Saturday, October 20, 2007

a roomful of elephants

My ex-fiance is getting married next weekend. I'm very happy for him. When he called me a few weeks ago to wish me a belated Happy Birthday he sounded very excited and very, very happy. I was happy to hear it and I wish him well.

Quite randomly this week, I have had the occasion to speak with two of the Ex's best friends in the whole wide world, both his girl best friend who lives around here and his boy best friend, who the Ex has known since childhood, who used to live in Boston and now lives in LA.

Both of the Ex's best friends are fairly closely connected to the Mathematician. In fact, if it hadn't been for this confluence of friendships, the Mathematician and I would never have ended up together...but that is a story and situation that would require a blog and book of it's own. The girl best friend is married to an old college buddy of the Mathematician's She had a baby four months ago, so the Mathematician and I went to their house in the suburbs to meet him. The boy best friend used to play in a rock band with the Mathematician. They hadn't talked in several months and were catching up on the phone while waiting for the Sox game to start. The Mathematician passed me the phone so I could say hello.

Curiously, both during our visit to the suburbs at the girl best friend's house and my phone chat with the boy best friend, neither said a word to me about the impending nuptials of my Ex. I can only imagine they were doing this out of politesse, or respect, or perhaps because the Ex's personal life is simply none of my goddamn business anymore. I eventually brought the nuptial situation up with the girl best friend, and it was so extremely awkward that I didn't even go there with the boy best friend.

In both cases, I found the grave omission of this important event from these conversations so strange. It was as though all the years we spent hanging out together as mutual friends, watching baseball, or drinking too many cocktails, or taking weird road trips and maybe even fighting with one another, had been erased. I can't blame them, I'm sure I'd have followed the same course of action. But still, it felt weird, as though we were ignoring the whole reason that we ever knew each other in the first place.

It reminded me of a story a close friend of mine told me about the time she had a mole removed from her face. She returned to campus for class that evening with a huge bandage covering a third of her chin. This being Sarah Lawrence, she ran into like 15 different people on the way into class. Friendly girl that she is, she stopped to say hello to every one of them. And not a single person that she talked to made mention of the GINORMOUS bandage that so awkwardly obscured a huge portion of face. No one asked, "Oh my god, are you okay?" No one even uttered, "Wow, what happened to your face?" Everyone just chatted away with her as though nothing had happened. As though the bandage didn't exist at all. We laughed about it when she told me that story--I mean, politeness is one thing, but avoidance or denial? That's quite another.

My interactions with the Ex's best friends reminded me instantly of that. Again, I can't blame them. But it still felt so strange.

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