Monday, November 22, 2010


ra-prōsh-man. n. Derives from the French word rapprocher, "to bring together".

1) Establishment of or state of having cordial relations.
2) A human developmental milestone usually occurring between 15 to 24 months. The child moves away from and then returns to the mother for reassurance.

Definition #2 might be a bit of a stretch, but taken down a notch, it could possibly describe what is happening recently between me and my ex-boyfriend, l'Artista. He was such an important figure in my life that in some ways he was almost like a parent. Somehow, La Moustache managed to be such a douchebag during our breakup that he made l'Artista look good by comparison and changed the way I've been thinking about that relationship since it ended a few years ago. I realize that the fact that he's not quite as horrible as your other ex doesn't really constitute a good reason to be friends, but I thought about it a lot and felt there might be some value for me in trying to establish a relationship.

Still, each time he emails me it somehow takes me weeks before I feel ready to write back. I'm not really sure why. It's not just that I'm busy, although that is part of it. When I read his emails I feel strongly that I need to close them and not reply to them for a while.

So when I received an email in early November, in which he told me that he'd like to talk on the phone and specifically he'd like to discuss our breakup, which he's always felt bad about, I mentally put it in the category of "things to think about later." I finally turned my thoughts back to it yesterday afternoon. L'Artista didn't say why he felt bad about our breakup, but I suspected that he thought it was unfair of me to cut him off so completely. When we broke up, I refused to take his calls, read his emails, or give him any way to contact me. I put a block on my email and hung up when he figured out how to call me so I couldn't see who it was. Of course this was very, very hard for both of us. But I had to do it because after months and months of trying to break up I realized this was the only way it was going to happen.

I carefully constructed my reply, telling him I would be happy to discuss the breakup, but reminding him that as we both know my memory is much better than his. "I don't know how you remember our breakup," I said diplomatically, "but in case you remember it differently from how I remember it, I hope you are able to listen to what I have to say about it. Of course, I will listen to you, too. Feel free to give me a call."

A scant 40 minutes later, I was in the car driving to dinner with my sister. We had just pulled over so she could hop out and buy a sixpack when my phone rang. My sister rooted around in my bag to find my phone, and my heart sank a little when she reported that the number was unlisted. When I answered and heard l'Artista's voice, I had a sudden, irrational urge to hide the fact that he was calling from my sister, who still hadn't exited the car. (As it turns out, this was utterly useless since she told me later that she had recognized his voice the moment I answered.) "Oh, hi!" I said casually when I heard his voice, still as familiar as the back of my hand even though I haven't heard it in over four years, "hold on a sec." I tried to make it sound as normal as possible, as though I were actually talking with someone who speaks English.

I hoped Ms. Swamp would disappear quickly, but she was looking for her purse. "Who is it?" she asked, her curiosity obviously piqued.

"Get out of the car!" I hissed back, abandoning any pretense that it was a normal phone call. She threw me a quizzical look, grabbed her purse and left, at which point I told l'Artista that I was with my sister and couldn't talk. We made plans to talk another time.

We finally talked this evening, and it turns out my fears about his memories of our breakup were utterly unfounded. He feels awful about it, and says he feels that he went out of his way to create problems that he then couldn't face. I think he's right, and that it was a very weak, bad moment for a person who is overall decent and caring.

It was pleasant, if a bit surreal, to hear his voice. Mostly it felt as though no time at all has passed since we spoke last, whereas in reality my entire life has changed since then. It feels as though he knows me so well, but in fact there are so many things he doesn't know about me, since in many ways I'm not the same person I was when we broke up. Whether or not I know him is hard to say.

I may have the chance to explore this further soon. When we said goodbye, I told him to feel free to call again if he wants to. But we also might do more than talk on the phone soon, since I received the astonishing news a few weeks ago that my parents participated in a raffle and WON A WEEKLONG VACATION IN A VILLA IN TUSCANY. Crazy, right?? And actually it's not one villa but two, and it's on a vineyard, and there is a pool. In the photos it looks absolutely gorgeous. It's probable that we'll be going next July, if the dates work out.

Still not sure how I feel about actually seeing l'Artista, but if there's one thing I'm certain I'm excited about it's eating one of his amazing meals. My stomach is growling in anticipation already.

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