Visit from an Ex and Prozac Nation
My ex, Amanda, came over today. She never liked Uptown. The lack of available street parking often caused her to enter my place in a bad mood. She would circle from Dupont to Fremont attempting to find a spot for the night. I always felt like I had to apologize to her for the poor city planning.
I open the door and our hug is slightly forced and stiff, like we’re reluctant to touch each other. It seems odd considering that I always had my hand up her shirt while we lied on the couch watching TV, and she liked to sleep next to me with her hand on my crotch. She looks exactly the same but I know she’s had experiences in the past year that I know nothing about. I don’t even know if she’s seeing anyone, and I don’t think I want to know. But her hair is kind of curly, and I know she only takes the time to do that for special occasions. I don’t know if this visit is that occasion, or if this visit is a stop on the way to that occasion.
I notice her eyes scanning the room. I can’t tell if she’s having flashes of good or bad memories at the moment.
Some things are still the same around my place…like the copy of Prozac Nation that rests on my toilet tank. It’s creased and its pages are warped from shower moisture, but it’s the only book that I can open to at any page and begin reading. I’ve never been Prozac depressed, but I know what it’s like fearing that your present life is the best it will ever get. And the can of Raid atop the fridge, Morrissey CD serving as a paperweight on my desk, scattered post-it notes with scribbled items to be purchased at Target, canvas tote bag hanging on the kitchen doorknob, dusty TV remotes on the coffee table…all still there where she last saw them.
The only noticeable change is the three month old couch that replaced the seven year old futon in the living room. I sold that to a young college girl moving into her first apartment. My Craigslist ad described it as only two years old, which I thought was believable. When I helped her haul it to her truck the stains became highly visible in the bright sun, and I could tell she was questioning my honesty. But I already had cash in hand and I was ecstatic to be rid of that thing and the years of procrastination it brought me.
Amanda compliments the new furniture as we sit. She doesn’t lean back on the couch. Instead opting to sit up straight with both feet flat on the floor, which denotes that she won’t be staying long.
Few things equal the awkwardness of making mindless small talk with someone you used to share your entire life with. She tells me about her new apartment and all I can think of is whether a boyfriend helped her move into it. Her birthday is in less than two weeks – I think about asking what she has planned for it. I don’t ask because I know those plans don’t include me and she’ll have long forgotten about this visit two weeks from now.