Richie had just started a graduate program and was living at home with his parents, so we were quiet as we entered his dark house and made for his basement. We were both drunk but not tired at all, so we decided to sit up and watch some TV before going to bed. We chose The Office, a show Richie’d gotten me into when we’d dated in college. He’d owned the DVD box sets and we had watched marathons of it back in college, laughing and quoting it. That Phyllis never ceased to crack us up and Michael Scott’s great line, asking “What’s it like to try on Phyllis’s pants.” So good.
We settled in to watch a couple of episodes, sitting on a couch, each taking up our own side. We faced forward, watched the TV and didn’t say much. I don’t know if it was the awkwardness of the moment or our drunkenness that kept us so quiet. I didn’t want to bring up Richie’s boyfriend’s actions from earlier — his groping or the clear tension the two of them had had the whole night. It wasn’t my place to comment, though I certainly took solace in the fact that they seemed to be having relationship issues. (Isn’t that always the way. Even when an ex- has a new boyfriend and you don’t, if they’re not as good as you then you can think well, damn, you fell off after me.)
It was cold in Richie’s basement, and somehow we ended up sharing a blanket. Still, that didn’t help to cut the silence. At one point I felt Richie’s foot nudging mine, somewhat insistently.
Maybe it was nothing. Or maybe it was Richie’s subtle way of trying to make a move. (Mind you, this was the same basement where we had hooked up back in the summer of 2009 when I’d visited him. His parents had just gone to bed upstairs and we tried to keep quiet. I was staying in the guest room for the week because we were still in college and that’s how parents are. We’d left the lights off to try to stay as secretive as we could. In the darkness we’d gone at it after having not seen each other for a month or two. I’d almost gotten cum in my eye. Which is not a pleasant thing, feeling a warm surprise right on your cheek.) I’ll give Richie the benefit of the doubt, though.
In any case, I was drunk and tired and just wanted to go to bed. (I was sleeping in Richie’s sister’s vacant room on this visit. I’d been upgraded, I guess, to the bigger room that also happened to be farther away from Richie’s, his parents’ room lying between the two.) So I didn’t acknowledge the foot nudge. I just kept my focus forward and continued to watch the episode of The Office.
It wasn’t lost on me, however, that both Richie and his boyfriend had made “passes” (I’ll throw that in quotes because I really don’t know if that was either of their true intentions) at me. In most cases I don’t have a problem being a mistress. I’m not the one cheating. Usually you don’t even know that the guy has a boyfriend hidden away somewhere. But in this case I did know there was a boyfriend, had met him earlier in the night, and I had no interest in retreading old territory. (It might have been different if you were the one doing the foot nudging that night, though.)
After that episode of The Office ended Richie and I called it a night. He showed me to my room and that’s that.
It’s been four years since Richie broke up with me — my first ever break-up — and I’m the crazy one sitting here remembering it. Reminiscing over how my life remained intertwined with Richie even after we were no longer together. I guess you never know how things will turn out in the future.
I wonder where we’ll be on August 16th, 2017. Will we be friends? Will we both still live in New York City? Will I be single? Or in a relationship? What about you? I’ll be twenty-nine and you twenty-eight. Is that old enough for you to start looking to settle down? Will we have gotten back together? Or attempted it and failed again? Will we be friends?
Or maybe we won’t even know each other anymore. It’s hard for me to imagine that now. But a lot can happen in four years.