The One That Got Away
You bump into an ex-lover on Valentine’s Day—the one whom you often call “The One That Got Away.” What happens?
Today is by far my least favorite day of the year. Stores filled with hearts, candy, flowers and unnecessarily giant teddy bears. The site of anything love related makes me feel ill. Especially the site of couples kissing and holding hands is enough to make me walk the other way. As I walk past a tiny store decorated in red and pinks, my heart sinks at the man I catch walking towards me. My entire body forgets what normal functions are and my hands shake like butterflies. I feel my face matching the red of the artificially colored teddy bears in the window, when he glimpses my way. He smiles. I nervously laugh like a bumbling idiot. Every step that touches the pavement, is so smooth and sexy. I don’t remember him looking this good. My heart pounds harder the closer he gets to me. His gentle but rough, hand waves at me. I remember those hands. Not only did they know me better than myself, but I watched them as they explored soil in his garden, skillfully pluck the strings of a guitar and play hide and go seek with his son. I rub my fingers together as I think of something witty to say. ‘Funny running in to you here’ with a wink? No, that’s stupid. Maybe ‘Hey bud, how it’s hangin’?’ Oh my god, no. I’ve never called him ‘bud’ before. Okay. Just act cool, like you barely even notice him. Like, ‘Oh my. It’s been so long since I’ve seen you! I think you grew, didn’t you?’ Ugg, stop it. Just be yourself.
Here he comes. As I open my timid lips to speak, he looks right past me and embraces a woman standing behind me. I look behind me to see if I recognize her. A sister or mother. But I don’t know her at all. My heart pounds for other reasons now and my eyes fill with tears uncontrollably. He’s moved on. And that’s fine. I guess I’ve moved on too. I storm into the Valentines decor store, rip off the bears head and walk out. I fucking hate this holiday.
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