The decision to sling-shot him from my life was not a difficult one. Although we had some low budget dinner dates and walks around the city he wore a tortured artist persona (minus any evidence of art) like a smelly pea coat, forcing gloom onto even the brightest of situations, and it made me weary.  The night I looked over from my spot on the dance floor surrounded by gyrating, spinning spectators at a tiny club, a super-groovy funk band making the room pulse and sweat to it’s beat, and saw him sulking pitifully at the bar, I knew we were done.  It was time to pull back the giant rubber band and shoot him into space and go back to being young and vibrant in the greatest city in the world with the new added wrinkle of needing to avoid him at work.

Our desks were on opposite sides of the building, so it shouldn’t have been difficult to un-cross any potential paths, but he kept calling me, leaving mumbled, gravelly, rambling messages about “wanting to talk.” His efforts into the end of the relationship might have counted for something had they been in the middle of the relationship, but they weren’t and they didn’t. I was compassionate, but brief, hoping that a few forceful pushes would get this brooding bird out of my nest.20100821_6563-1

I should have known he would show up at the corporate sponsored End of Season Event – an open bar was his favorite kind of bar – but I was so focused on my own impending good time I didn’t think about the implications of finding myself trapped in a packed room with a drunk, confrontational ex until I turned around and found myself trapped in a packed room with a drunk, confrontational ex. He stepped up to me with a woozy snarl in stark contrast to the hoots of revelry surrounding us, looking like Kurt Cobain wrapped in a Morrissey poncho as if this was the perfect moment to rehash our short yet crappy relationship.

I'm so angry and complicated

I’m so angry and complicated

He made some slurry accusations, and I responded with a few deflective retorts I hoped would shut down the showdown. Then, suddenly, he pounced on me, hands in neck-wringing position. I was in the middle of taking a sip of my drink and his assault caused me to smack the top of the bottle so hard against my two front teeth I was positive they were cracked into jagged fangs. Shocked, I immediately turned my back on him to the wall of partiers behind me and pushed into the crowd, allowing it to absorb me into it’s center like a nutrient into a stomach lining.  Finding my way through the press of bodies was like running under water, fleeing very gradually in slow motion. I blinked through the smoke and small-talk and kept my eyes on the exit sign, finally squeezing like toothpaste out the front door and onto the sidewalk.

When flowers arrived the next day I dropped the note of apology into the garbage.  I presented

this is my "goodbye" smile

this is my “goodbye” smile

the bouquet to my roommate, a token of love for someone who deserved it,  accompanied by a doozy of a story about the night before and a grateful smile revealing still intact, shiny, front teeth.

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