You know that feeling you get when you’re out, doing an errand, and you look across the street and see your ex with her new girlfriend? Yeah, that happened to me. Yesterday to be exact. In Park Slope. I don’t even live in Park Slope.
I’d like to think that I held my head up high, waved hello to K, and looked Jess powerfully in the eye, asserting my authority. But no, snapping out of my 10 seconds of panic and paralysis, I scampered up 5th Avenue before they could see me in something akin to a fugue state.
Brooklyn has 2.5 million people in it and yet by freak occurrence or twist of cosmic fate I managed to show up at the same patch of Brooklyn at the same time as K and Jess were putting money in the parking meter not ten feet away. The gods surely have a sense of humor. And, as luck would have it, the B63 bus arrived just in time to spirit me away with some dignity intact.
I didn’t get a good look at Jess, honestly. I remember thinking in that split second of recognition that she didn’t look like what I had pictured, yet at the same time she still remains only partially painted in. Such a strange feeling to be overcome with morbid curiosity and sheer horror at the same time.
My actions surprised me. I had been playing it so cool over the last three months. But as I sat on the bus, my heart rate slowly returning to normal, I didn’t expect to be overcome with the need to burst into tears. And indeed I fought them back. And I fought them back as I walked to the subway. And I fought them back as I waited for the Q train.
Now that I’ve had a chance to process this and the flood of complex emotions that has come with it, I realize that the act of seeing K with Jess jarred me more into the reality of what happened. I mean, K is not around at home that much. In a way the reasons for our breakup have remained abstract and has fostered a sense of detachment on my end. But seeing them together . . . there is no being detached after that. The wound rips open again and the healing process begins anew.