It wasn’t on purpose. It never was. He was sweet and made her feel like his world was better with her in it. He wanted her to meet him while he was working because he was always working and she was his happiness. Her new soundtrack was about the longing and love he made her feel as they sat and talked and kissed in her car while he was on a break.
She only saw him at work. He was on location and she was happy to follow him on sets all over Los Angeles. He would wrap warm arms around her and lend her his jacket. She wore Versace Red Jeans and he wore Versace Blue Jeans. It was unintentional but it must have meant something in the signs she was searching for. They would smoke cigarettes together, and he would light hers with the Zippo lighter she bought and had engraved with his name. He always lit her cigarettes in a show of old Hollywood chivalry. His house was in Rancho Cucamonga and too far for her to visit, but he told her she would be proud that he mowed his lawn every weekend. He only had his kids on weekends and he wanted her to meet him at his house one day – to meet his kids. His kids were his world and his ex girlfriend wasn’t in the picture anymore. His work schedule made it hard to see them anytime but the weekends.
Her friends didn’t believe he was real because they never saw him but made fun of his last name and called him Mango. He was sweet and they gave him a code name she loved. Her friends saw the shiftiness and wondered why they never saw him. If he loved her, why was it so easy to stay away from her?
His story began to shift in the days and weeks they dated. Working as a gaffer was hard work and long hours, but eventually he became the supervisor of the security company on most sets. She didn’t question his lies because it didn’t matter what he did as long as he kept making her smile. The ex was all the bad in the world. She was the source of his pain and she took all of his hard work and spent it and didn’t care about him. She went from ex girlfriend to ex-wife in a few dates, because his dishonesty was killing him and he needed her to know that she meant enough to be open and honest.
He met her at her favorite pool hall with his son Michael and brother Jason. They played 8-ball. Michael was sweet and shy and happy to be with his Daddy and Daddy’s friend. Daddy kissed his friend, but friends sometimes kiss and it was innocent to a five-year old.
She met him at work and his co-worker told her that he was still married, and she shouldn’t trust his lies because his lies were destroying worlds. She couldn’t believe that. His words brought hope and happiness. His words made her feel lovely in all of the low places because he wanted her but loved her enough to wait and fill their visits with words and kisses and the kisses were chaste because he respected her.
One day she ran into his brother on a location set. Jason felt bad that she was so misled and he gave her the honesty his brother was withholding. She was dating a married man who went home to his wife every night and beat her when he was angry. She was dating a married man and the proof was irrefutable. Jason took her to meet their mother and unwrapped her Christmas gift in memories through a scrapbook wedding with grand babies. Her boyfriend was the groom and the Daddy and she was a homewrecker. She was a trollop.
Jason wanted to touch the places she wanted to be touched. Jason knew how to pull her across a dance floor and wanted to show her what he thought the meaning of life was and it filled the spaces her boyfriend left.
She would never kiss her boyfriend again and dumped him because he had a wife. The longing and pain were real. He was pretending but it was real to her. She wouldn’t see him again, though he begged her and she missed him. She would want closure because it was a word that meant she might not have been wrong to give him her heart. She would spend weeks feeling like the lowest scum on earth for being with a married man, for feeling like her happiness could justify the destruction of a family.
She would never again date a married man because the point of marriage is that you aren’t open to dating. What this boyfriend taught her would settle into solid lines never to be crossed because he taught her what marriage isn’t in the weight of what she danced in. His allusions made her feel beautiful and the unfairness of his lies made her wonder how much was real.
She would settle for a man who wasn’t handsome but made her feel desire that consumed them both. He wasn’t successful but she found home was in his arms. She would learn to trust him through the times he betrayed that trust. She would wait in faithfulness through his solid and malicious rejection, until she would decide that she had enough of what he offered and she would want more joy than he could ever give again.
One day she would look up the old boyfriend because cyber stalking is her gift. She would see that he is divorced and looks nothing like he did in her memories. In 16 years, his children grew into beautiful expressions of their parents. She could see that the pain he caused them cut him out of their pictures and likely their lives. The shadows of released inhibitions weighed down the happiness in his smile and though he now tips the scale far less than he used to, he stands as though there is more weight on his shoulders.The fading tattoos that were one or two now mapped destruction all over his entire body. She would decide he wasn’t worth a hello.
She would continue looking up other ex boyfriends to hold them up and see if she would want them back. She would decide to keep the memories they gave her but that they weren’t worth the friend request. They weren’t worth a revisit. She would pour herself a fresh cup of coffee and daydream about the shape and form of her next lesson with a Cheshire cat smile and joyful anticipation.