Ex, Revisited

A friend is going through a breakup after being with his girlfriend for about 7 years or so. They’ve been a couple since they were in high school, maybe junior high. They’re calling it a break. He’s still sort of in the dazed, introspective denial stage, but not doing terribly well regardless. We both were at a party at Gavin and Cory’s house Friday, and he was grilling me on my own experiences, well aware of my wise old age, and that I myself am recently single.

He’s a very idealistic and thoughtful person. I don’t mean idealistic in a condescending way. No, he has very high ideals for the way the world can and should be, which I respect immensely. Still, trying to explain that sometimes shit just doesn’t last to someone with such a philosophy is tough. I think he understood where I was coming from, but when you’re in that state, it’s really hard to see outside of your own pain and confusion.

I mostly referred to Casey and I, and how at the time I thought there was nobody in the world better for me, because I’d never really been with in love with anyone else. She isn’t just someone you’ve loved, she’s The Person You Love. And it’s something that only hindsight and perspective can teach, but I tried to tell him that even though I cherish the time we had together, I also cherish that we did break up. That the two sentiments can live together in the same mind. I told him the thought of us still being together is terrifying and inconceivable and sends a shiver down my spine. That the relationships I’ve had since were wonderful and just as intense or more intense as that first love. I told him that after that first bad heartbreak, you gain perspective. Because you know for a fact that things are going to be okay. Better than okay, actually. Things are going to be better.

He had this quiver about him, and he asked for advice. I told him to lose her phone number. He said, “But you’re alone. What are you going to do now? How is that better?” I told him I didn’t know, but that I know I’m going to be happy. He asked what happened to Casey after we split up and I told him she met someone immediately and then married him. He got this terrified look, one that I know so well. At that moment I felt a sick, tiny hint of jealousy. Jealousy of my friend, because he’s about to go through that deep, piercing pain of the first heartbreak. The first real loss, where you hurt so bad you actually fall to your knees. And that’s something you only get to feel once. It’s so so terrible, but maybe not a rawer emotion exists. I sort of miss it. I also, for the first time in years, have a sudden impulse to give Casey a call and say hello. Too bad I lost her number.

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One Response to

  1. gabe says:

    i just read this for the first time. despite all the memory-clouding alcohol imbibed that night i still remember it like it was yesterday. i think of that story you told me of when just after your breakup with casey and you were an inconsolable puddle of misery in your apartment, your friend (swede perhaps?) dragged you to a neko case show back when she was still a nobody and that her tender words and haunting, lilting voice reached out to you and cradled you telling you “this is love.” i still think of that pretty much every time i listen to neko. i’m not yet ready to make the judgement that you were “right” or “wrong” in your advice to me that evening, but i still want to thank you for sharing your truth with me. you’re a good friend tate. i’m going to be returning to portland in august and i might be back in the office for a while but it just won’t be the same without you. i talked to sophie today who just started canvassing for the summer last week and she was lamenting your absence and the presence of damian, the new director. we were both reminiscing and singing your praises, how you were so good at balancing being a boss and a friend to all of us – a tough dynamic to manage. denver’s lucky to have you.

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