In Charleston, we only have “two degrees of separation.” While I do love how intimate the Holy City can be, it has its cons, too. Especially when it comes to running into one of your ex-boyfriends — and not at full speed with your two-door coupe.
Last week I was enjoying a few beers and the company of two married male friends at a local watering hole that I scarcely visit anymore. Every time I have a couple of drinks, nature stops calling but begins screaming in my ear almost every 10 minutes. I excused myself and made my way toward the back of the bar to the little girls’ room. And that’s when I saw him — an ex-boyfriend right by the bathroom. He appeared to be in deep conversation with his friend, so I evaded him to relieve myself … this time.
We had only really dated for a month, but things started off pretty serious. Within a week he had given me his key, and that should’ve been a red flag right there. Plus, I had just gotten out of another relationship that I wasn’t completely over yet.
Shortly after a camping expedition I realized he just didn’t mesh with my friends, which is the number-one priority in my book. I became busier with the season, ignoring his calls and conveniently forgetting to call him back.
When I finally decided it wasn’t going anywhere, I took the pussy way out — I left an envelope with a note and his key at his door. I made it clear that I wanted to remain friends with him, because he was still a nice guy. He called me upon discovery of the note and left a voice mail message saying, “It looks like you beat me to the punch.”
“Screw yoooou.” I thought. “I didn’t realize it was a race.”
Maybe I deserved it, but it still was enough for me to throw the whole “let’s be friends” theory out the window.
Back at the bar, I was on my second beer and it felt like my walnut-sized bladder was going to explode, so I confided in my boys. They jumped on the challenge like two rejects from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. One began stuffing my long hair into the back of my jacket, while the other adjusted my hat so the brim covered the top of my face like some hipster Zorro.
Incognito, I made my way to the bathroom by staring at the path of my feet. Thinking I was in the clear, I finally looked up and realized the ex was standing right in front of me. Invading my personal space, he reached out and pulled up the brim of my hat. Shit.
“Jessica Chase?!” he said loudly, “You’ve been avoiding me for months!”
Oh, God, he’s drunk.
“The girl who dumped me with a letter!” he continued ranting. People curiously turned around as he made a slight scene. I started blushing and giggling nervously, much to his chagrin. We engaged in some strained small talk as I uncomfortably started shifting toward the bathroom door.
“Look, I know ‘us’ could never work, but I still think you’re cool and wanna hang out,” he said. I agreed out of politeness and excused myself before I had an accident. Luckily, he was gone when I reemerged.
I returned to the table and reported back to my wardrobe elves that the lame disguise had failed.
“I smell your next column!” one of them laughed as he punched me in the arm.
Damn, my friends know me too well.