I don’t have many ex-boyfriends. There’s no long list, there’s just four of them. But after last Friday night I’ve now had encounters with three of them after having no contact for more than 20 years and all of these encounters have been in the last 15 months.
Just over a year ago my sister and her partner returned from New York for their Sydney wedding. It was a held a few days after Christmas and I had been asked to make the cake and be the emcee. No pressure! On Christmas Day I was in the kitchen with the bride-to-be and I asked her who had been invited to the wedding but all I was told was that there were over two hundred people attending. I then asked, ‘Well what are the seating arrangements?’ Because I didn’t want to be in a back corner of the room if I had to keep popping up and down to be the emcee. And she said the seating arrangements had all been finalised and she didn’t want to let anyone know what those arrangements were because that would just lead to an enormous discussion and she didn’t want anyone requesting changes. Fair enough.
So the wedding day arrived and we had the ceremony and then the photographs and then the pre-dinner drinks that were in an outdoor area of the function centre and then it was time to head inside for the reception. I found the table where I was to be seated and that was front and centre so that was a relief and then I found my seat and I was expecting Carl to be beside me but he found his seat on the other side of the round table. I was curious to know who was next to me and I looked down at the vacant chair and saw the place card and read the name. I was completely shocked but then more startled when I felt a tap on my shoulder and looked up to see Paul standing right beside me.
Well that was awkward. I hadn’t seen him for such a long time. He wasn’t as shocked as I was because of course he was expecting me to be at my sister’s wedding but I had no idea he’d been invited.
I met Paul when I was 18. I’d been invited to a high school formal and Paul was hosting the pre-formal drinks so I met him that night. A few months later I was starting a degree at Sydney Uni and I was sitting outside in the sun and he walked past, recognised me, sat down and said he had two tickets to The Blues Brothers that night and would I like to go with him. Well I had nothing on so I met Paul in the city and we went to the movies. And it seemed every day after that that Paul had tickets to something. Tickets to the Royal Easter Show, the ballet, the theatre and musicals. And if he didn’t have tickets, he had something planned like dinner at restaurants in the Eastern Suburbs where he’d grown up and entry into nightclubs in the city. I no longer sat at home and watched TV.
One weekend he invited me to a B&S Ball. I’d heard about these bachelor and spinsters balls that were held in country towns but had never been to one. He picked me up in his father’s vintage car and off we went to Bathurst where out in a paddock an enormous marquee had been set up. We changed into formal wear with me in a skimpy green dress on a freezing cold night and Paul in a tuxedo. Once inside the over-crowded marquee Paul kept buying me gin and tonics that I had no trouble drinking it’s just that I wasn’t used to alcohol at all and a few hours later I passed out in his car, missed the Ball and didn’t wake up until the following morning.
And now, here he was twenty-five years later looking the same and again, dressed in a tuxedo. It was a bit surreal and I started to panic when he realised he was sitting next to me because I’m sure he would have thought I’d engineered the whole thing. His wife was banished to the other side of the table just like Carl so Carl and Paul’s wife got to know each other while Paul and I chatted about old times and the gap between then and now. After he finished law school he worked for a while in Sydney then moved to LA and that’s where he discovered my sister was living nearby and they became good friends.
Between being the emcee and having a very close encounter with an ex I’m not sure how I made it through the night but somehow we both had a great time and it was actually very lovely to see him again and have that time together. I told him I can’t have a gin and tonic without thinking of him!
And so over the last year I have had encounters with three of my four ex-boyfriends. I keep looking over my shoulder for the fourth to appear because clearly, it’s only a matter of time.
Internet update: Still no connection. Both the phone company and the internet company have offered me one month’s free line rental as compensation for their incompetence! Now there’s something to celebrate.
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