“I’m going to go say something,” P says, gaging my reaction with her eyes as she slowly rises up from our table, her bun of black curls bobbing with every move. “NO!” I snipe back in the most authoritative whisper-yell I could muster. “Fine,” she says sitting back down although not yet ready to admit defeat, “but I am going to say something before we leave,” in a move of temporary conceit. I wanted her to so badly and yet I am terrified of what would happen if she did. Sitting in silence I stare over P’s shoulder at her—that.
For months I played this scenario again and again in my mind. What I would do if I ever saw her, the perfect scorching…no, no, no soul crushing remarks I would make followed by an elegant exit leaving her alone, ashamed and in tears…well at least that was what would happen in an ideal world. Truth be told, I hadn’t thought about it in a while and although the mere sight of her caused my blood pressure to instantly elevate I was a bit rusty in the ‘you should be ashamed of yourself’ witty comment department.
“Just seeing what she looks like in person is satisfaction enough,” I say to P with a smirk trying to convince both her—and myself that no words between she and I were necessary. In terms of appearance, she is even less attractive than I imagined and if given the challenge I could probably find a more flattering and fashion forward outfit on the sale rack of a Wal-Mart than the clothes that hung frumpily on her oversized frame. Beyond that, however to continue to describe her obvious physical shortcomings, while totally deserved would be cheap, petty and far too easy—and besides this is a story about me, not her.
P and I continue to talk as I do everything in my power to remain poised and dignified—trying to calm the uncontrollable shaking in my hands while simultaneously resisting every impulse I feel to go Jerry Springer girl fight on her ass. By now, enough time has passed that this is no longer about him, or us, but rather me. I’d like to give the benefit of the doubt to the others—maybe they didn’t know about me. But she—she did. She was in MY home. She did unspeakable things with my then boyfriend in MY bed. She exercised a level of disrespect for me, my personal space and my life that goes beyond anything anyone should have to tolerate. EVER. Quite frankly, under the circumstances I was doing a pretty good job of keeping it together.
We sip our drinks and make small talk as at the moment anything but surface level conversation—even between close friends would be too difficult to maintain. Despite the relatively cool temperature outside, beads of sweat begin to form on my forehead as I hear her high pitched cackling laugh as she talks to her friend, pretending to be oblivious of my presence. She looks over across the patio at me and our eyes lock. She immediately looks away. A few minutes later it happens again. I wish I had the courage to say something. “I don’t want to have to ask you if I should do it,” P starts “so if you get up and use to the bathroom I am going to go over there and say something.” I have never been more thankful that at the moment my small bladder was still relatively empty.
I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know if I ever would be. Long ago I had bedded the idea that actual personal interaction between she and I was ever going to happen and with time became content with the fact that at the very least she had gotten my drunken anger-ridden e-mail over a year earlier. But now, with her in front of me all feelings of contentment faded. Enough time has passed that I don’t need revenge or a screaming match or a shame-fest to heal this wound. All I need is an apology. An actual acknowledgement of wronging me—of what she did that was so wrong. I’d love to order that served with a side of remorse and a bowl full of tears but unfortunately apologies don’t tend to come with an a la carte menu.