Reverse Bob

bumping into you-know-ew

In ALL, BREAKUPS & BREAKTHROUGHS by Stephanie Klein3 Comments

A few close friends of mine ran into the Wasband. My friends weren’t together on these occasions, as they’ve happened sporadically over the years. A night club, a sporting event, the back waxer. Each time, the friend has texted me, sometimes along with a photo taken on the sly. “Has not aged well.” Then a bird’s eye photo of his thinning hair, the bald spot their target.

Once a friend sat beside the Wasband’s father on an airplane. That must’ve been fun. Next, I’m phoned with a play-by-play, followed thoughtfully with this question, “What would you ever do if you ran into any of them?”

Would you even acknowledge them? What if you meant to ignore them, but they come up to you and say something nasty?

This would be a lot more fun to answer if I were drunk. I’d be way more creative and biting.

They say that what creates the best characters is to put them in a situation and see how they’ll react. The most unexpected response is the richest. On film, the character would behave outrageously, only to cut to their real reaction, not the one they’ve just imagined.

I spend zero time imagining these scenarios, really not caring to plot a witty revenge fantasy.  Though, I’ll admit to wishing that someone else would make the outrageous scene on my behalf. Be that person to all slick-like call someone out, bad-ass style. But this never happens. Instead, I just receive the texts. “Just saw him walk into Marshall’s in Delray. Not going in now!”

I’ve received emails from their friends, people I have and haven’t met, who identify themselves as frenemies of the Wasband, or of his new wife, or of his family. “I read your book and can’t believe she’s married to him now, especially after having read it herself.” Why would anyone identify themselves as a frenemy? Are they hoping to gain a swift reply from me, as if we share some common spite which immediately links us?

Reverse Bob

Recently, Abigail wanted to chop off most of her hair. I took her to a salon, since it wasn’t just an easy trim, but an angled bob, stacked in the back, longer in the front. I locked eyes with another client a few chairs over. At first I couldn’t place her, but then I recognized her as a close friend of my ex-mother-in-law. I couldn’t think of her name until days later, not that I would’ve used it. We exchanged that polite smile, the one you make when you’re trying to place someone. I was thankful that I was with Abigail, an anchor to my current life. I lifted my feet and let the assistant sweep all the clippings away.

You know what all of this made me think? Man, was it nice living in Texas.

Comments

  1. I read your book in 2006. I’ve read a lot of books since- almost exclusively memoirs. Yours is still the most raw, the most…deeply personal. It also was subject matter most women of a similar age could relate to in a profound way.

    Most memoirs are about a broader spectrum of someone’s life. Yours was that theme of a broken heart and broken dreams, and how you triumphed over an awful time. And it gave everyone reading a common enemy.

    For you it was probably a catharsis, writing it. And then you were able to let go of a lot of the feeling associated with hating him, anyone associated with him, and thinking of any kind of revenge. Truth be told, the book and you being better than fine in the end is your revenge that is the gift that keeps on giving.

    But your readers/fans, frenemies of his, etc, can’t help but still feel that sting of what he did. Whether they were married before or just have a dick in their past, they felt it through you. That’s a testament to how good that book really was. So I’m sure by now, all these years later, it can be to the point of annoying when these emails/calls/texts of sightings and questions come up- but look at it as how amazing it is that you were able to touch people like that.

    I know that feeling of running into connections of that nature so I get the feeling of how great it would be to be a zillion miles away but it was a blip in time. That chance meeting. And now you can just cross off that person as uncomfortable because if you ran into her again, it wouldn’t be the same. You wouldn’t care.

  2. If I saw my wasband (or anyone I knew from that life) I think my first reaction would be to run and hide. But then again..I’d want them to see just how beautiful my life is now and all that I have created post wasband life. There would be some satisfaction in knowing they would run back to tell him. It would probably be awkward though..I’m glad we don’t live in the same city.

    Abigail’s haircut is super cute!

  3. Having children together makes ‘running into’ inevitable. When we divorced, we decided that since it wasn’t the kids’ fault, we would do everything within our power to be civilized, decent and even friend-like so as not to hurt them.

    It worked. Even when he brought wife #2 around. And girlfriend 3, 4, 5 and 6. I very purposefully stayed nice and supportive. I thanked them for loving my children. I secretly thanked them for keeping him away from me. We did school plays, birthday parties, graduations, concerts, etc. together. It’s funny – over time, most of the pain evaporated and each time I saw him I felt profound relief that I didn’t have to go home with him.

    We just dined together for our baby’s 21st birthday (!), and though we were married 13 years and we’ve been divorced 16 years, I now look upon him as a pleasant stranger. There are no more hurt feelings or painful issues to hash through. All of the baggage of the past is gone, and we can be friendly acquaintances with three beautiful, well-adjusted, strong, independent children in common.

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