three shitty hours at the great minnesota get-together

Yesterday Nate and I went to the State Fair, which for the most part I hate anyway, because a friend of ours, who lives so far up north that a bar she works at actually gets its electricity from a generator, was going to be working at a booth there and I wanted to see her. We paid our $9 each to get in, found her booth, and lo and behold, no friend. She'd left several hours earlier. So we called her to see what the story was. She was "sick" (translated: too hung over to deal with the smell of deep-fried cheese curds), but thought maybe we could get together later in the evening after she'd had a chance to recover. Her parting words were:

"Oh, and [Annie's ex-boyfriend] and [Annie's ex-roommate who also became ex-friend around the time she started having noisy sex with ex-boyfriend on a regular basis, forcing Annie to listen to VERY loud music even when trying to study] called me a little bit ago. So they're around there somewhere too. Watch out."


See, it had been about two and a half years since I'd spoken to either of them, and I was very much hoping to keep it that way. I wasted two years and eight months of my precious four years of college with [ex-boyfriend], officially, only one year of which was actually any good, and when it became blindingly obvious that I was never going to be anything but frustrated and disappointed as long as I hung around with him, we broke up. And then I went to Madagascar for a semester. While I was there, I discovered this amazing sense of freedom and joy, and started to wonder why I had wasted so much of my life with this guy.

Unfortunately, during this same four months, he was busy coming to the opposite conclusion.

Within a week of me getting back to St. Paul, he came crawling back, begging me to change my mind and get back with him. I said no. I said look, we broke up for a reason, did you forget? How can you expect me to re-quagmire myself in this miserable relationship when I've already decided in my heart that I don't want to be with you any more? Seriously, NO.

He cried. He made me cry, which I resented. Over time, he wore me down, numerous pity-fucks were administered, I started avoiding other interesting guys because I didn't want to make him cry more. I resented that too. He said you know, we're acting like we're back together, why can't we be back together? I howled in rage, said look, obviously you can't handle this arrangement, maybe we shouldn't see each other at all for a while. He told me he couldn't handle that either.

That summer I left St. Paul to do some summer fieldwork up north, then went back to Indiana for more coursework so I could cram an entire bio minor into my last two semesters of college. [Ex-boyfriend], never much for emailing to begin with, suddenly went silent. I didn't mind. I'd stopped avoiding the other interesting guys and didn't need his whiny little voice in my head making me feel guilty about it. But occasionally I wondered.

In late July, I caught up with [ex-roommate] on AIM. "What," I asked, "is [ex-boyfriend] so goddamn busy doing that he can't be bothered to email me?"


"What, you?"

More silence.

"It is you, isn't it."


I didn't have much to say to that, although secretly it made me a little nauseous. I extracted promises from both of them that we could all still be friends, since our apartment lease ran through the following spring, and I really believed that the promises were good. They weren't. [Ex-boyfriend] started going out of his way to be an asshole to me, to prove to [ex-roommate] and probably to himself that he was over me. [Ex-roommate], probably still suspicious, started going out of her way to be an asshole to me too. Catty girl-stuff, making fun of my bra size. I shot back that I'd take my A-and-a-half tits over her double-D ass any day. Things went downhill fast.

When I finally moved out, in January 2003, I didn't look back, never talked to either of them again. Until yesterday.

I was keeping such a good lookout, being so alert, ready to run and hide at the first sight of them. Then we went into the art building, where there are walls and corners and no place to hide. And no advance warning. I rounded a corner and there they were, right in my face.

[Ex-roommate] said, "Oh."

I said, "Uh, hi." Long pause. "We heard you guys were here."

[ER]: From who?

me: [Friend who wasn't at her booth].

[ER]: Oh, yeah, we called her.

Long, long silence. Nate was on the phone with [friend who wasn't at her booth] at the time, and therefore not even there to save me. Nobody said anything at all. I think I probably turned red, as I am wont to do when confronted with shit I don't want to deal with. And then we just kind of ran past each other really fast without saying any sort of "bye" or "nice to see you again" or anything. I hadn't even made eye contact with [ex-boyfriend], just saw out of the corner of my eye that he'd grown his hair back into that silly floppy mid-90s thing that he had during our first semester of college. This is probably good; I have so little respect left for him that I don't think I could speak to him without rolling my eyes or curling my lip. Perhaps I can't speak to him at all. I certainly didn't exhibit much spine yesterday.

At least my new haircut looks hot, eh? Jesus. Maybe we'll move to Portland after all.


Post a Comment

<< Home