Friday I couldn't practice avoidance as I had the night before. he was standing right next to the place I had to check in. I gave him a little nod and a hi. he said hi back. I walked up and talked with him.
it was strange, just knowing J was 40 feet away, checking in, made me feel much less worried about how the exchange might go. my "courage" had returned.
the first round of our conversation was all about him. about how many terrible things had happened to him since shortly before he faded away. I listened and expressed my sympathy. I do feel sorry for him that he's had to go through that all. but really had nothing to say. (what do you say to someone whose world was crumbling, and despite your continuously trying to help them pick up the pieces, they just pushed you further and further away?)
the second round occurred minutes later after I had checked in, as I was still waiting for J. he briefly asked how things were with me. I said good. busy. people walked up to check-in. I started to walk off, he asked where I was working and said he'd stop by.
when I walked over to J she had a somewhat incredulous look on her face. I don't really know was the answer to why I stayed and chatted with him. was I couragous or crazy? I really don't know.
why would anyone want to talk to a person who didn't feel they deserved a simple goodbye? I thought about this a little amidst the beer pouring and drinking.
round three began when he walked up as I was talking with one of the reps. we engaged in a little inconsequential chit-chat. then he asked why I'd been so busy. I told him lots of trips. he asked where. I told him most recently Austin, next Phoenix, then Hawaii.
he asked if they were for work. (obviously doesn't know me at all. or doesn't remember. or care to. he knew my company has overwhelmingly local clients.) I said no, mostly for fun. he asked when I leave for Hawaii. there was a mob in front of us, demanding more India Pale Ale. he said goodbye and moved on.
after he walked away. another friend asked who I was going to Hawaii with. I said no one, just going for a friend's wedding. she said oh, I thought you told him "we leave Wednesday." interesting. wonder if I did?
he only briefly said hi to J, then didn't really look at her. perhaps he didn't have enough courage. I wonder if he might have been afraid she'd say something he deserved to hear. she probably would have. he knows my friends are loyal. he knows they will always be there to stand up for me. J didn't bother, she knew I could handle him for myself.
on our way out, I saw him. chatting on his phone and smoking. I couldn't resist. I tapped him on the shoulder, and mouthed the words, "thought you were going to quit." inexplicably I felt a need to harrass him for that. another one of his li(n)es.
J asked if I wanted to try and be friends with him. no, I just don't like the ackwardness I felt avoiding him the night before. I'd much rather be civil to him, then avoid him and let him believe that he hurt me to the point that I felt I needed to do that. he didn't and I don't. he's not worth that. he never was.
driving home, I thought about how I felt last year at this time. hanging out with him after we worked the festival. how even then, before much of his world fell apart, he treated me poorly. and although I know I loved him, I realized he never felt the same, and he never truly made me happy.
I grinned. whether I'm couragous or just a lunatic, I was happy that I no longer felt the need to avoid him. I'm happy with where I am. and life is good. very good.