I’m an ex, the crossed-out name in a lengthy list that extends from her wild youth to her smoldering maturity.
I occur after a bitter enemy and precede a mysterious new face–most likely a more good-looking one with whiter teeth and healthier skin. But deep in my proud heart, I won’t ever admit that.
The truth is, other exes and the present partner/s can all eat my stinkin’ sock.
On a drunken night when you hit on her, you’d miss my name in her abridged history of love.
I’ll get labeled by some simplistic means of reduction in aid of memory. I’ll be “the one who wrote pointless, mushy letters” or “the one with the hopeless rage problem” or “the one who just couldn’t buy dinner.” On second thought, maybe there’s more than one of us exes who will fit that last category.
Perhaps I’d consider myself lucky when she lets something slip about how my mother was one of the best cooks she ever knew. But you wouldn’t care, you bastard.
For the most part, I’m a statistic. A single digit in a double-digit total of guys who used to be so truthfully, so dramatically romantic. If you ask her how many exes she’s had, she’ll give you a figure and I’ll be there. Included in there somewhere. In other words, I’ll come in a pack. Or a set. Or a kit.
You could say I’m objectified. Depending on her life, I’ll either be the equivalent of a shrunken head worn by a fearless warrior or just another dead weight to a pirate victim who walked the plank and is now sinking to the bottom of the ocean.
But basically, I’m an ex.
I’m a sealed-off memory containing our enchanted hopes and wishes that will never see the light of day again. Don’t even try to pry the seal off or my magic will engulf you.
I was her insatiable fancy.
I used to go with her morning coffee, digested with everything sweet and tasty. Burped with delight.
I was part of her daily healthy habit.
From her deadpan look, I won’t fault you if you find it difficult to imagine that she used to care about me so stupidly. So foolishly. She’d give me clothes, and food, and thoughts, and gifts, and lascivious glances you can only dream about. For now.
And in return, I also gave her my attention, my letters, my mother’s cooking, my hugs and kisses, and rage, and sarcasm, and violence, and rotting pride.
But we used to go out a lot. You’d laugh at the fast foods we raided but nothing’s cheap in the conversations we shared and the emotions we explored. I know that she loves her grandma immeasurably and she knows that’s also how much I love my mom. My soul is entwined in her deepest, darkest secrets and at some point, I became an indispensable character in the novel of her life. It will take a lot of your fancy dinners to match that level of intimacy over spicy fried chicken and ice-cold soda.
Look at her eyes, which may be arching in glee or drooping in boredom over your career talk. Those eyes used to behold me with unearthly tenderness. And I used to stare at them and see myself, alone–a king basking in her mind’s landscapes. I used to make them quiver with anticipation or red in tears.
Hold her hand. It’ll strike your heart how soft it is. I am as at home with that hand in mine as you’re excitedly unfamiliar to it right now.
Touch her hair. Is it wavy? It used to be the curliest thing in the world, rolling and coiling everywhere like the first roller coaster we rode that launched us into the sky. Maybe she cut it or straightened it out to move on from the cheerful memories of me. Wouldn’t it kill you if it were so?
Put your arms around her waist. It used to be my home.
Kiss her lips. They used to be my playground.
Fuck her brains out. I was her god.
But today, I’m only an ex.
Depending on the type of person you are, I’ll be something taboo or an impossible world record you’ll have to keep on trying to beat all your miserable stint as a boyfriend. Or as a mediocre, balding husband.
Oh, I won’t get off your back, won’t let you sleep, never let you alone, smile at you from the toilet bowl when you pee if you even give me the slightest chance.
You can try to shut her up but the moment you laze around in your cheesy rituals and duties, she’ll utter the first syllable of my name and it will tear you to shreds, you indolent fuck. It’ll ruin the expensive food on the table that tastes nothing like my mom’s expertly home-cooked meals. It’ll interrupt your useless talk about basketball and before you know it, you’re my ultimate bitch, Bitch.
Yet again, you may get lucky and she’ll forget about me. Completely.
I’ll remain on that prestigious list but it will get tattered, burnt and carry on in its accelerated decomposition over time.
All the traces of my being will disappear from her skin. My feeble spark will go out from the complex neural networks of her electric mind.
She’ll be Her without exes.
She’ll be her own new self.
She’ll be Her. A self-sufficient, independent, fresh soul devoid of blotchy histories with strange, scraggly men.
In that case, you’ll win. I can’t imagine–but you’ll win and you’ll bring home the bacon. And the wife.
You’ll have winged fairies for kids whose pictures will lay waste to my heart that’s supposed to have moved on a long, long time ago.
Your simple, yellow home in the countryside will pluck my imagination like an ivory palace in one of my old fairy tale books as a child.
Your short, loving embraces will be my eternal condemnation.
Your quickest kisses, my centuries of regret.
Hell, your brown dog will be my devil.
‘Cause I’m her forgotten ex, the crossed-out name on a lengthy list that extends from her wild youth to her smoldering maturity.
It’s fair to say that since I failed to give her the future she wanted, I must willingly offer her the unfolding present. With a fossilized version of myself lodged in its crevices or not.
Though I have much to say and many things to do, I must pound it into my head to take my rightful place in the list. Scream her name no more. Struggle out of my bonds no more. Try to be her hero no more.
For it’s time to be a statistic.
A passing subject of small talk.
At best, a friend. At worst, a recurring nightmare.
It’s time to be an ex.