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My Ex

I met him at four o’clock. We started dating at five o’clock. It was love at first sight, boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, girl falls for boy, boy asks girl out, girl says yes while squealing with delight. This was something I had always wanted, always dreamed about. I craved my own fairy tale, and now it was all mine.

He was the kind of guy everyone dreamed about, dark hair, dark eyes, tall, fit, and a voice that made my heart melt. I knew I wanted him, and I knew every other girl within a mile radius wanted him too. Only difference between me and all those other girls: he wanted me above all of them. Me! Someone who had never been really wanted, never really sought after. That was all to change from now on.

I was psyched. To have seduced someone after only an hour of knowing them had to mean I had some kind of skill. Either that or he was trying to use me. But he wasn’t. He was one of those people that one could look into their eyes and see everything that was behind them. What was there was all good, and not enough of a brain to carry out such a mean and sick plan.

The honeymoon phase came and went fast. For a moment, all I wanted was him. After he left, and the spell broken, I had felt like I was seeing the light for the very first time. I knew what I really wanted, and he wasn’t it. Next time I saw him, I decided, I would break it off. He probably felt the same way. After all, we had only just met. How could we know we were right for one another?

He found me a few days later, smiling like only someone did when they were in love. At first I didn’t realize he was smiling for me, I thought he must have found someone else, someone that he had known for a while and really started to like. But when he sat down on the ground next to me and looked at me with a look a puppy would give its owner, I knew I was in trouble. I knew I would have to break this off now, so as to not hurt him any longer.

“Look,” I said when we were alone. “I really think we should refrain from dating until we know more about each other.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” he said, a look of confusion on his face. I had hoped I wouldn’t have to spell this out for him.

“I just think this all happened a little too fast,” I said, trying desperately to have him take the hint. “We only knew each other an hour before you asked me out.”

“Well, yeah, isn’t that good?” he asked, still confused. My head let out a silent groan.

“Yeah, it was great, but maybe we should slow things down a bit, you know, get to know each other.” Maybe if I repeated myself enough, like a teacher to an ignorant student, he would finally understand what I was trying to say.

“Can’t we get to know each other while we date?” he asked, protesting our breakup.

“Look, I’m the first person to say dating is getting to know each other better, but I think we should still know basic information first.”

“What do you want me to know? Tell me right now, give me a crash course,” he said, eager to learn. At any other time, I would have been glad to see such an emotion in a student. But not now.

“No, not like that,” I said, trying to find the right words. “More time needs to pass first.” Why was he not getting this?

“But why?”

“Because this all happened too fast and I don’t even know why you asked me out in the first place!” I spoke quickly, my voice rising, and I had no way of controlling the changing of the volume.

Only at this moment had I noticed a few of our friends hiding behind the corner of the hallway we were in. They knew they had been spotted, so they ran in the other direction, squealing all the way. I sighed. Now we were really alone. We continued to walk, away form everyone else, so we could finally finish our conversation.

“I asked you out so I wouldn’t get caught in the friend zone,” he said honestly.

“Well, you’re out of the friend zone,” I said, smiling sheepishly. I could never think of him as just a friend after this. And maybe in the future…but, either way, the future was not now. “But can we just be friends for now, just until we have known each other for a bit longer?”

“Yeah, sure,” he replied, trying to please me. I had always wanted someone to do that, but now that I had it I realized it wasn’t what I expected it to be. I sighed with relief, thinking it was over.

“But why can’t we date until then?” he asked, putting us back to square one.

I exhaled loudly, realizing that I was going to have to tell him the real reason I didn’t want to be tied down in a relationship, the only way I was going to make him finally get it.

“Look, I’m sorry I have to say this, but, there’s someone else in the picture right now, and I need to work things out with them first.”

He was silent for a minute. I thought he was preparing to explode on me, to scream that I was an awful creature. I would have deserved it. I should have never given him any reason to believe there could ever really be something between us when I knew that there wouldn’t be.

He didn’t yell. He didn’t scream. He spoke very calmly, not angry at all.

“It’s that guy I saw you with, isn’t it?” he asked, the way my best friend would have spoken had I been with her at this exact moment. I was grateful he was taking this route instead of sulking away, leaving me to feel awful.

“Yes, it’s him,” I said, feeling myself blush just the littlest bit. I hoped he wouldn’t notice, but of course I could never be so lucky.

“You should tell him,” he said, smiling at me reassuringly. I marveled at the irony of my recently ex boyfriend telling me I should go after another guy. I was about to tell him I had tried taking his advice not long ago and chickened out for fear of rejection, but I held my tongue. No need to try to make him jealous. I wanted to make this as painless as possible for him, as well as myself.

“I don’t know, I’ll see,” was all I said. “Anyway, I’m sorry about all of this.”

“Don’t be, it’s okay. I saw the way you were looking at your friend there anyway.”

“Yeah, too bad he doesn’t give me the same look,” I said, letting out a few quiet laughs. He gave me a look then, perhaps one saying ‘don’t be so sure’ but I couldn’t be positive. I would have to find out the truth of that later. For now, all I cared about was ending on a good note with my now ex, giving us at least a bit of dignity to walk away with.

He opened his arms out to me, signaling he wanted a hug. We hadn’t hugged while we were dating. We didn’t have a lot of physical contact. I decided I owed him that much, and sank into his arms. I buried my head into his chest for a second before I let go. I could sense his arms wanting to linger around me, but I didn’t want to give him any more wrong ideas.

“Look, can we try to change the subject with all your friends around? I don’t want them all talking about us,” he said when there was a bit of space in between us once again.

“Sure. Let’s let them think we’re still dating,” I said, seeing the opportunity for an acting exercise.

“How?” I put out my arm.

“Take my hand.”

He complied, and we walked like that down the hallway, back to where I knew they would all be waiting. I let my hand drop when we reached them, but I made sure they got a good look.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered again before they were close enough to hear.

“It’s cool,” he said back.

I had to leave soon after, so I had to give a final goodbye to my ex. I could already tell he was going to be ‘accidently’ finding me a lot soon enough, but for now I couldn’t think that far ahead. Besides, what did it matter if he did that? There was nothing wrong with talking to someone. I would just have to be sure he didn’t get the wrong idea. And besides, I still had someone else I needed to talk to first. I put that thought into my minds as I walked away, leaving my ex in the distance.





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