Okay, now that I’ve given you that tid-bit of important back-ground information, I’ll begin today’s post:
Today, Amanda called me to see if I was interested in joining her for lunch. I was hungry, she was hungry, and so we agreed to meet at a new burger joint that just opened up not too far from her house and my work.
Lunch was delightful. Good food, good conversation, and it’s Friday, so really, what’s not to enjoy? Plus, lunch means the work day is half over, and that is also a very, very good thing.
We were almost done with our meals and I was sitting there listening to Amanda tell me about this total bridezilla who just married her best friend’s brother-in-law, when all of a sudden I look out the window across the parking lot and notice a very familiar man walking with a girl. The two were obviously together, and headed towards the very eating establishment in which Amanda and I were enjoying our lunch. Normally this kind of thing wouldn’t alarm me, except for the fact that there was something horribly familiar about the guy. And then, as quickly as a brain freeze strikes to ruin a wonderfully creamy, icy milkshake, I figured it out.
I could feel the adrenaline rush. My cheeks flooded with color, my breath quickened, and in one gasp of air, I interrupted Amanda’s story to say “OH MY GOD, that’s Brian and his wife and they’re walking into this place to have lunch and holy crap I can’t believe that’s really him and they are coming here holy shit I haven’t seen him in forever and he's totally fat now.”
Yes, I know that’s a run on sentence. I’m just glad I didn’t have a mouth full of food when I tried to say all that, because I had to get it out in the one short breath I had inhaled BEFORE they walked into the doors where I risked my verbal spewage being overheard by the very people in which I was discussing. The next little bit of our conversation went something like this:
Amanda: Brian…Brain? (She looks out the window and I could see her trying to figure out a Brian we both knew and then like a bag of rocks, it hit her) BRIAN? AS IN... BRIAN BRIAN?
Me: Yes, Brian. As in Brian Brian. As in CANCER, SCUBA Brian. (Brian was in the scuba diving class Amanda taught years ago).
Amanda: (still looking out the window, our eyes both glued to the round figure approaching the facility) That’s not Brian. That guy is fat!
Me: That IS Brian. He’s put on about 50 lbs, but it IS Brian. Look!
Amanda: No way!
Me: Oh yes way. I know because I randomly stumbled upon his wife’s blog one day, don't ask me how, and she has all these pictures of them on it and THAT.IS.Brian. Yes, he's now fat! HE’S FAT AND THAT’S HIM!
Amanda: Wow, I can’t believe that’s Brian.
They walk in the doors and both of us immediately stiffen up and stare at each other in anticipation of what could (but won't) happen next.
Me: DON'T LOOK! (We’re in a booth and I’m currently facing the doors and Amanda’s back is to the doors. In order to see him, she would have to turn around which would create attention, which would alarm Brian that we were there. Brian would have totally recognized her from Scuba should he see her and then he’d know for sure that I was me and I didn't want that. I wanted the luxury of watching him without him knowing I was, because, did I mention he got fat? Fat as in REALLY FREAKIN' FAT?! And, I wanted to check out his pudgy wife, too. Call it mean, I call it being honest, and you'd do the same thing too).
Me: OH MY GOD Don’t LOOK!
Amanda: (turns around) I can’t believe that’s him.
Me: Do you think he'd recognize me?
Amanda: Totally, you don't look all that different.
Me: (I’m watching him through my sun glasses which I had put on earlier, thank God, because the sun was shining through our window). Oh shit, he’s looking at me. I wonder if he really will recognize me considering I haven't changed all that much....um, he's looking...I think he knows it’s me. Oh yeah, he knows it's me. Okay he looked away. Wait no, he’s looking again. Okay crap he really does know it’s me.
Amanda: Shut up. He does?
Me: Yeah, he does. Oh wait, now he’s saying something to his wife. I think he's telling her that he wants to leave. Hahaha he totally wants to leave! Yup, he’s turning to leave. Okay he just walked out the door.
Amanda: No way.
Me: But wait a second, he walked out but his wife didn’t. What in the ...??? Okay wait! He just walked back in! He’s saying something else to her. She's looking at me. Maybe she just naturally glanced at me. He's probably telling her that he wants to leave cuz it’s too crowded. Yeah, she doesn’t know me so I doubt he’s telling her his ex girlfriend is here. And I doubt that he ever told her that he lied to me about all that cancer bullshit.
Amanda: I can’t believe he’s going to leave. What a pansy.
Me: Yup, they both just walked out.
Amanda: He totally recognized you.
Me: I think so, too.
And then, with their backs to us, they walked back from whence they came. The entire time they were walking to their car Amanda and I sat there starring out the window discussing how fat he is, how his wife probably has no clue what a liar he is, and how it’s too bad they didn’t stay so I could walk up to him and say “Well hey there Brian. So, turns out that stomach cancer of yours treated you pretty well… a little too well eh?” But then again, I probably wouldn't have because that would have been, well, immature (and I'm all about acting my age these days).
You see, Brian was the first person I’d ever really fallen in love with. And, ironically, he was the first person (and actually only person) to ever break my heart. Twice. First with the whole cancer crap (which was a total lie but I didn’t know at the time, so I spent an entire month in agony over it), and second with the end of our relationship (which happened while I was still under the impression he had cancer). He told me he didn’t want to put me through all of the cancer stress because it just wouldn't be fair of him to ask that of me. And because he didn’t have very long in terms of time, it was best to not waste my time. I cringe now, even as I write this six years later).
Oh, and his timing totally sucked. It was like an episode from Sex and the City. He broke up with me the day before I was supposed to go to my best friend’s wedding shower. Even though I was a bride's maid and SHOULD be there, I couldn’t manage to muster up the energy to go. I wanted to be happy for my friend, and even though I felt guilty about not going, I was totally miserable and knew I wouldn't be able to stomach a place full of happy wedding wishes. That's like the last place you want to be when someone rips your heart out of your chest for the first time and cuts it into a million little pieces without a care in the world. I did make it to her wedding a few weeks later (thank goodness considering I was in it), but I wasn’t out of the heart-ache clear.
I spent the next six months trying to get over Brian. I cried all the time, found it hard to date, and just didn’t have the same energy for dating that I had before meeting him. I became skeptical of every guy. But the most horrible part was that just when I'd take a step forward in the healing process, I’d have this random dream about him which would leave me to think about him all the next day, thus taking several steps back. This went on and on until finally one night I had a dream where my grandmother (who passed away in ’94) came to me and said “Michelle, everything is going to be okay. You just need to have patience with yourself and with love. Everything will work out. Patience.” And since that night, I haven’t had one dream about that worthless piece of crap who calls himself a human being.
Months after the whole ordeal, I received an apology email from him. But I was actually robbed of having any sympathy for him when he admitted that he’d lied about having cancer. Then he had the nerve to ask me if he had “turned me off from men” in the hopes that he hadn’t because I am “a beautiful person who deserves to find someone wonderful” and how truly sorry he was for everything.
I never did write him back. By then I'd finally accepted that he wasn't worth my time.
Isn’t it funny how after six years of wondering what happened (because as much as you may not want to think about the “what if’s” and the “whatever happened to’s” you can’t seem to avoid the human nature of curiosity) the stars aligned just perfectly so, and I was given a glimpse into the life of a person who, at one time, seemed so significant?
I’m thrilled with the outcome of today's lunch.
Not only is Brian nothing to be desired from a physical standpoint, his wife (who come to find out, he broke up with me for) isn’t either. AND, I love the fact that he didn’t have the balls to stand in line, order his meal, and sit is pudgy little self down to eat it. After all this time, he still hasn’t become the person I once thought he was capable of being. If anything, he proved himself right given the line he fed me six years ago: I'm better off without him.
I love my husband. I’m crazy, madly, and hopelessly in love with my husband. I was this morning, and I still am after this encounter, and I will be tomorrow as well. In fact, on my way back to work I called Michael and told him all about it. I think he enjoyed hearing my story as much as I enjoyed telling it.
They say it’s the little things that count, and today was just a little, but significant reminder, of just how lucky I am. Lucky that once there was a boy who taught me assholes exist. Lucky that once there was a boy who broke my heart. Lucky because now there is a man. And in loving him, my heart will never be broken again.