In love, flames simmer, but sparks don't always die

Candles lit

In the time I've been immersed in the single scene during my adult life, I've learned a few random lessons, like: how a hot outfit does wonders for your confidence on a Friday night; or how it's still possible to have a high school type crush as an adult; or, how the ever dreaded beer goggles can be the basis of an ugly romantic mistake or two; how the power of a beautiful accent (or eyes, hair, smile, whatever) can carry you away for one fun night...

And another lesson I'm always reminded of: how small a major city like Chicago can be when you have the tendency to run into old friends, people you've dated or even exes. Which is exactly what happened last night, when I spotted the old boyfriend, Charles, on my way to lunch yesterday...

Now, it's helpful to admit here that Charles and I have, at many times, bumped into each other (especially easy when we don't work too far from each other  either). But it's always been awkward. Definitely for me as looking at him reminds me of everything we once were...

In any case, later that evening, as I was winding down at work, I'd received an e-mail from him, which he'd sent to share a quick hello -- an effort to say in words what we couldn't quite say to each other in person. And I'd replied, thrilled and nervous all at the same time AND still feeling the butterflies he'd made me feel for so long.

Soon, our exchanges turned to a phone call, and I quickly remembered all the reasons why I fell for him the first time. There was always some type of casual confidence his voice that always managed to relax me and make me feel amazing at the same time. And, while we'd had many intense or icy exchanges (admittedly, largely driven by my hurt), I was suddenly relieved to be speaking with him just as we were... Not about the details of the now, but like someone catching up with a special friend, having a conversation long overdue.

True, some of what I felt bubbled to the surface and I totally had to catch myself. And, I'm sure, given the impact he had on me, a little part of that feeling will remain for a while. But, for the first time, in a long time, I loved the way it felt talking to him and embracing what we once were, while respecting what has since happened in both of our lives. Also amazing is that I didn't find myself in pain, realizing that I was able to leave that part of my life where it was for what it was.

Strangely theraputic! But, the lesson I got from all of that was pretty simple: Someday, when you aren't looking, you do move on and can look forward to what comes next. And you know what? It feels pretty freakin' awesome.

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