Should I just keep walking?

31 Jul

I ran into one of my ex-fiancé’s best friends on my walk to work yesterday.  I wasn’t sure if he saw me and as much as I wanted to just keep walking, I didn’t.  I took off my sunglasses, looked him in the eye, smiled and said hi.  With the “oh my god” and giant bear hug he gave me, I thought to myself, “good, this isn’t going to be weird”.  But it totally was.

To explain a bit more, this is the friend that I was probably the closest with.  He used to come over to our place for dinner pretty regularly.  We would have email chains between just the three of us.  He was single so he would always share a room with us whenever we went away as a group.  He used to call me “sis” because, as he insisted, I was going to be his official, yet figurative, sister after the wedding.  I had thought we were really close but in the days and weeks following my broken engagement, I took it personally that he didn’t reach out.  Looking back, I get it; it was an uncomfortable situation for everyone, especially our friends.  I always knew I would eventually start to run into people but any other one of my ex-fiancé’s friends would have been easier; this was a tough friend to have the “first encounter” with.

So there we were on the corner of 46th and 2nd.  He told me I looked great three times and asked about work four times.  The tension was pretty unbearable and my heart was beating so fast, I thought an anxiety attack was just seconds away.  When my voice cracked, just a little, he finally broke the awkwardness and said he didn’t want things to be weird between us.  I said the same thing and told him I really understood how uncomfortable the whole situation was for him and the rest of the crew.  And then we talked like two normal people.  Normal people that were good friends for almost five years and now knew they would be, at best, acquaintances…but normal people nonetheless.

I felt overwhelmingly sad for the rest of the day thinking not only about him but about all the other friends that I lost in this mess.  After five years my life had naturally become intertwined with every detail of my fiancé’s and that included our friends.  Although not vindictive or harsh, invisible lines have been drawn and everyone knows which side they are on.  I don’t doubt that his friends will give me a hug and want to know what’s new when we run into each other but for the most part, I know I will not have these people in my life anymore.  And it doesn’t matter where I am in getting over my relationship and broken engagement, that fact will always make me a little bit sad.

This particular friend told me yesterday that he had been following me on Twitter so he knew what I had been up to since everything happened over Memorial Day weekend.  It might be silly or superficial but I immediately felt a wave of relief.  He didn’t reach out weeks ago because it wasn’t appropriate given those invisible lines.   Whether it was intended this way or not, I did get a sense of satisfaction knowing that I didn’t, in fact, fall off the face of the planet to everyone.  I am a far less frequent visitor to their world now, but overall I do still exist in some small way.

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