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Absinthe and Exes: The Reunion Show

Today’s post is really difficult to write because it’s deeply personal.

I started this blog to talk about turning 30 and what happens after. I began writing more frequently about love and relationships to in fact heal from the most devastating end of a relationship I had ever had in my life.

I’ve been healing.

Things haven’t been easy, but a lot of you readers have been with me the whole way along the salty trail of tears, triumphs and straight up dating and life blunders. I’m grateful.

So here is the difficult thing. The things that took place this weekend, leave me in a strange place. It’s probably smack dab in the middle of that “longest road a man must travel is between his heart and his head.”

And that’s where I am.

I’ve always loved my ex. I’m certain he’s always loved me.

Now that we’ve had a successful visit, that included a lot of laughs, no tears, a lot of random sighing, deep breaths taken, deep eye contact, embarrassing moments, and mature, honest conversation, with long, silent moments of tight hugs, it begs the question: What now? Where do we go from here?

Become best buddies? Do we say we had this moment, then dap it up and walk away and go back to our regularly scheduled lives?

I expected awkward when my ex-fiance hopped on a plane and came to visit, and honestly for the first 20 minutes, I got exactly that. He walked to my car like a death march. He looked like he was bracing himself for me to punch him in the throat.

He got in the car and I fumbled for words. We talked about the weather for an awkward long time, then I asked about his family and asked him about his traveling for work. Did he want to stop for something to eat?

Sensing the tension, I said. “See, you did it.”

“Did what?”

“You’re here. It’s not so bad, right?”

“Right, but the day is still young.”

It was already raining at the airport, which made me nervous. I’d planned an “ice breaker” activity of ziplining and I knew I was going to have to think about other plans. We were not going to just sit up in my house.

Fortunately, once we got to my side of town, things were dry. But even after a quick check on the zip line place’s website, these folks go in the rain, the snow and etc. They only shut down for lightning and natural disasters.

So, we went to my house so he could put down his backpack and we watched a little t.v. and he made fun of me still refusing to get cable.

Ziplining was an excellent choice to get things warmed up. We had to climb a ladder to a platform, where we had to still walk across a rope to get to the platform where we jump off and zipline.

Jumping off that platform was kind of a fitting metaphor for what this weekend would be.

You are up here now, turning back will be more cumbersome than jumping off and taking the ride. After the initial shock of jumping off, I sailed down that line with great speed, praying my glasses wouldn’t fall off my face or that the rope wouldn’t suddenly snap.

It didn’t, I survived and I was proud of myself for doing something new. If I can do this, I can spend about 36 hours with my ex. He reminded me he was still afraid of heights, but if we did the trapeeze together, he could certainly do this.

“Hey, you were a natural, remember? You were the king of our class!”

“Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Why do you always get me to do this type of crazy stuff with you?”

“Because you do it.”

“Touche.”

While waiting for the rest of the people in our party to return from the bathroom, we got on the topic of why I asked him to come.

I told him I didn’t know why. But it felt like the right time and the right thing to do. That I was glad he came and that after the recent conversation we had about him being unhappy, the main objective is to come out, do something different and just concentrate on being happy. I really had no other motives than that. I wanted him to know I cared.

After rope climbing, we had just enough time to start a dvd, and get showered and dressed to go to dinner at a trendy little spot in a trendy section of DC.

The restaurant was sexy. It was more sexy than I wanted it to be for the situation. Dark. Plush,  bright red leather couches. We had a number of small plates to try and my living social deal also included drinks.

I had heard that absinthe was an old school alcohol of choice for old school writers and artists because it could cause hallucinations.

I instantly gravitated to it when I saw it on the menu. I was practically living a hallucination anyway. I hadn’t laid eyes on my ex in two years. And there he was, sitting across from me. This was very real. So much time and distance had been between us, and yet, we were here.

He was shocked I went and ordered the absinthe and decided to order himself the same. The waitress knocked the wind out of my sails when she told me, the hallucinogenic agent wormwood, which basically caused the drink to originally be banned in the US, was not in their version. I was hoping for a hallucinogenic distraction from this melting pot of feelings I had, but it was still cool to watch her dilute the green liquid, and set fire to sugar cube to mix into the concoction.

So here we are, my ex and I, drinking absinthe (of all things to drink) talking about what I said we didn’t have to… what went wrong and why.

“You moving to Chicago for me was asking too much of you.”

“If there was anyone on the planet I was willing to take that kind of risk for, it was you.”

“I was going to be the only reason you moved there. I really liked it out here. You were established here. You would have only been moving because of my job, which only months later turned to crap. If you moved, when your company made changes, you probably would have gotten laid off. We would have had the worst first year ever. Looking back, it was the right thing. I couldn’t let you do that.”

He further explained some risks that he took in order to get his current job, where if his leap of faith didn’t work, he could have ended up unemployed and without a place to live.

“It wasn’t about love. I couldn’t let you give up so much for me.”

“Things just ended so abruptly. It was like we didn’t try. I just lost everything in one fail swoop. I lost my lover, I lost my friend. That was it. We didn’t talk, we just parted ways. Then when we did talk, I realized I couldn’t be there for you with the various things you were going through and then be strong for myself. I cared and I worried, but I was going to end up giving everything to you. Then with the Facebook misunderstanding, I knew I had to cut ties completely. I felt like an idiot. I was so embarrassed.”

“It wasn’t we didn’t try. I didn’t. I really wanted us to have this conversation tomorrow.”

“It’s not like I’m going to make you walk home or kick you out. I’d rather get it over with.”

And that’s all I remember. More absinthe was had, as well as other drinks and the trendy, sexy restaurant started to turn into the douchy dc bar where we people watched and made jokes.

We mulled over walking up and down U St. to check out other bars and standing in the bustling intersection of 14th and U, we pondered our next move. He turns to me.

“You know what? I’m not in the mood to be in the bars and clubs.”

“Do you want to make fun of people at the casino?”

“I guess so.”

So I wouldn’t keep getting lost in the crowd with my much shorter legs and high heels, I saw him reach behind himself, not even looking back, instinctively reaching for me and instinctively, I grabbed his hand.

He didn’t let go for blocks. Neither did I.

We got to my car and once we were in it, I had an idea.

“Hey you’ve never seen the MLK monument right? Of course not, they opened it like two years ago. The Lincoln monument is over there too and it all actually looks pretty cool at night. Wanna see it?”

“Ok. But hey, come to think of it, why have we never seen the monuments before? Seems like I had a bad host.”

“Yeah, whatever.”

It had rained again when we were heading to the restaurant and it had stopped by the time we left.

The weather was perfect. Too perfect. Independence street was quiet and still. There was the occasional couple taking in the sights and strolling along and even a family or two, but the massive, beautiful monuments were ours. We peered across the water at the Jefferson Memorial leaning on a fence. We both agreed it was beautiful and perfect.

We looked up at Martin’s eyes. He looked so serious yet kind of troubled.

“I wonder what Martin would think of all of this,” I sighed.

“People like him, he wouldn’t want a monument to himself. He’d just rather the world be a better place.”

True.

He snapped photos of his favorite quotes. We touched the marble walls. I told him about the incorrect paraphrase on the side of the monument and why it was covered up and there was scaffolding because folks had to fix it.

We looked further out and saw the Washington monument, which was lit up like a Christmas tree. It also had scaffolding all around, because it was also being repaired from the cracks in it from the earthquake a couple of years ago.

Seemed like all of these beautiful things around us, were in need of repair, need of fixing, to be made stronger and better than before.

Seemed like he and I were still beautiful people, in need of repair, in need of fixing, to be made stronger and better than before. Like the King monument, things we’ve said have gotten lost in translation.

Like the Washington monument, we’d been shaken to our core, and left with deep cracks.

But here we were, standing under the same sky.

We stood there a long time. I leaned on his shoulder. He pulled me closer. I heard his heart nearly beating out of his chest. I held my breath in hopes of slowing mine down. Then I released.

We looked up in the sky and searched for stars. And we complained about how difficult it is to see stars in major cities and how sad it was. He told me a story about seeing a shooting star as a kid. We continued to walk, and we went to the FDR memorial which is one of my favorites, because it’s a series of monuments telling the story of all of his terms.

We laughed, we made nerd jokes. He continued to talk crap about me never taking him there before.

I said, “Maybe we are supposed to be here right now. Yeah, at like 2 in the morning. But maybe we were supposed to be here now.”

“Maybe.”

Tweet “Where do we go from here?” This IS THE SONG of my life right now… The lyrics are amazing.

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5 thoughts on “Absinthe and Exes: The Reunion Show

  1. Ebony Rose on said:

    Justine, Justine!!! I’m glad you were able to enjoy yourself and live in the moment. I suggest taking the time and sorting through your feelings, while being honest about what YOU really want.

  2. dbaham on said:

    Girl… I just… (sigh) have no words.

    But yay you for being so open and vulnerable and honest this weekend and in your post. If nothing else, that’s a major accomplishment.

  3. Hey. I left it all out on the floor. I still had a great weekend. Just don’t know what the end result of it all is going to be. I have no regrets.

    • dbaham on said:

      As long as you have no regrets, that’s truly all that matters! I’m all about doing whatever makes us happy these days (within reason, of course lol).

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