I suspected he’d be at this gig, this man who one time broke my heart, because he introduced me to the band that was playing; because it was in the neighbourhood where he lived.
It wasn’t a significant relationship - a mere two months, slightly less even - but it was a significant breakup: I was besotted with him; he apparently changed his mind in the course of a day, so I didn’t see it coming; by unfortunate coincidence, he dumped me about six hours after I had gotten sacked from my first proper job. It’s hard to describe how low I felt.
Over time, it has become an important part of my personal narrative, this coincidence of unfortunate events, if only because it’s so versatile, relevant in situations including:
1. Comforting Someone Who Has Lost Their Job (‘At least you still have a relationship!’)
2. Comforting Someone Who Has Lost Their Relationship (‘At least you still have a job!’)
3. Providing Self-Deprecating Stories To Illustrate My Fallibility.
It was a lifetime ago, or at least an undergradate degree ago, and I hadn’t seen him since that evening that he walked out of my flat, mumbling ‘sorry’ over his shoulder.
But there he was, sitting in the sunshine reading a newspaper with a woman who looked nice and who was wearing, like him, a thick wedding band. And even though there have been some rather more important romantic disappointments in the intervening years, my eyes welled with tears, as if they had a direct hotline to my bereft and humiliated 25-year-old heart.
Jude, I said, turning my back on them. Over there. It’s the guy who dumped me on the day I got fired.
That guy? he said. He has heard the story. Where? I’m going to go look at him.
Go on, I said, shrugging.
He strode over, pretended to be reading a sign, had a good gander. I walked around the corner, swiped the back of my hand across my face.
Jeano, Jude said, catching up to me. Jeano. All I can say is this: you have terrible taste in men.