a mall worker…”. Ouch, my pride.

  • Marcus Halberstram

    This was great. The same thing happened to me on the street the other day. The “oh, fuck” going through my head was even more amplified because I was walking down the street with a new girlfriend on my arm and still had to stop and exchange false pleasantries.

    At least the new girl is cuter, so I WIN!

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  • A C

    Wow this was REALLY well written…one of the best pieces I’ve read on this site!

  • melissa

    :( this made me sad. whole article is so true very true though. just officially broke up from a loooong time relationship  about 3 months ago. sucks but gotta move on i guess :*(

  • Mark

    This is a very real and descriptive written piece.  Good writing.

  • Use2BDCSD

    As a Fillipino, previously deceased, trans-specied mormon, I find this article highly offensive.

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