After The Ex Fiancé told me he didn’t want to get back together with me, I was depressed.
I went forward with my days as melancholy as possible. Walking slowly to the subway. Barely talking at work. I didn’t even get pleasure from window shopping at Saks—that’s how in the dumps I was.
Pride rolled around: a day of rainbows and parades and underwear-clad boys drunk before 10 a.m. But I didn’t feel the rainbows. I didn’t want to watch the parade. I didn’t even want to flirt with the boys.
A friend of mine in Astoria told me to come to his Pride party Saturday. “You’ll have fun,” he assured me.
I showed up early, umbrella in hand, feeling out of place. Beside my friend who was hosting, I didn’t know anyone. I made myself a strong drink and stood in the corner, wearing my favorite new chiffon floor-length vest from H&M.
One hour and four or five (or six) drinks later, someone I knew appeared: a mutual friend of The Ex Fiancé. And, walking in behind him: The Ex Fiancé.
I panicked. Did I look good? How was my hair? Was my chiffon floor-length vest utterly ridiculous? Why am I still holding my umbrella? I thought so fast my head spun, which is when I realized that I was utterly wasted. But I locked eyes with The Ex Fiancé, and I had to go say hello.
“Oh heeeeeeey,” I greeted in a strange, high-pitched voice. “What’s, uh, hey, what’s new?”
“Uhm,” he said awkwardly, “not much. I got a tattoo?” He showed me: On his left shoulder was an origami elephant, the same design as a necklace I’d gotten him for his last birthday. I lost my breath. “Are you OK? Your eyes are bloodshot.”
“Oh yeah, well, you know, I don’t know, just like, you know…” My drunken mind grasped for something to say. “Drugs.” …Why did I
“Yeah, you know. Molly or whatever.” I’d never done Molly. I still haven’t done Molly. I don’t really even know what Molly is.
“Oh. Uh, OK.”
“So,” I said, but The Ex Fiancé started walking away, said hi to some friends, and left as quickly as he could. I tried going after him, but ran into our mutual friend instead.
“Everything OK?” he asked me. I must have looked absolutely crazed.
“That fucking tattoo,” I spat. “He’s still in love with me. I know it.”
I ran down the stairs into the street, but he was already gone. It was pouring. I walked to the subway, umbrella at my side, letting myself get soaked.
Google says that “Elephant in the Room” is “a major problem or controversial issue that is obviously present but avoided as a subject for discussion because it is more comfortable to do so.” Now, looking back, I can see that the elephant in the room wasn’t his tattoo; it was me.