A funny thing happened on the way to the forum.
The movie forum that is. I was on my way to a midnight screening, alone, of an undisclosed biopic (don’t want to embarrass myself too much here considering what’s to come) when I felt two quick vibrations in my right coat pocket. Figuring it was someone obnoxious, I ignored it for a few blocks. Dying of wonderment I whipped out my Blackberry Pearl. It was my ex, the ex I’ve been in love with for merely half of my adult life. Our tumultuous relationship ended on a sour note but we have since made peace so I was quite pleased with his text asking how city life was treating me. Great! I exclaimed. Soon before long he started going on and on about his job hunt, typical, very typical. So I listened and encouraged the banter, once a year is allowed I assumed.
I’m not quite sure how the conversation went but in my attempt to share this moment with you I’ll repeat exactly how it sounds in my head.
“So I can’t apply there unless I’m an NY resident, blahblah, apartment hunting, blahblah, no money, blahblah, idea, blahblah, we should get engaged.” A beat.
Suddenly my heart dropped out of my anus and I couldn’t breath. I sat down in the middle of the sidewalk, in the middle of West Houston, and caught my breath wishing I had brought a brown bag along for such emergencies. Was he kidding? Should I make a joke back? Should I call my Mom? My Grandma? Tell her the news? Where would we live? I’d have to get a more stable job. Start saving for our child’s college fund.
That. Was what was going through my sick, sick mind?
I ended up returning with some stupid joke and he complimented the jokes with serious statements furthering confirmation that this was real. I would only need to change my electrical bills to his name, take some pictures with him and his family, keep some of his stuff at my place, etc. I was actually going along without question. What is my problem? This is a guy who ruined my life, cheated on me, spread high school rumors about me and I was plain ol’ following him like a lovesick puppy dog. The kicker in this situation is he has a girlfriend, a serious one at that, the love of his life that I was never able to match up in my years of trying, whom he had since gotten back together with. This was going to be quite the challenge.
A few weeks went by and I hadn’t heard from him so I presumed his idea had subsided.
Of course hours after this thought I receive a phone call from non-other.
There’s a good chance I got the job!
That’s so great! ←Not what I was really thinking. Air began to quickly escape from my lungs.
So are you ok what with we talked about last week? I just have to prove residency at this point.
Sure, yeah that should be fine. ←WHAT!?!?!
Great! So why don’t I come in the city later and we can have dinner and figure out the logistics.
That sounds perfect, I’ll be home by 6.
Cool, be there a little after. See you later.
I hung up the phone and thought I was about to throw up everywhere. I quickly called me mother to ask her what to do (even though some demon inside me decided already, and used my mouth to communicate that). Needless to say she was less than thrilled. There was a lot of sighing and belittling basically no advice so I was still left with this proposal dinner tonight and no light at the end of the tunnel.
He arrived right on time and I had picked up some Chinese and a bottle of wine (for me) hoping it to look as unromantic as possible. He came with a bag of clothes and some old photos of us.
I don’t really understand this part. I can’t imagine that they would break into “your home” to check and see if your underwear were in a drawer.
It’s just in case really.
He made himself right at home; opening closing drawers, squashing in his sweatshirts, placing frames around my room. I’d have to hide them once he left for my own sanity.
He left me instructions on how to switch everything over to his name, like I was some class A moron, and I did so the next day. He left some money so I could pay the first few months of rent in exchange for the favor. It felt kind of dirty in a way, is this some new age form of prostitution?
I began feeling happy and bright each morning, in a twisted way, almost in a fairy tale that I was in love and engaged. He bought me a ring (sent it UPS, romantic, eh?) and I wore it everyday gladly accepting compliments and cheers of congratulations. Ladies would ask who the lucky man is and I would gladly say he was a firefighter for the FDNY leaving them squealing and whispering how they fantasize about fireman. Me too! I would shout.
He settled in his job and I went along with him to his first work gathering. He was the perfect gentleman, guiding me along with his hand on the small of my back, opening doors, and pulling out chairs. The best part was hearing him say “This is my fiancé, Caitlin” and I would blush and gladly shake their hands. I gossiped with the other wives and told them how happy we were, they asked if we’d have kids right away and I told them we would wait until we were thirty. We were to have a June wedding! And everything was all arranged and I happily invited them to the wedding with an invitation to follow.
Ok, it got out of hand. Fantasyland is a nice place to visit but not to stay. He was still with his girlfriend and finally found a cheap place in Queens to live in so he thanked me for all my help and that was it. Sent me back to my lonely little life, leaving me with an unsentimental engagement ring and this story to tell my (“our”, ha-ha, ok bad joke) grandkids.