Eh, Facebook is pretty much useless if you can’t track down old boyfriends from 20 years ago and say yo. Which is pretty much what I did when I tracked down the old boyfriend from 20 years ago and said yo.
It was an intense enough college relationship – we dated, we moved in together, we bought ugly furniture together, we endured his father’s sad and sudden death together. When he wasn’t a college student he was a musician with some local notoriety, and I spent countless nights nursing illegally procured White Russians in seedy Boston clubs while watching him materfully work the Zildjians, biding time until 3AM when he’d receive his $45 and I’d have the honor of helping him load his drum kit into his Isuzu Trooper. In return, he spent holidays being polite to my conservative relatives who garnered from his black hair and studded leather jacket that he would be stealing the silverware any minute now.
We never talked about marriage but we did joke that our kids would have great legs. We really did love each other. For a while. But we were young.
About three years into things and one unromantic trip to Italy later I had the sense it had all run its course. I remember crying progressively more than not each night, sneaking cigarettes on our cold terrace in the light of Fenway Park while he returned from shows later and later. It wasn’t the life I wanted. I was on the yuppie track. I had even traded in the black hair and (eek) tail for a poofy 90s bob. Maybe the hair knows what the heart does not?
I landed back in New York after graduation and it didn’t take long to accept that I had outgrown the relationship. Or perhaps we’d outgrown each other. And that was pretty much it.
God, that was a long time ago. A lifetime ago.
After my initial “yo” on Facebook, he told me in a couple paragraphs what he had been up to (wife of 18 years – the one he started dating after we broke up – new baby, new house in a new state) and I told him what I’d been up to (cat juggling, stint with the WWF traveling show). No reminiscing. No Hey, remember that time your band opened for Lena Lovich in Providence? No Hey, remember how your mom still bought you underwear? No Hey, remember how you used to want to spend Valentine’s Day rehearsing with the band and it made me feel like crap for three years? It was fairly perfunctory.
So you can imagine my surprise to receive a curt response from him that it was nice to catch up but that his wife is uncomfortable with us having reconnected and he has to respect her wishes, the end, good bye, best of luck, see you later sucka.
I found myself promptly unfriended.
It was probably a wise decision on his part. Because I am just that threatening, me with my saggy boobs and two kids and happy relationship. Really, I don’t consider it a satisfying day until I’ve destroyed a marriage. I’m just that kind of a woman. Bonus points if they’ve got a cute four month-old at home and the wife is feeling flabby and insecure.
I live my life with one pinky toe in the past. I’m unapologetically nostalgic. I have some friends going back to infancy, and because I hate burning bridges, I am at least in occasional contact with the majority of guys I’ve dated. I’m not sure what I get from it exactly; sometimes it’s a yardstick, a way of checking in on my own growth and seeing how far I’ve come. Sometimes it’s more like a journey into a mental scrapbook, a brief visit with the past to jar good memories or funny stories, or help scrounge up some writing inspiration. Sometimes I think I just want them to tell me I turned out okay.
I did have a tail back then.