Thursday, March 1, 2012


“Isn’t that your ex?”

I knew she was there before I even saw her. We both felt it, she and I, in that peculiar way that ex-lovers can just sort of feel each other. The way one Immortal can sense the presence of another in the Highlander movies, I mused.

I gnawed on a carrot stick, garnish for my order of buffalo wings now reduced to a plate of bones, pretending I didn’t hear you, hoping you’d drop it.

You didn’t.

“Hey, that’s your ex-girlfriend over there, isn’t it?” you observed, craning your neck in an overly conspicuous fashion.

I shrugged, feigning nonchalance, eyes locked on a television screen in the distance. “So what if it is?”

You didn’t come right out and say how good she was looking – you knew better than that – but you didn’t have to. I could see it in your eyes.

“What’s she doing now, anyway?” you asked, way too interested, absently holding your pint in your hand, eyes continually drifting in her direction.

“I have no idea,” I flatly said, eyes seeing a game of cricket on the TV, mind a million miles away.

I wanted to turn and look so bad. I wanted to turn to see her, to have our eyes meet, to get up out of my seat, to meet her in the middle of the room, to embrace, to feel that familiar warmth, to tell her she looked so good – to tell her I was so happy for her.

Most of all, I wanted to mean it, and I didn’t.

“Last I heard she was living in Dubai,” you stated. “Modelling or something?”

“Something,” I replied, wishing you would just shut the hell up.

“Wonder what she’s doing back in this shithole of a town.”

Jesus Christ. My mind flashed with visions of flying across the table and throttling you. Smashing my pint glass across your stupid face. Taking you down to the floor, and booting you into unconsciousness.

“Who knows,” was all I said.

I almost looked, but I could see you watching me, studying me, weighing the authenticity of my indifference. I almost looked, I wanted so badly to see her, but I wasn’t about to give you the pleasure.

To be happy for the success of others isn’t something that comes naturally. No-one wants anyone else to be happier than they are, but when that happier person happens to be an ex, someone I once shared a life path with, shared hopes and dreams with, that happiness is particularly devastating. It tickles that competitive part of the brain in just the right spot creating this visceral mash of unpleasant, primeval feelings. Feeling of envy, of jealousy, of anger.

Especially when I’m the one who let her go.

And it suddenly makes sense now why you, sitting across the table from me, eyes darting back and forth between me and her, won’t let this go. This is your way of sapping away my happiness, artificially bolstering your own level of contentment by lowering mine.

But I won’t give you the pleasure.

“I’m sure she would come over and say hi if you weren’t here,” I said. “For some reason, she was never very fond of you.”


  1. That final stab followed by the quick twisting jerk of the knife. Love it.

  2. Heh. "True friends stab you in the front."