She sips her mimosa lightly with tightly pursed lips.
I smile and gulp my coffee as butterflies fill my stomach.
"Yeah. He's pretty great," I say, dreamily. I'm awash in my affections for a moment before I snap back to the present. "I mean, we haven't been together for very long, but we're having a blast."
"You've had quite a lot of boyfriends, haven't you?" Her nonchalant tone and dainty British accent almost conceal the pointed curiosity behind her probing.
I feel my entire body flush and instantly start to sweat. "Yes. As a matter of fact I have." Her question was bold for someone I haven't seen in six years. "What are you getting at?"
"Oh I didn't mean it like that, I just mean..."
Yeah. What do you mean.
She somewhat stutters, "I wasn't trying to shame you or anything. I just remember that back in the day, you were more described as... whats the word? I don't know how to say it."
Without emotion I offer the term, "Polyamorous Pansexual?"
"Yes! Something like that, anyway. You had this aura around you... like you were too cool to approach but it was also like a vortex that people would fall in and never escape."
It seemed like a somewhat sinister description, however she beamed in wonder and delight at being able to remind me of the personal power I once wielded.
Now I take a gulp of my mimosa. "Well, at least I used to be 'cool.'"
"If I could count the people who feel into your votex and never to recover... Danny tried to kill himself when you left him, remember? And Marc had it bad as well. And If I recall --"
"Ok, yeah, I guess I was somewhat of a heartbreaker back then." I wasn't really enjoying these tales of emotional obliteration that I had left in my wake. And no, I hadn't remembered these ugly details.
"Uh, saying that you were a 'heartbreaker' is such an understatement." She shifted nervously. "But what I was getting at was that you used to be with ... all kinds of people. Then something happened and you seem to be mostly interested in men." Cue nervous laughter.
Oh the boxes I get put in.
"I recently got my heart torn out by a lady, so. I'm glad to have gotten over that and now I can move on with my life."
She looked surprised. I hadn't really blasted what happened on social media, so I suppose in that sense it didn't really happen (if not in front of all eyes). "What happened?"
I was on one knee behind her in the kitchen. She wouldn't stop washing dishes, ever the excellent home-maker. She reflected, whilst rinsing and drying, that ever day we spent together was the best day she'd ever had. I gently took her hand when it became available and she turned around to find me there, looking up at her.
"What are you doing?" She looked alarmed.
"It can still be the best day, every day." And then I proposed we get married.
She turned away back to the dishes, angry. "I can't believe you would do that."
"Why not? We're insane for each other. I love you."
"You think I'd marry for a green card?!" She whipped her body back towards me, and her eyes were livid.
"No! No, sweetheart it's not like that. I want to marry you for you. And yes, I want you to be able to stay here with me, if that's what you want, and take care of you." And I really did mean that.
Despite my sincerity, I lost the discussion. Not because she didn't say yes, but because I had embarrassed and upset her. She was not going to stay, and she likely thought that I was insane or worse, disingenuous.
She left and days, weeks, months passed. I cried a lot thinking of her. I begged her to come back. I helplessly watched her fall into a pit of despair and drown in booze. She insisted during the day that she was happy, that I should be more supportive. But once night fell, there was a lot of sturm und drang in her phone calls and messages, and she drank like it was an olympic sport. Finally, the calls stopped coming. The last message from her I received was a post in the mail, containing a picture of her dancing. There was no return address.
Over the months, I stopped playing guitar. One of my favorite songs to play only reminded me of her, and inevitably whilst playing it, the lyrics would become choked in tears. I lovingly put away things that reminded me of her. One day, it stopped stinging so badly. I stopped thinking of her all the time -- things she would like, how I could surprise her if she was here, our inside jokes -- and I even was able to get drunk without getting sad about her. And finally, I was able to move on.
"Honestly, love, it sounds like you're really better off. It seems like she was a whole lot of drama."
I glance at her sideways for this assessment. She doesn't know everything. It's impossible to relay the details of something so complicated, amazing, and heartbreaking with any accuracy in a short conversation. But with a sigh, I decide it's best for me to accept this judgement as having truth to it. What's the point in fighting it, when I've moved on? Formerly described 'Polyamorous Pansexual' little ole me was in a bonafide monogamous relationship with a straight man. And despite the contrasting comparisons of this notion with a portrait of who I have been in the past, I feel just fine.