You had played the moment in your head time and time again. Watched the scene with perfectly clarity from start to finish. How you would feel, what you might say. “Do you think I will ever meet him?” he asked once. You never answered.
The person who loved you more than anything in the entire world, meeting the person you love more than anything in the entire world. The ex-boyfriend of many years, meeting the man you will marry. He was with his new girlfriend; someone you know. Neither of them knew quite how to react. The chance of meeting was so small. Over an hour away from home, in a tiny liquor store, on the 4th of July. Should they smile? Look away? Pretend they don’t see you and your Thor-esque counterpart?
But this is where you shine. And he should know that already. It is part of what he always loved about you. No level of social discomfort will make you regret the decision you made. Your happiness and well-being have increased ten-fold since the two of you parted way, and you are certain he can see it in your eyes. He truly lost the war.
Somehow the moment you always dreaded becomes the most liberating thirty seconds of your life. Your introductions are simple, “This is Jared.” As if he doesn’t already know. As if he hasn’t read every article, every stat sheet, every casual writing of this man’s name. As if didn’t lie awake night after night wondering what you see in him, and why you love him so much.
In a way, you want to hug him. To tell him that you are happy he has moved on. Remind him that you always said his now-girlfriend was way too into him. But he won’t look at you as he hurriedly places his things in the trunk. He would rather climb through the trunk into the driver’s seat than shake the man who you love’s hand.
And you don’t push it. You have no reason to add further misery to his day. He without a doubt ran to his family and friends and spread the word. “He was wearing his hair in a half ponytail!” “I never noticed how broad her shoulders were.” “I’m better off without her.” The last one is a stretch, but you hope he said it. You’re sure his angry mother did. You hope he feels that way, because you know for certain for a long time that he did not.
What you do know for sure is that you feel lighter. You broke his heart, but here he was, standing in front of you, moving on. You won’t ever forget the memories you had together, but there is no reason to relive them either. You’re free.