Saturday, December 22, 2007

And now the disadvantages of small town life...

Lest you think my last post was a little too warm and fuzzy, I've been reminded of some of the less pleasing aspects of small town life.

My mom mentioned yesterday that she had seen C, my previously discussed (strongly recommended to read this post to get our story) troubled high school sweetheart, a number of times in town lately, and he seems to have improved a great deal. He apparently had asked about my whereabouts, and requested that she get me to contact him when I returned home for the holidays.

I felt as though a great weight came off my shoulders, knowing that he is becoming re-engaged with life. I decided to make the effort to contact him, which I had resisted for so many years, thinking it was his choice when he wanted to reach out, as a high school ex-girlfriend may be the last person he wanted to hear from when dealing with his demons.

Fast forward to last night, at a lounge, enjoying a martini with the nearest thing I've ever had to a life-long best friend.

(We've know each other since we were ten, and my parents raised her like she was a daughter, with her living with us for period of time. We had a slight blip in the radar at around 19-20 years old, which is another story for another post, but have done reasonable well at re-patching things up over the past 5 or so years)

We are talking about the end of her last relationship a few months ago. She blurts out "I'm actually dating someone." She pauses.

Now, readers, I'm sure you can see this coming a mile away, due to my lame attempts at foreshadowing, but it took me from out of left field.

"It's actually someone you've dated."

I search my mind, and quickly decide, for no apparent reason, that it must be the summer fling I had at 15. It seems like the only possible option. I look at her quizzically.

"It's C."

I stayed silent for a moment, really unsure of what to say.

"I just felt like I needed to tell you in person, straight up."

It wasn't jealous I was feeling, most certainly. I hadn't seen the guy in five years, and wasn't holding my breath for any sort of reconnection, even on the level of a friendship.

I just felt really ill at ease. As if things were a little polluted. I just never thought that the boy I would usually refer to as my first love would ever be sleeping with my best friend.

And while I've been aware of the multiple romances that have taken place in the space between when him and I said goodbye and the present, somehow the fact that he is with her seems to put a little chink in my memories, which are really what I cherished. Because, being my best friend, a number of the memories of those times also involved her. Involved the three of us.

I took a deep breath.

"Thank you for telling me the truth-- I really appreciate it. And know I'm not mad at you. More than enough time has passed for there to be any formal boundaries like that. You just have to understand that in this moment, this just feels really weird."

Weird is still the only word that applies, I guess.

I know it's not a big deal, in the long run.

Crossing boundaries is part of the package of small town life.

Before the Duke, virtually every boy I'd ever kissed had kissed one of my friends.

I remember, after a party, trying to go to sleep on a bedroom floor, only to realize that I was nearly pressed up against the kissing bodies of my good friend and the boy who dumped me a month or two earlier.

My sister even went on a date or two with a fellow I'd had a two-week "relationship" with in Grade 9.

I recall, just a few years ago, a close friend coming back from a visit home, recounting a kiss, and me laughing out loud, saying "I think you just finished your reign as being the last of my friends from high school who hadn't, at least once, kissed the same guy as me!"

Another reunion had three of us girls at a table, watching an old high school friend walk to the bar, suddenly realizing that all three of us had slept with him.

It all was a little incestuous, in reflection. But you kind of just learned to grit your teeth. These odd boundary crossings were just another fact of life when the range of possibilities were so limited.

It is a relief to know that, when I kiss my guy, though I am not the first lips he's kissed, it is not as though I am becoming tangled up in my own history.


distractedspunk said...

I know how that works. I have a group of friends, of whom D was a part of, that was exactly like that. We were among the lesser evils, having only been with one or two others in the group, unlike the majority.

Princess of the Universe said...

My high school best friends and I had a rule: you don't touch your friend's exes, potentials or wanna be's.
It kind of worked...

captain corky said...

I can see how you would feel be a bit awkward at first. I know I've been in your shoes once or twice, but finally I decided to move to KY so I could hunt fresh game. ;)

singleton said...

"As if things were a little polluted"....
From one small-towner to another, yup, that's just the way it reads to me.....
In high school it's really just the way of the roadtrip, but there's something just
too personal
about it happening over 21.....
it's because lover's talk....:)

Wishing you a wonderful holiday, sweetie, and a big town romance!

lspoon said...

This is why I'm glad my parents moved away from the town where I grew up inwhen I left for college.

And your friend gets a gold star for being honest with you. And you get a platinum star for being an adult about it!

nicoleantoinette said...

My friends and I used to call our high school group incestuous, because it seemed like everyone had been with everyone at some point.

But that doesn't make it easier/less weird to hear. I would have reacted the exact same way you did. Actually, I probably would have been a lot more immature and pouty. So kudos to you for being admirably classy.

Maxie said...

Ugh, this is one of the many reasons living in a small town is frustrating. My high school graduating class had like 100 people and we overlap all the time. I've kind of sworn off dating in my town b/c everyone has so many connections to my friends.

You handled it really well though, I would never able to deal.

Yoda said...

Now, where is this town you speak of? Where every half-decent guy gets to sleep with attractive women like you and your friends??

I shall move to this town PRONTO!!

Arielle said...

I think your response to her was perfect. You expressed what you thought without flying off the handle. That takes a lot of strength, sorry you had to go through that but I'm very impressed. I don't think I would have behaved myself as well as that.

Airam said...

That has to really suck. I hope that it doesn't taint your friendship with her ... it was really big of her to tell you first without you finding out through other people though. That must've been hard for her.

Psychgrad said...

I agree that it was good of her to tell you in person...but I ascribe more the rule that POTU mentioned. I guess it's more difficult if the number of people in the same age range is small. Did she say anything more about how C was doing?

thestoryofagirl said...

Yeah. I never had the whole all 3 friends slept with the same guy at the bar thing, but I've been in a situation similar to that. It's definitely...weird to say the least.

I'm glad you were mature about it though, though I'm not sure I would've expected anything less from you. ;-)

Wendy said...

Merry Christmas princess! I hope you're having a wonderful time with your family! :)

It is definitely weird and unfortunately I know exactly what you're talking about, I "dated" (I shouldn't even call it that, really, it was..well too complicated to even bother) my friend's ex in high school and after all that drama, I promised myself that I wouldn't get entangled in something similar again and thankfully I haven't.

I just hope things don't get awkward between C, your friend, and you.

eric1313 said...

I'm from a megalopolis, and it still happens just like this!

The guy's side of this is strange, let me tell ya. When one guy starts talking about sex with a girl that others in their group of friends also had sex with, or even worse, didn't but tried to, things can be tense, especially if some of the people involved aren't overly articulate or are inebriated. Clinically speaking, of course.

Then, it's like everyone is waiting to hear something like, "so, uh, how do I taste?"

Guys are really efin' bad!

The worst is a love triangle. That will bring fisticuffs, zingers said overtly or inferred. Especially when inebriation becomes a factor.

Hope to here more from your small town series!

Michelle said...

wow. i guess in a small town that might be easier to accept. you handled it much better than i think i ever could.

Drama Div@ said...

sorry, I hadn't read your blog for a while, and have been enjoying catching up on yours! Happy Christmas and a happy New Year!

brookem said...

I can relate to that sort of, indescribable feeling of weirdness that's present with the news of your old friend now with your high school sweetheart. Although you may not still harbor any romantic feelings for someone, it can still feel weird hearing they are with someone else, especially someone you know so well.

Will you contact him after all?

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

I can (and have) been OK with sleeping with someone a friend had previously.

Long term, I don't know. Would that be comfortable?
In principle, there shouldn't be an issue. None of it should matter, but it does seem to, and there are codes in place, certainly regarding sleeping with the exes of friends.

I suspect they won't last forever, but I try to observe them.

Crashdummie said...

wohow... now thats what I call a small world (or city). Must be extremly akward kinda sharing your old boyfriends like that.

Isnt there like a codex between galpals of which "princess of the universe" mentioned - you shall not touch your friend's exes, potentials or wanna be's.

if not - add it up asap!!!

Happy holidays

eric1313 said...

Merry Christmas, Princess!

May Santa be extra good to you--considering he tends to stiff us more and more as we age...

Therapeutic Ramblings said...

My HS sweetheart was the ex of a buddy of mine from HS, that was...odd for a bit.

I went to a very liberal college and everyone pretty much slept with everyone, and it somehow worked...since no one was really off limits. We once made a chart to see how everyone was connected, and it was scary....just think Inkblot. There was a wedding awhile back, and I had hooked up with the bride and all of the bridesmaids, with the exception of the maid of honor...who I'd never met. Good times!

ps. You handled that really well.

Therapeutic Ramblings said...

pss. Are they serious? I think that would make a diff. for me too.

Abbey said...

I'd still be weirded out. I know the small town thing, blah blah blah. Just still would really bother me. Course, in light of the fact that I'm friends with Beemers most recent ex...and I'm having a hard time getting past that...and she's now dating someone that I'd been friendly with...this makes me feel somewhat better.

Miriam D said...

Yeah, I can understand how that can be weird. Which is why I'm glad my group of friends is large enough (and also mostly gay - seeing as I'm not, I don't partake in the friend-cest) that this doesn't happen very often.

A Margarita said...

I feel like it should be an inviolable rule that your friends don't touch your exes. I recently found out that an ex-boyfriend kissed one of my closest friends, and it's weird for me to hang around them now. And all they shared was a drunken kiss. I can see how it hard it would be if they had actually slept together.

Valerie said...

Being from a small town, I can definitely relate to the "hooking up with the same people" thing. That is weird, though, about your friend dating C. I would feel different about the past as well after something like that had happened.