I am three glasses of wine in at the Autumn Reggae Wine Festival and I feel good. Not good. Great. I take in the music and the people. I lap up the last sunny bits of autumn; these final few weekends are seasonal gems and must be enjoyed before the weather turns into a blistering winter cold. I look around at everything and nothing and then my eye catches a familiar silhouette.
You are walking quickly down one of the narrow paths available to festival-goers. You are on a date, made apparent by the woman walking closely behind you. My mind does what most minds do in this situation: do I say something? You’re only a few feet away, but can and will be out of my sight in only a few seconds given how rapidly your feet are moving. And, because I am drinking and not really thinking, I shout out your name before my ego summons the audacity to convince me otherwise.
And, then, we are face to face, stumbling through that awkward song and dance of a conversation. We are doing that thing people do when they were once close and then weren’t so close yet they are trying to be decent and cordial human beings. We are doing that thing where we pretend we’ve never told each other secrets and we’ve never spent the 4am hour together. You are asking me what kind of wine I’m drinking and requesting recommendations. And, then you are introducing me to your date and I think that this is the kind of shit that only happens in movies. And, then, you are gone, headed to buy wine while I return to my friends.
A woman grabs me because this is a wine festival and thus people are intoxicated and overly touchy. She says, “Oh, girl, I saw that!” It’s both comical and uncomfortable that there was an eyewitness to our split-second reunion. I laugh off her comment and find myself trying to feign my nonchalance, telling her that it’s all good because I initiated things between us ending. But, in that moment, you are there with another woman and I am there with my friends, so in the world of romantic mathematics, you win.
Nine hours later I am back home and super sober when I retrieve your number from an email and text you. “Hey, it was good running into you today.” When I wake up the following morning to an empty text inbox, I realize you are not going to respond. And, it strikes me as odd because we’ve been emailing as of late so I mistakenly assumed we were cool. But, this is the first time the ball is in your court. This is the first time I am the one reaching out and making myself vulnerable. This is the first time you have the option to respond or not respond. On some sick and sinister level, this is the first time you have the power to bruise my ego. And, that is exactly what you elected to do.
It is important to know the difference between your feelings being hurt and your ego being injured. Our feelings are tethered to our hearts but our egos are tethered to our pride. There was never a doubt in my mind that when you didn’t respond, for whatever reason you didn’t respond, it was my ego taking the beating.
So, we saw each other. And, then I took it one step further and reached out after. And, now we are no better or worse off than we were before the 3pm hour of the wine festival. Because, a dose of nostalgia creeping into my little body and prompting me to speak to you does not change what we were and what we were never meant to be. A bit of longing and a bolt of memories do not reconfigure the future. A chance reunion does not change the characters who were involved. Nostalgia does not change the outcome. And, it is that awareness and understanding that will place my ego back in tact.