Standing at the Neighborhood Wine & Dine party - an annual event that usually draws nearly 100 people - talking to some neighbors and new friends, enjoying some wine, stuffing our faces with good food, when along comes the Hostess. She leans over and discreetly whispers in my ear, "Just so you know, [Ex] is here." One second of shock, then a smile and a "Great! I'm glad he came." The Hostess seemed relieved with my response. And I pondered what this all meant.
We have a few "annual" parties in the neighborhood. This one is particularly awesome, but others are also lots of fun. For the past year, the neighbors have invited us both and let us figure out what to do. I think some of them thought that we were civil to each other. I generally RSVP'd YES but he never RSVP'd and he would not go to the party. His loss. I told the neighbors there was no reason on my side of things that we couldn't both be there.
I wasn't expecting him at this one - he didn't RSVP as of the other day (they used Evite, so you can see who is invited, who said yes, no, maybe. Per usual he hadn't responded). I thought he should go - they are very much his friends, but hey, his issues not mine.
The layout of the house and the size of the party was such that he could stay "downstairs" and I could be upstairs and he could successfully avoid me. But maybe he didn't know my sister, Middle Child, was in town....
Standing in the kitchen an hour or so later, I looked down toward the "downstairs" (only 5 stairs so you can easily see) and there she is. Middle Child is talking to Ex. The man who wrote a short, curt "you are out of my life" note to my parents last Christmas and returned their Christmas gift is talking to my sister. I have no doubt who initiated that conversation.
I am no wall flower. I think that has been pretty well established on these pages. But Middle Child? Next to her I am not just a wall flower, I am a wilted wall flower. I was hopelessly curious about their conversation but pretended not to notice. Eventually I did make my way downstairs (hell, if he wanted to segregate himself, he could. But there were folks down there I wanted to visit and I wasn't going to let him cage me in!). He retreated and eventually left. And Middle Child casually said, "Oh I had a nice conversation with Ex. Have you seen his hands from the fire?** I told him he was an idiot for not getting medical attention." Yep, that's my sister all right.
Much later in the evening, as sister and I weaved our way up the street (I'm pretty sure we walked twice as far as we needed to if we had only walked a straight line), she poured it all out. How she told him she loved him and gave him a hug. And he hugged her back and said the same. She was sober or at least near-so when she talked to him. As was he. And today as I drove her to the train station she said she was shocked at the civil conversation and warm feelings, particularly after last year's note to the parents and his clear message that he did not want to speak to anyone in my family ever again.
I can't explain any of it. Perhaps the finality of Friday will allow him to begin to move on. Perhaps he just didn't want to miss the best party of the year and figured there would be enough people there that he could pretty much avoid me. [me yes, my sister, no] Perhaps he just wanted to get out of his house for a few hours.
Whatever the reason, it is yet another step in a new direction. Hopefully in a more positive direction. I still have my doubts that we could ever be friends, at least any time soon. He made that clear recently in a long note he sent. But maybe some day, when we're at one of our kid's weddings, we will smile and talk and tell stories of how this grown up child now getting married used to do the darndest things as a kid. And we'll laugh together. Just Maybe.
**Ex was doing laundry Friday when an electrical fire broke out behind the washer/dryer the outlet box. Dumb Runaway Dog finally earned her keep by barking like a mad dog until he came to see about the commotion. He pulled out one of the appliances, reached into the fire and ripped the cord out of the wall. Then he put out the fire. The electrical connection and appliances were nearly 40 years old. I am thankful he was home and DRD saved the house and him. I am not surprised Ex will not seek medical attention but will keep going. I could fill at least a week's worth of posts about him doing similar things....