I have only seen my ex-husband once since he kissed me goodbye at the airport, putting on a plane to visit my father, completely unaware of the disaster that would strike within the week. The next time I saw him was eight months later in the courthouse, as the legal connection between out lives was severed.
I spent those eight months afraid I would run into him, only relaxing when I knew he was out of town. I would wake up with my heart hammering after a dream of running into him at the grocery store or at a restaurant. I would play the potential encounters over and over again in my mind, rehearsing my reactions. In the weeks leading up to the court date, these nightmares grew into the day time. He was the boogeyman, hiding in every shadow. Even with the building anxiety, I didn’t really expect him to show; he had been in Uganda just a few days prior.
He did show. I passed him in the hall outside the courtroom and didn’t even recognize him. The man I slept next to for 16 years and I didn’t know him. Surreal. Throughout the process, he refused to meet my gaze. I kept looking at him, as though searching for the man I knew behind the new glasses and new suit. He wasn’t there; he had been replaced by a stranger.
That was two years ago.
I rarely think about the possibility of running into him anymore. When I found out last week that one of my favorite (and my ex’s favorite) comics was going to be in town tomorrow, I purchased tickets without hesitation. Only after I clicked, “purchase,” did I realize that, if my ex still lives in town, there is a very real possibility that he will be there. I let that sit for a minute. Examined my response. I wasn’t anxious. I’m glad I am aware of the possibility, just so that I won’t be caught off guard, but I am okay with whatever happens. I just want to enjoy the show.