First published in the Santa Barbara Sentinel under the pen name, Elizabeth Rose.
It was a year since we had seen each other.
A whole year of mending a broken heart, meeting new people, dating, moving past our relationship, and getting back to normal.
Or so I thought.
Two weeks prior, it was brought to my attention by his parents (also my meditation teachers) that he was coming back in town from his teaching gig in China to take care of some business and he would like to connect.
My first word when I heard the news was, “Why?”
Why did he have to come back to my town?
A slightly rude response but I couldn’t help it.
Out-of-sight-out-of-mind had done me well so far.
After our breakup, he wanted to stay in touch but I couldn’t.
It was too hard.
An email or text from him was a reminder of what never was.
The feeling of rejection would overcome me and self-doubt and sadness would follow.
After comprehending he was, in fact, coming back, I put on my big-girl pants to face my fears.
I emailed him about meeting up and he responded in an instant.
We were to meet for a “walk and talk” at the beach in Carpinteria, CA.
Seeing him would be the closure I needed.
If anything, that’s what I needed the most.
We met a few days later, and it was actually nice.
Small chat turned into discussions of our relationship and the inevitable breakup.
It was genuine and kind.
More than that, it was liberating to be on the “other side” of seeing him.
The best part was the desire to be together was nonexistent.
Had I done it? Am I over him?, I wondered.
As we went our separate ways, he asked to meet again before he left town, and I agreed.
After all, now that we had seen each other, it would be fine.
Just two people catching up on life. Simple as that.
I ignored the little voice inside that knew otherwise.
Several days later, he came over for dinner.
I wanted to show him my house and how much it had changed.
I wanted to show him how much I had changed (though looking back, I was only trying to prove this to myself).
As I prepared dinner, I was confident.
This lasted a good thirty minutes.
As he pulled into the driveway, my heart dropped to my feet.
My throat tightened and the butterflies in my stomach were so strong it almost hurt.
I was mad at myself for feeling this way.
Why are you not over this?!
I felt defeated.
He came inside and I began rambling, dropping things, and acting like a nervous fool.
The worst part?
I told him I was nervous.
I was uncomfortable and a little weirded out.
As we chatted, my mind raced.
How could I still have feelings for him?
I was frustrated and exhausted by the emotional torment.
He wasn’t the same person I remembered, but neither was I.
The last time he was at my home, we were in a relationship.
That was the difference.
That’s why it wasn’t the same.
He said he was leaving the next day at 8 am to head back to China.
I was happy and sad to hear the news, but I needed to get back to my “normal life” knowing he wouldn’t be around.
I walked him to the door and he turned to give me a big hug.
“Let’s keep in touch,” he said as he waved goodbye.
I cried twice after we met.
Once when I spoke to my mom and the other, to my sister.
My sister made me feel better, as only a sister can, with a good laugh to help dry my tears.
I just needed to cry it out again to finally move on.
At least, I hope so.