I had two good friends over for dinner last night (How Very Lucky and Jack from Brooklyn) and we were talking about, well, everything. Life, love, music, work, family, politics… you name it we talked about it. At some point, as a tangent to what we were talking about, I told a story about a couple I know. And then it hit me, hours later, that I totally slipped up.
The couple in question is an old friend of mine and her husband. I’ve met the husband dozens of times, since way back when they first started dating. But when I mentioned him in the story I called him by the name of a different guy. A different friend’s ex. Someone who happens to look a lot like him, but who I haven’t seen in over a decade. And who I haven’t thought of in YEARS.
My memory is a scary place.
So anyway, beyond their physical resemblance, they have pretty much nothing in common. So I started to wonder why he came to mind. Maybe I was supposed to remember this guy for some other reason. Maybe I’m supposed to write about him and how he came to be the friend’s EX?
This is one of those cases where I feel a little odd, because I’m telling other people’s stories (and hence airing their dirty laundry), which always makes me feel odd. But it all happened so long ago and I’m 99.9% sure that none of the people involved know anything able this site. Plus, I’m not really going to tell you what exactly happened.
We were/they were all in their early/mid 20s and either fresh out of or still in grad school. All very bright and earnest. The woman in this story and I went to grad school together. She was living with and engaged to a man she’d known for years. Her college boyfriend. And they seemed the perfect couple. They were waiting until they were both out of grad school and started in their new careers before getting married.
And then… she met someone else. And like so many (most) people do, she started to see this new guy behind her fiance’s back. I knew about it and was kind of shocked, because it seemed so out of character for her. But then, I was young. I still thought that cheating was something that very few/only bad people did.
Anyway, she cheated for a while. And then one day she came home and told her fiance that she was in love with this other guy and that was that. She moved out and in with the new man. Leaving out lots of details here, obviously. And not too long after, she and the new guy got married. Her ex-fiance was at the wedding. It was the last time I saw him.
Again, I have no idea what made me think of him last night. Maybe it was random coincidence. Or maybe it was because I’ve been hearing lots of cheating stories lately, and lots of talk of revenge and anger.
Really, the only thing that makes this story worth telling is the fact that the guy in question, the Ex, chose to not be angry. To not hate the woman who cheated on him. To not end their many years long friendship because their romantic relationship was over. There were no children involved. No pets. Nothing to bind them together. But he chose to stay in her life, as a friend. Because he had been for all of those years. And he didn’t want that to change.
I honestly don’t know if I could do the same.
Tags: family, friends, Jack from Brooklyn