Last night I ran into Tyler, one of your roommates and your best friend. It was my first “connected-to-you” run-in, and I didn’t know what to expect. I mean, yes, I knew that eventually I’d run into you or one of your friends. It’s inevitable even in New York City. But I wasn’t ready for it to happen just yet. I’ve been living in fear of it, actually. Fear of what your friends will think of me, fear that they’ll have something to yell at me or that they’ll just ignore me completely. Even though they were your friends, I felt like in our year and a half together they became my friends too. I loved hanging out with them and playing boards games. And even though you had told me that they kind of missed having me at group outings, that me not being there changed the dynamics, I still wasn’t sure how’d they react to me now. Especially with you not present.
I always liked Tyler. You’ve known him since you were like eighteen. You lived with him in college for a few years and now you’ve lived with him in New York for the past eighteen months. I always got along with him way better than I did with your other roommate.
But I was still nervous to see Tyler again. I had already thought about it, what could happen when I eventually saw any of your friends out. I have worst-case scenarios drafted up for each of them. Never mind the nightmare it’d be if I ran into all of them at once, which would only be made worse because you’d most definitely be there, too.
Tyler is actually the one I dreaded running into the most. He’s your best friend and somehow I knew he’d be the first one I saw. He goes out the most of all of you. He didn’t like me when you and I first started dating. I remember him drunkenly telling me this about six months into our relationship. He’d changed his mind about me by that point. But it still didn’t help knowing that at the start he had loathed me, thought that I was terrible for you, despite all the sports I could talk with him. If there’s one thing Tyler’s passionate about, it’s Oklahoma State athletics, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, the Oklahoma Thunder and just sports in general. Like me, I’m sure he’d be happy sitting and watching curling all day (which is actually a super intriguing chess match of a sport). Running into him now, I thought that maybe this original distaste for me would show up again, maybe now that we are no longer dating he could get back to disliking me.
But it was Tyler who came up to me. I didn’t even see him. We were going into some bar and all of a sudden I felt this tap on my shoulder. I was already with the only people I know who go to gay bars, so I had no idea who it could be. Turning, though, I recognized Tyler. He had his football friends with him. Lou and Nico who I’ve met on several occasions. I haven’t seen them in like four months, though. And I haven’t seen Tyler since early-August. Crazy how much time has passed already. My friends went on inside. I don’t think they even saw Tyler flag me down. I stayed out and talked to him for a little while.
Obviously some of our conversation involved you. But I tried to keep that topic to a minimum. I asked how your birthday party had gone the night before, and that was it. Then we moved on to mostly sports. Nadal regaining the number one ranking in the world, lots of college football – Oklahoma getting upset that afternoon by a terrible Texas team, Baylor barely holding on to beat Kansas State, Oklahoma State’s terrible loss to West Virginia a few weeks before…a lot of Big Twelve stuff.
I also learned a couple of interesting things from Tyler. First, he tore his ACL. That’s terrible luck. I can’t imagine how much it must be killing him not to be able to run or play tennis or lift weights or play any more games in the New York City Gay Football League. He said he’s having surgery over Thanksgiving, so hopefully that’ll go well. But it’s still a long PT road to full recovery. My kickball friend had surgery to repair his ACL a month ago, and it’s been hard. (A lot of canes stolen at bars.) At least you all have an elevator in your building.
Tyler also told me that your other roommate (the one I don’t particularly like) ended up going home with your boss after your birthday party. At first I thought Tyler meant your actual boss, the flamboyant forty-something man who I met at the Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake concert, your group director, who talked on and on about how amazing the Madonna concert had been at Yankee Stadium a few years before. Kind of queeny and not your other roommate’s type at all. And that’s why it would have been hilarious. Your director’s older and has a nice (I assume) apartment in Chelsea. Think of all the free dinners and beach weekends your other roommate could get out of him. He’s always looking for a deal.
But no, it was only one of your managers. Apparently he tried to get with all of your friends. No surprise that you other roommate took him up on the offer. I wonder how awkward Monday morning will be for you. Hopefully your manager will realize your roommate’s just in it for the sex. Co-workers dating friends…that sounds like a nightmare, especially if that co-worker is one of your supervisors.
At the end of the conversation I told Tyler that I missed our sports talks. I also told him that we should watch a game or something sometime. I know that’s not going to happen, but I felt the need to relay some show of friendliness. Because like I said before, I do really like Tyler. And I love talking sports. All I have now is Kristen to talk football with. I need my regular sports fix which Tyler always gave me. Who am I going to wax rhapsodic with come NCAA basketball season? It’s just around the corner. And Oklahoma State is supposed to be good this year, maybe even better than my team, the Kentucky Wildcats.
One of the best things out of the conversation was that Lou told me I looked skinnier, like I’d lost a lot of weight. My workout success continues, just so you know. I’m still at fifteen pounds lighter. (To re-enforce Lou’s words, later that night my friend Scott decided to make a drunken confession. He told me that back when we were still dating I had “let myself go.” Which is true, especially in contrast to where I’m at now and the workouts I’m doing. But it still pissed me off. I mean, fuck Scott for saying that. Because yes, I know I let myself go some back then. But my letting myself go is still better than most people on their best days. And I know that sounds super narcissistic, but those are the words that ran through my drunken head last night. I don’t have much of a filter on regular days. When I’m drunk, everything just spews out.)
After Tyler and I finished talking I headed inside. It was good to know that your friends don’t hold a grudge or hate me categorically for being an ex-. One less thing to be afraid of, though I’m still going to avoid Hell’s Kitchen for a while. I’ll return soon. But right now I’d rather not run the risk of seeing you out. I’m lucky it was one of Tyler’s nights with his football buddies or you would have been there. And as well as I am doing with our break-up right now, I know that seeing you and the inevitable awkwardness that would ensue would set me back. When I’m ready to run into you again, I’m sure you’ll see me in Hell’s Kitchen, but until then I’ll keep having a good time in the East Village.