how to be an ex

Let's make a deal. Let's figure it out together. Let's agree that it can and should take time. That there will necessarily be icebergs ahead. We'll probably hit some. We might even sink. But I won't burn your lifesaver if you won't burn mine.

You came into my life for one set of reasons. You stayed there for another. There's a reason that losing you felt like tearing my soul down the middle. That was my heart and mind and every nerve of my viscera saying, This. This was special.

And I know it's the same for you.

So let's make a deal, to navigate the icy water blindly, clumsily, for as long as it takes until we come clear into smoother sailing, and I can look at you, and you can look at me, and we can laugh knowing there's no more risk of crashing in the dark. Because you've raised your own flag again, and I've raised mine. And we can share the same ocean peacefully.

And when you're foundering, you can flash me a signal, and when I capsize, I can send one to you, and we'll take turns Saving Our Souls. I won't use your secrets against you if you won't use mine, and we'll find a wavelength to meet on that's uniquely ours, and that won't disturb those above and those below.

I see your worth even when you can't. I'll list everything lovable and valuable in you, for you, time and again, because the love and value you injected into my life is priceless and will stay with me forever. And you? You already know what to do. You already know how quickly and easily you can bump me back up. Meet me for coffee and play with Chaucer. Listen to the latest installments of my various dramas, real and virtual. Ask me to ride on your motorcycle when I'm having a low day. Pretend it's for your sake, not mine. A ride to the framer? That's all I ask. For you to be my first guest on the bike. When I'm late meeting you downstairs, text again. I am ready for my first passenger.

Smile big when you see me. Give me a quick hug, and then put a mockingly serious face on. Ok, now there's only one rule. You don't have to lean with me, but don't lean against me. Then pull your massive helmet over my head and buckle the strap under my chin. Grin at how ridiculous I look. Insist I wear your heavy, padded jacket, even though you'll freeze without it. Break the wind and cold for me.

You've always been good at that.

Zip me up yourself, stuffing my scarf and hair out of the way with suppressed laughter, while the guys unloading their car nearby glance over at the scene we make. Go fast, to make me laugh in spite of myself. You know I hate the bike. You know I worry about you on it. On the ride back home, turn your head casually and ask me what's up. So? What's going on? Why are you low? When I say I don't want to talk about it, nod. Because you know if I did, I would.

Thank me for being there for you, just a few days ago. Tell me you feel back on track because of our talk. I won't tell you for the hundredth time that you put yourself back on track. I won't tell you for the hundredth time that you're doing great, and that you don't need me or anyone else to love you, in order to be lovable, period, though I wish you knew that.

I know how to be your friend, even though it hasn't always been easy.

I know how to be your ex, and you know how to be mine.