We were sitting at a restaurant with a friend I haven’t seen in forever. I always liked the restaurants he chose, they were the best places. We had lunch outside, and despite the work day I was splitting into two with this lunch with him, we had wine.
I was very anxious, we hadn’t met for months. I missed him. I missed the conversations. The profound, insightful comments he gave after listening very carefully. We used to talk a lot. We spent endless hours figuring out relationships and life.
Until life happened — especially to me.
I knew we’d come to that: after the initial catch up, finally, he asked about my ex. I was forking my salad to my mouth, I drank some more wine. Deep down I hoped he’d take my silence for an answer. But he knew me better than that. I had been the one to suggest we meet after a long period of not finding time for him. He knew something was up and kept looking at my eyes, repeating the question without words.
“He left, I blurted out. On my birthday. He sent me an email that it was all a mistake while I was at work. And he was gone by the time I got home.”
“Thank God,” he said. “It was high time. And when will he come back?” he asked teasing.
I replied that he wouldn’t. Not this time. Not ever.
I casually started to outline the story, leaving out the gory details, just sticking to the point. That my ex was abusive, he hurt me in ways I couldn’t imagine, and then he left. I started to talk about how my therapy was going, how I am slowly letting it go that I was at fault…
“But it takes two to tango…” the words were coming from his mouth, casually, almost joking — him, of all people, saying this… it shocked me.
I stopped eating, I slowly got up, and without a single word, I fumbled to get my purse to hand him my part of the bill.
“Hey, what’s going on now? What did I say? It’s true. It’s not just on him. You stayed. You should have known better.”
I froze. I felt betrayed. He was saying that it was my fault. I pulled myself together and said in a very calm, cold voice, “If you…