Well, it’s over. Or shall I say, it’s been over for quite some time. The wounds have healed, but with your luck and the small world that we live in, you are bound to run into an ex. You’ve always known the day would happen. It was inevitable – it always is. You may have gone months or years without seeing them, but it will happen and it will happen when you least expect it.
Even if you are living in one of the largest metropolitan cities of the world, you still happen to run into someone you use to date despite never having crossed social circles. You wouldn’t even consider yourself to have dated many people in the last couple of years, but nonetheless – it is a constant. Whether it was a serious break up or a confusing fling, you manage to see them, or sometimes their friends. Nowhere is safe. Not your favorite restaurant, not your train stop, not even the tourist locations that bring in thousands upon thousands of people a day.
You will run into them, and you can’t quite prepare for what your reaction will be the minute your mind realizes that they are standing in front of you. They are right there within whisper distance, and your immediate reaction will always be completely unpredictable. This is the first time you have seen them since you ended your relationship. Or perhaps you have seen them since, but it was planned and you were prepared and everything was transactional. It doesn’t matter if it is the first or second or twelfth time you have seen them since breaking up; it doesn’t matter at all. They might be alone, they might be with their friends, or they might be with the person that they left you for. But in the end, it doesn’t matter because you can prepare all you want and you still won’t know how to react.
When you have finally moved past the worst parts of a breakup, you start to get an idea in your head about what it would be like to accidentally run into that person again. What they look like, your reaction, the conversation that you will have has all been imagined in your head. You rehearse scenarios and your speech that you would say to demonstrate that not only are you over them, but you are fabulous and are better than ever. You brace yourself for the day where you know you’re going to see them (but don’t). You mentally prepare for what exactly could possibly happen on that fateful day that you run into them, so that you are not taken by surprise. But the thing is, you always are.
Your hands might shake, you might choke on your spit, stopping dead in your tracks over the fact that they actually still exist. You might run away and hide from them. You might text your friends or call your mom right away. You might just ignore them.
Or, you might just say hello.
You might just say hello and it will be wonderful and happy. You will be able to catch up like old times and act totally normal. That would be ideal, but you can never really quite know what is going to happen until it does.
And then comes the aftershock. Did you really just see them? Did someone who you used to talk to all day, every day for months or even years just disappear in your life and then all of a sudden reappear in front of you? And it was…nice? Or was it? You see, you might keep your cool and play out your rehearsed reaction to seeing them. You might give them a whole list of facts about your life that prove that you have been having the best time since leaving them or since they left you. Maybe you handle it like a rock star. Regardless, you can’t quite prepare for what you feel afterwards.
That unpredictable flood of emotions comes rushing in. Are you mad? Happy? Do you miss them? Are you sad? Do you find yourself holding back tears, but also wanting to throw up and dance from joy all at the same time? The epitome of mixed emotions just takes over. It is a matter of heartache and relief and exhaustion all rolled into a few moments in time. And the feeling might linger on for longer than those few moments after you say goodbye. It might leave you in a funk, it might leave you longing or frustrated that you haven’t found someone else to dwell on.
There is really only thing you can know for sure, and that is that this is all temporary. It was a fleeting moment in time, and it might happen again…but it will get better with each time. Because you have lived through it – you survived! Think of it as a way for you to further move on from your past, grow into a more mature person, and live your life without worry that you will see someone that brings uneasiness into your life. The anticipation and the mixed emotions don’t last forever. You move on again, but this time a little more easily, for this was just a few moments in time. It was a simple hello, a conversation, a welcoming hug from your past. Embrace that.