After three years I like to think that the ghost of my former fiancé would stay where he belongs, deeply buried in a past life I only revisit when I come across the aborted remnants of the wedding that never was in my parents’ closet. (Which is how chapter 13 of my biography would start if the tragic Zelda Fitzgerald were to write it.) Yet he seems to keep popping up as though he were a mole in a perennial arcade game. The most recent manifestation of this romantic apparition occurred a couple of weeks ago when I received an e-mail informing me that he would be in town and would like me to meet him for coffee. A response was not required. I simply had to show up so he could apologize (again). Oh and he left me with this loaded song to ruminate on in the interim (subtle no?).
Needless to say I chose to decline the meeting by way of no reply. The unexpected invitation didn’t affect me much more than a tinge of annoyance. Then, shortly after the appointed meeting time, my apartment buzzer rang. Immediately I felt a cool layer of sweat form on skin that was somehow now three shades lighter than my winter tone. I began formulating angry diatribes about the level of disrespect and selfishness one must possess to show up unannounced and unwanted to invade the quiet sanctuary of a former flame’s home. He’s not above this. He’s done it before. Though he doesn’t know where I live now, he has reconnected with people who may be inclined to share my latest location. After a few moments the buzzer seemed to be a misdial, but I didn’t want to risk it so I took to St. Paul, seeking refuge at a friend’s home.
Over the course of the weekend, five unanswered e-mails made their way to my inbox. Some imploring me to dig deep down and find a part of me that misses him—not to be callous, but this part simply does not exist on any level—and another offering up a second chance to meet for a face-to-face apology. The final e-mail explained that he was only seeking to help me with a full-contact “I’m sorry” and the “best part of his life was with me.” Knowing his penchant for overly dramatic statements designed to manipulate, I didn’t take it too seriously. Still it made me wonder how two people in one relationship could have such paradoxical experiences.
My time in that relationship was honestly the worst part of my life. I know that sounds like the rash, bitter sentiments of an ex, but these wounds aren’t fresh. My consideration of the matter was actually quite removed and analytical. I wouldn’t alter that point in my life because, as true as any cliché can be, it made me who I am today. I barely resemble the person I was when I was with him. And I will never be that person again. The person I am today is infinitely better than the weak girl I was (if I may so humbly say so myself). I put that fragile being away with the box of letters, flowers, stuffed monkeys and photos that I closed up in the final moments of our toxic relations.
Just as that box doesn’t need to be opened again, I don’t need to return to that time in my life for any reason. No matter how much he insists that the mea culpas over coffee are for my benefit, I know he has no idea what would benefit me. He didn’t then and he sure as hell doesn’t now. Hopefully, he recognizes this and I won’t have to live in this uncomfortable, inexplicable limbo every time he journeys into town.