“So, I’m dying to know,” I said, fiddling with the lemon twist atop my summer ale, “What on Earth made you call me?”
McArtsyPants and I had met up at a fun little bar and grill in Central Square and had slipped into the old silliness, making circle patterns with our beer glasses on the soapstone tables and giggling. He was clearly very happy to see me, and we’d been exchanging updates from the last year or so of our lives, when I posed my question.
“I’m not sure if it was anything on Earth,” he said, giving me a half-kidding look. McAP can be a little spiritual sometimes, but he’s also quite the kidder. I went with that.
“So what alien life form told you that you had to call me?”
At first, he appeared ready to come up with a humorous answer to that question, but then his face turned serious. “You came into my head one day, and I wanted to get in touch with you. I always really liked you, and, I don’t know, the timing was off for me. I wound up getting back together with my ex for a bit after I was with you. I realized that I’d been a jerk to you, because I didn’t know what I wanted. So I went and found the e-mail where you gave me your phone number and decided to get in touch with you.”
This surprised me. I’ve often wondered if my exes ever thought about me, particularly the ones who jerked me around a lot, unsure of what they wanted from me. Did they regret letting me go? Did they feel badly about how they’d behaved? Did they just think of me and smile? McAP, it seems, had.
From the look on his face, it was clear that he had a glimmer of hope that I’d take him back, and I didn’t want to encourage that. “You were a bit of a jerk to me,” I said. “But I got over it and moved on, and honestly, I’ve always thought of you fondly. I knew you meant well, really. It was just one of those things.”
Our food arrived, and we ate and chatted about other things, bands, how hot it was outside, various other topics. After dinner, we decided to take a walk along the Charles. He talked about his new car, where he was hoping to live, and I talked about my move and the view from the river. We laughed a lot, but there was no spark, at least from me.
We stopped about a half-mile down the path and looked at the Red Line train cross the bridge against the lights of the John Hancock and the Pru. I thought about how romantic the spot could be, if only I was there with someone else. It had occurred to me that perhaps I would see McAP and, despite my better judgment, want to be with him again, but I didn’t. It was over, and while I was happy to be with him in that moment and happy to hear that he still thought about me, I didn’t want to go back.
McAP walked me back to the train, and gave me his old look that said he wanted to kiss me, but I just said, “It was great to see you again, McAP. Thanks for getting in touch.” He hugged me and said he’d call again. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t.
Unlike CraigslistGuy, I didn’t cry when I got home from our date. I felt better. Meeting up with McAP gave me outside confirmation that I am worthy of good treatment. It’s given me something to think about.