Who knew that as a 30-year-old, married mother of two, I would have boy troubles?
And yet, the Breaking Ice Department of Homeland Security raised the ex-boyfriend threat level today to orange.
Turns out that my high school sweetheart, J, is coming to Seattle this weekend to stand up in a college friend's wedding... which is happening at a church 1/2 mile from my office, and he's likely staying at a hotel just 1/2 mile in the other direction.
I also happen to work on the campus of Seattle Center, one of the city's primary tourist attractions.
Compared to every other day, where he lives in the Midwest, I live in the Pacific Northwest, and the chances of a run-in are infinitesimal, today and tomorrow have a high likelihood for inadvertent reunion.
And I am SO not looking forward to that.
Allow me to enlighten you with a little backstory:
J was one of my very best friends in high school. I clearly remember the moment when, sitting on his parents' couch late one summer night, I decided to kiss him, and therefore permanently alter the dynamic of our friendship. We dated for one year, and I unashamedly declare it remains one of the best years of my life. If J had asked me to marry him that summer after I graduated from high school, I would have said yes. I was in love.
But J was not. Just as quickly as my dreams of a romantic, pre-college summer with my boyfriend began, they ended. He broke up with me because he wanted to enjoy his senior year of high school without the substantial commitment of a long-distance romance.
That summer, J and I would occasionally rendezvous to reminisce about the past (read: we played strip poker in my mother's basement and made out in the crawlspace of his parents' split-level). Turns out, he was also making out with one of my best girlfriends, who had recently broken up with her high school boyfriend, a couple with whom we frequently double-dated. When that dalliance was revealed, J decided to pretend that I do not exist, a ruse that continues to this day.
Exhibit A: Between my junior and senior year of college, I walked into a friend's family room with two other girlfriends. J, who was already in the room, jumped up and bear-hugged both of my friends. Then he sat down and refused to acknowledge my presence for the rest of the evening.
Exhibit B: Shortly after I married and J became engaged, we ran into each other at our childhood church. I went up to say hello; but J barely made eye contact with the CDR or me, and quickly left the lobby. As we headed home that morning, my husband commented, "I have never seen someone dislike another person the way he obviously dislikes you."
Here's the thing: In no way do I pine for this boy, or wish that I had ended up with him. I am so thrilled with my life, and especially with my husband and children. But I am conflicted.
One part of me is tempted to hole up here in my office because I do not want to suffer the hurt that inevitably comes with running into a person whom I trusted with my heart, and called my "best friend;" but who now pretends that I am a useless waste of space.
Another part of me wants to strut my cute spring outfit and beautifully highlighted hair across Seattle Center in the hopes of running into him, just to see if I'm someone he can't afford to ignore any more.
I tend to side with the third, more mature part of me. She wants to blend the hurt young girl with the brazen thirty-something woman by running into another member of the wedding party (and former classmate) who can later say, "J, you'll never believe who I ran into today! And she looks great!"
I think I'll take a walk toward Starbucks and buy myself an iced latte.
Side Note: That girlfriend who also made out with J in our pre-college summer? She apologized for what happened as soon as she realized that I was still in the picture, and she remains to this day one of my very best friends and confidantes. She is a woman that every woman would love to know.