Every six to nine months, The Ex and I decide that a catch-up coffee is in order.
This time around was brought about by a text message I sent after seeing his apparent twin on the street... something akin to "Were you just on Main Street?"
When his (tres, tres jealous, as some of you may remember) girlfriend texted me back from his phone, I knew he was in trouble.
And in trouble he was, as I found out from him the next day, when he told me that my clearly salacious text had led to her accusations of our secret plans to get back together.
I guess he assumed we might as well meet for coffee in the aftermath of her regular bouts of insecurity, rather than face another round at a later date.
Meetings with him are always rife with an odd contrast of sorts. A lot about him is familiar-- the smell of his car, or the way in which he orders his coffee. Yet the talk always feels so shallow. We are usually able to make it about an hour by virtue of sheer catch-up-- the lives of ourselves and others-- marriages, babies, houses purchased, job changes, holidays, and so forth. At around the hour point, after we've gotten down to the updates on grandparents, things start to get a little slow, and we veer into "Are you excited about the new Batman?" territory.
There is also a contrast in our manner of tackling conversations about our current partners. I circle around it a little bit, using terms such as "we" to describe my life. He asks me no questions. While talking about the city's rental market, I mention nonchalantly that the Duke and I are living together, he winces almost automatically, and tries to cloak it by an artificially casual "oh yeah". He avoids the relationship small talk, and jumps head first into the deep end, going into the same story he tells on each of our biannual meetings about her jealousy and their arguments. I feel as though I am being baited, and thus bite my tongue, though I can't help but retort "She does know that women make up 51% of the population, right?" when he tells me she was angry about him going to a beach without her because there would be girls there.
We end things before we cross the uncomfortable silences line, with a smile, and a vow to meet up again in the next six months or so. He adds in "... which should be the next time I'm allowed to see you."
And although I do appreciate the light level of contact that we have been able to maintain, as I ride the train back home, I can't help but wonder what we talked about for six years.