After The Pedant and I parted ways yesterday evening, I went shopping: there’s a department store down the street from me that’s closing soon and everything’s on sale.  Everything’s been pretty picked-over by now but I still managed to get some much-needed bras, a tupperware container, a trashy pair of hot-pink panties, and an eye shadow compact.

As I made my way home with my bounty, I ran into Minx coming the other way!  I recognized him immediately, even in the dark and thirty paces away; he has a distinctive walk and always wears his black-and-white striped hoodie under his coat in cold weather.  But he doesn’t live anywhere near my neighbourhood so I decided I must be hallucinating.  I kept walking as normal, until he got closer and it became obvious that it really was him.

Minx grinned at me, and despite all the angry, bitter feelings I’ve been having toward him over the past few months, I found myself grinning back.  “Dude!” I said.  “What the hell are you doing here?”  

We hugged and he explained that the grocery store in my neighbourhood – the one we used to go to together – was actually more convenient to him from a public transit standpoint than the one near his new place, so he still shops there.  He was just heading over to pick up some food on his way home from work.

He and I chatted a little bit about how our lives were going, and he said we should go to dinner sometime or something.  Then he was like “actually…d’you wanna go to [our favourite sushi place] right now?  I mean after I pick up some groceries?”  I said yes, so off we went to the grocery store.

The attraction between us was palpable, by the way.  It wasn’t sexual, exactly (not on my end, anyway; I can’t speak for Minx).  It’s more like my body had spent three years being conditioned to think of Minx as its main source of physical affection, so his presence made every cell scream “IT’S TIME FOR SNUGGLES NOW.”  Minx was feeling something too.  His come-hither eyes were turned on full blast and the air between us seemed to vibrate.

Minx quickly collected his groceries (and asked me if he could buy a can of wet food as a treat for Bastardcat, which I was fine with) and we went to the sushi place.  While we waited to be seated Minx squinted at the part of my hair visible under my hoodie, trying to figure out what I was doing with my hair these days.  I obligingly took my hood down so he could see my whole head – realizing as I did so that my current hairdo is almost exactly what I was sporting when Minx and I first met and fell in love.  “That was always my favourite hairstyle on you,” Minx said softly.  I said it was one of my favourites, too.  Then he reached out and ran his hands over the shaved back of my head under the pretense of warming them up.  I began to swoon a little bit; normally if someone puts their freezing cold hands on me I’ll try to stab them, but cold hands on my head feel amazing.

It was weird, being at “our” sushi place again.  The waitstaff (who all recognize us; for a while we were going there once a week) probably assumed we were still dating.  There was no talk of ordering three or four different kinds of maki and sharing, like we always used to do.  I had just one order of maki (I’ve realized that maki kinda messes me up – too many carbs in the rice, I think – so I didn’t want to overdo it) and Minx had a bigger, more substantial roll.  We did swap a couple of pieces, though.

As we ate, we chatted about our jobs and stuff.  At one point Minx mentioned that he’s been hauling around so many tvs at work that he’s been putting on muscle – but, because of the specific way he lifts them, it’s mostly on his right side.  I said I’d be curious to see these new biceps muscles and he started to unbutton his shirt, as though preparing to strip down right at the table – and I sat back and watched him with a challenging smirk.  Bluff = called.  He stopped after two buttons.

As we concluded our meal, I asked Minx if he wanted to come by and visit Bastardcat for a bit.  I worry sometimes that Bastardcat feels abandoned…although to be honest he’s super friendly and affectionate with both The Doll and The Pedant – as much so as he ever was with Minx, really – so it’s probably not an issue.  Still, I was curious to see if Bastardcat recognized Minx, and I knew Minx probably missed Bastardcat.  Minx jumped at the chance to come over.

I hate to say it, but when we got in the door, Bastardcat was no more friendly with Minx than he ever is with anyone else.  Actually, I don’t hate to say it; I’m glad Bastardcat didn’t hear Minx’s voice and immediately run over to him crying, or anything like that.  It means he doesn’t miss Minx and doesn’t feel abandoned by him.  I feel bad for Minx that apparently he’s so replaceable, but it’s not like I told him “Wow, look at that, Bastardcat is purring and headbutting you exactly the way he does with the two guys I’m seeing.”  So it’s fine.

I invited Minx to give Bastardcat the can of wet food (credit where credit is due).  For some reason instead of dumping it out in Bastardcat’s dish on top of the old kibble, Minx washed a plate and used a spoon to dish the food out onto that.  It seemed a little overly familiar of him and I’m not sure whether Minx was deliberately asserting himself or just fell into old habits because he used to live here.

More small talk.  I mentioned in passing that I still hang out with The Pedant, but avoided mentioning The Doll or anyone else I’m seeing or thinking of seeing.  My mention of The Pedant didn’t seem to faze Minx at all; perhaps he assumes we’re still just meeting in public places and making out.  I have to think he’d feel a little crushed if he realized The Pedant has slept in my (formerly our) bed, watched DVDs while petting me, been slept on by Bastardcat, etc.  I felt a little guilty thinking about it, actually, and had to sternly remind myself that Minx and I are broken up and I’m free to do whatever I want.

I did not ask Minx whether he’s seeing anyone, and he didn’t volunteer anything.  Actually, it did come up at one point that he’s become kind of attracted to his roommate.  She’s a lesbian, though, and also Minx wouldn’t want to make his living situation weird by making a move, so nothing’s going to happen there.  He said that apparently he and his roommate do give off a “dating” vibe when they go places together – people have actually told them this.  For some reason the idea of them looking like a couple gave me a stab of jealousy while hearing that Minx kind of wants them to be a couple did not.  Brains are weird.

The whole time we were talking, the air was still vibrating with (sexual?) tension.  I thought about kissing Minx – actually started rehearsing in my mind, figuring out how I would ask permission – but quickly realized there would be no point in initiating a kiss; it couldn’t go anywhere.  I don’t want to date Minx or have sex with him.  And really, the attraction I was feeling was just Pavlovian leftovers from our relationship (plus I was pent up from not being able to kiss The Pedant when he was over!).  I knew that if I could tough it out, the attraction would fade and then life would be a whole lot simpler.

But then Minx reached out and began massaging my shoulder, and his touch just…felt like home.  Plus, hey, what the hell, free massage.  So I said “yes please” and turned away from him so he could properly reach the other shoulder, too, and he gave me a fairly long and thorough shoulder-and-neck rub.  I love the way Minx massages me (when he listens to my directions); he has very strong hands and isn’t afraid to really dig in.  Nobody else wrings the tension out of my muscles as well as he does.

Then I think we talked some more – Minx giving off huge vibes of wanting to kiss me, and me experimenting with stoicism, and knowing that Minx would be too shy to initiate anything distinctly non-platonic, and kind of relishing the fact that he was suffering – and Minx mentioned something about screwing up his neck a bit at work so I massaged him in return.  At first I rubbed his neck through his shirt and then he was like “Aw, screw it, you’ve probably seen me naked more than you’ve seen me clothed” and he unbuttoned his shirt enough to slide it off his shoulders.

My epiphany that it would be pointless to kiss Minx had effectively cooled my ardor – it was nice touching him and being close to him for old times’ sake but I wasn’t feeling any particular temptation to do more than massage him.  When I was done, Minx slid his shirt off even more and showed me his newly built right biceps muscle – it really is noticeably bigger!  And Minx still has pretty much no body fat at all, so when he flexes, the muscle looks and feels like it’s carved out of marble.  I’ve always wondered what Minx would look like if he weight trained, and now I got to have a taste.

Shirt back on; more talking.  Minx told me (with more than a little wistfulness and gravitas) that he was glad I was doing well; I said I was glad he was doing well, too.  Conversation began to get thin but I didn’t quite want Minx to go yet (and it really didn’t seem like he was thinking of leaving, either) so when the subject of Minx’s roommate’s ass came up (she’s trans and on hormones and her hip fat just started coming in, much to Minx’s envy) I was like “Yeah, it’s funny how even a really skinny woman tends to have more fat at the bottom of her ass and a guy will have more in the top” and I showed him this commercial on YouTube to illustrate my point.

From there we got on the topic of androgyny, and I showed him videos of Chris Colfer from Glee (a boy with an amazingly girly voice, and holy shit can he sing) and this hot dude doing the dance from Beyonce’s “single ladies” video, and a bunch of other stuff.  All of which we watched with him leaning all up in my personal space.  Incidentally, although Minx has told me he’s bi-curious and – if I asked him – would sometimes tell me he thought some boy or other was kind of pretty, I don’t remember him being too emphatic about it or ever initiating a conversation like that himself.  That day, however, Chris Colfer and the “Single Ladies” dancer guy elicited a lot of “Oh my“s and theatrical little gasps from him.  Hard to say whether he’s become more bi-curious lately or he’s just trying to push my turn-on buttons.  Maybe it’s both.

And then, during a lull in the conversation, Minx announced that he was going to pay attention to my feet – and took my socks off and started caressing me, just like he did when we were together.  And also very much like The Pedant had done the night before, and The Doll the night before that.  On the very same couch.  Echoes and deja vu………I started feeling guilty again, not because I’ve gotten similar attentions so recently from other guys but because Minx doesn’t know this.  The spirit of polyamory is to be transparent and make sure all partners know what’s up – but then again, does Minx count as a partner?  I don’t want to date him again.  As far as I’m concerned, the physical stuff we did that night was just a little hiccup in the process of us getting over each other.  

Minx progressed from petting my feet to massaging them – which nobody does as well as he does.  I get knots of tension in my arches and I like them to be mashed hard until I’m practically screaming.  The Doll completely lacks the hand strength to do this.  I’m not sure The Pedant has actually massaged my feet yet, but his shoulder massages tend to be kind of wussy and tentative so at the very least he’d need extensive training.  But Minx had me howling and grabbing fistfuls of couch.

After the foot massage, probably around the point when he was telling me for the tenth time how good it was to see me again, I noticed him glance at his phone and said “Well, I guess it’s about that time, huh?”  Turns out he’d looked at his phone because he’d gotten a text, not because he was checking the time, but he took my hint and began gathering up his stuff and whatnot.  

When we said goodbye (with Minx gushing some more about how glad he was to have bumped into me, and telling me he’d like it if the lines of communication were open and we could text each other again and stuff) he darted in and gave me a peck on the lips.  He must have been really desperate to kiss me; he’s usually way too shy and cautious to initiate kissing (with someone he’s not actively in a relationship with).  So, that was a nice ego boost.

After he was gone, I had a quasi-cry (my face involuntarily scrunched up for a minute, but…that’s about it) but mostly I was surprisingly okay.

Mostly, I’m just confused.  During Minx’s and my hiatus from talking, I’d begun to demonize him almost to the point of being afraid of him; but in person he’s just so little and unassuming and normal that now I feel silly.  

And he clearly still likes me, and gives great massages, and it was fun hanging out with him, so maybe there’s potential for us to become friends-who-platonically-snuggle – I’ve found that exes can make awesome friends, once the breakup trauma mellows.  Except that when Minx and I were together (well, toward the end of the relationship, anyway) he often acted like my very existence was a huge pain in his ass.  And did things like accusing me of being potentially abusive – which he never really apologized for, by the way.  So it feels as though being friends with him would almost be “rewarding him” for being a dick, and anyway he damn sure didn’t seem to like me much three months ago so why the turnaround now?

Butbutbut…often a relationship puts strain on people, and if they break up that strain is gone and suddenly friendship actually does work.  On the other hand, Minx’s brain works optimally when he’s upset (plus he seems to miss me so he’s probably on his best behaviour) so the fun, attentive, actually-listens-to-me-when-I-talk version of Minx that I hung out and had sushi with probably won’t last.

For now I’m gonna keep my distance.  I’ll text Minx if I have some burning reason to tell him something, but otherwise…meh.  Things are too complicated right now.  I need to let the dust settle a bit more before I can decide what – if anything – I want from him.


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3 responses to “Echoes

  1. Fnord

    It sounds like you’re making the right decision to at least take some more time. And not just for you: whatever stuff you’ve got going on about your feelings about him, based on his actions it looks like he’s got stuff going on, too. Best to let some more of those feelings settle out.

    • whatever stuff you’ve got going on about your feelings about him, based on his actions it looks like he’s got stuff going on, too.

      Very much so, I’m guessing.

      I, at least, have the dubious benefit of a lot of breakup experience. I knew that the next time I saw Minx I probably wouldn’t be able to maintain the righteous anger I’ve been feeling in his absence, and I definitely knew that I’d be crazy attracted to him, anger or not. That’s how it always goes, for me.

      Minx has had only three breakups before me. All three relationships were long-distance (to the best of my knowledge, after breaking up with his exes, he never saw any of them again), and two of them were kind of a mistake in the first place and Minx was thrilled and relieved to dump them.

      So he probably doesn’t know what to do with the residual feelings he’s having right now. He doesn’t know that residual feelings are just that – residue – not an indication that two people should get back together.

      Or maybe he genuinely misses me and/or wants me back? But I’m not counting on it.

      Either way, best to keep our distance.

  2. Friendships with exes are always very complicated. But if one can make it work then I think it could be really great.

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