Forgiving exes

When your ex writes a memoir

I long ago forgave my ex. And now it appears, he has also forgiven me.

I’m not referring to my current ex (who is not really an ex, but that is another story for another time). I’m talking about the first ex. Forgiving your ex is a good thing. It sets you free. It fills you up.

It’s pointless to regret relationships. It’s a ginormous waste of time to resent an ex or the days spent together. If not for those days with my first ex, I wouldn’t have had the days that followed. And even though the road was rocky in parts, I love where I’ve landed. Each day has led perfectly to the next.

Of course I’m human, so, you know, I only see that looking back. It wasn’t as clear to me while living those days. Big Daddy, My grandfather, once told me that life is like driving a car. You keep your eyes on where you are and where you’re going. Glance behind periodically, but don’t let your eyes linger there too long or you’ll crash. Want to reflect on where you’ve been and how you got there? Do that after you reach your destination. (What can I say? We are Southern. We teach in metaphor.)

Anyway — my first ex has written a book. A memoir, that was released the other day. Talk about mixed feelings in the weeks leading up to it being available for public consumption. Excited to read it was at the top of the list. So was dread. What if he mentioned me? Or worse, what if he didn’t. We were a couple for a decade. That’s more than just a blip in each other’s lives. And yet sometimes when I think back on our life together, it seems in part like a good book that I read, rather than reality.

I was in line at Ralph’s, thumbing through Los Angeles Magazine. A woman wearing a burka was ahead of me. When she pulled out ten bazillion coupons, I figured there was plenty of time to read. As I turned the pages, I thought to myself, “If I were a better person I would subscribe to this magazine. I would take note of museum shows, and theater or restaurant openings. Then I would make a point of attending every single event. If I subscribed to this magazine, I would be a more interesting gal.”

Musing this more fulfilled existence, I flipped a page and lo and behold, there he was. My original ex.

The article announced his memoir.

It would be difficult not to be aware of the goings on of the ex. We live in the small town of Hollywood. I follow his career, albeit way more loosely than when we were together. He and I aren’t Facebook friends or Twitter followers. But, like small towns, I do come across him from time to time. Usually it’s because he’s on Ellen or the Golden Globes or selling Sabra hummus.

Usually I smile. Sometimes I’m indifferent. But once in a while, I think about “us”.

Then, there are the days I pass his face on buses and billboards while driving my kid (child of the second ex, not this one) through the streets of Los Angeles. Those sightings can be startling. Especially since the first ex started playing a transgender woman. Seeing Jeffrey’s ‘Maura’ face always gives me pause. It’s like Maura reminds me of my ex, but she isn’t.

I snapped a picture of the page from Los Angeles magazine. Then went home and scoured it for the details. I pre-ordered his book. It arrived on my iPad the day it came out.

I read it in one sitting. I laughed out loud. I cried. And I definitely remembered events from some of his tales in completely different detail. But always, I could hear his voice telling each story in perfect pitch. He writes exactly as he speaks.

As it turns out, sometimes your ex writes a memoir and it’s beautiful. A few of the stories were familiar ones he’d told before. Some I had lived through with him. And so many were new. Delicious new ones. Especially about his love, his wife, and his family.

I long ago forgave my ex. And now, it seems, he may have also forgiven me.

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