Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Catching Up, Part Deux

I met up with an ex today.

I'd been looking forward to this meeting. I suspect it's because of my friends' upcoming wedding. I don't mean it in the sense that I want us to get back together, just that I met this ex the same time my friends who are getting married met each other. At the time, all of our friends thought we were the ones who were meant to be.

Clearly, they were wrong.

Still, maybe it's because I'm feeling a little vulnerable, as I am wont to do when returning to the city in which I grew up, and maybe it's because I'm feeling more nostalgic than usual because of the wedding, that I've been feeling this way.

In any case, we had a wonderfully enjoyable lunch, which, as usual, stretched on from an hour and a half to two and a half hours, as we caught up on each other's lives, hopes and dreams, and how we're both not where we thought we'd be when we were teenagers.

We've both changed so much from the persons we were at the age of 17, I more so than he, so we wouldn't be a good match for each other now.

Or so I tell myself.

Never mind that what we want in life is different. I enjoy meeting people far more than he does. I couldn't not live in a city, while he wants the remote countryside. I'm pretty driven by career success, while he, not so much.

Yet, there's a part of me that acknowledges that the life he's describing - one of peace and quiet - is not so bad, and may be something that I could imagine myself wanting one day, that the main reason I'm working so hard now is because it's the only way I know how to be. And, in a way, my attitude now can be traced back all those years ago when we were dating, when I got tired of being described as "[so-and-so]'s sister" or "[the ex]'s girlfriend".

When I 'fessed up to this, the ex, in a sweet moment, said, "You were never anyone's anyone. You were always your own person."


It's the first time I've thought that I might actually have been happy if we stayed together. I don't regret what happened between us. After all, if we hadn't broken up, I wouldn't be the person I am today, and I don't reget that one bit. But, as with anyone, there'll always be the one ex who gets to you a little more than others, you know?

As we headed towards the MRT, he said, "Let me know when you're free before you leave. We have to meet up one more time before you go." My heart skipped a beat. But he said the same time the last time I was back, and that fell through.

Just before we parted ways, I did that thing I always do, and told him the one big thing I'd been wanting to say throughout lunch. I tend to time pronouncements like that so that people don't get much time to respond and I can run off before I embarrass myself further. It's my thing.

"You know how I thought my life would be when I was 19? I thought I'd end up marrying the guy I was dating."

"We all did," he replied, before adding, "at that age."

I shrugged. "I mean, I could imagine us sitting on a porch swing in our old age watching the sunset. Silly, right? I mean, we're Singaporean, and, yet, I had the whole 'white picket fence' moment. How American."

He smiled and said, "No, there's got to be a porch swing."

"And a dog," I added, softly.

"And a dog."

We hugged and walked to our respective trains.

And that was that.

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