I just spent 48 hours with the Ex. We went to dinner and out drinking together. We spent the night together alone in a hotel room. Yes you read that right.
No you didn't miss any posts. Our "relationship" remains pretty much as it was.
So what could possess him to spend so much time with me?
Son is going to college and it was freshman orientation. Son's college is 5 or so hours away. We both agreed it would be stupid to drive 2 cars. Then he suggested - yes him - that it would be wasteful to get 2 rooms. Money is tight + we're facing double college, so I agreed. Call me desperate for civility.
The week leading up to the trip was frustrating to say the least. The day before we left he finally sent me an email about the trip + wanted to leave around 3. I told him I had a hearing at 2 and likely couldn't go til later but wasn't sure. I offered to call/text when I got out, but he said no. So when my hearing was a mere 20 minutes and I got home by 3:30 he was still an hour away at his job. He didn't think I'd be home then. Oh well. He doesn't want to communicate, I won't.
So we weren't starting well.
I sat in the back of his little BMW, silently reading and working.
Son stayed with us in the hotel the first night, a buffer. We were polite.
The next morning we went to school. I had been apprehensive about Son's choice. Tech is HUGE. Too big for Son, even if he is in the honors program with "only" 500 kids. But orientation changed all that. The meetings were multimedia extravaganzas. The school is totally organized, offers more assistance and services than I could ever fathom. The dean of the honors program is as human and approachable as he is brilliant. Wow.
Son was so excited - they pumped him up and then took him away. The honors program makes all decisions his, they talk to him, just telling us (separately) what they told him.
Thursday night we dropped Son off at the dorm at 5pm for the night and then...we were on our own.
Did I tell you this is Ex's Alma mater?
So Ex took me on a walking tour of the campus. I couldn't stop saying, "Wow! Awesome! Gorgeous!" The school is breathtaking, dynamic, fabulous. I hadn't been there in about 20 years, and I don't think I ever really had a tour. Ex was very accommodating, cheery, talkative, informative. It was so weird, but nice.
Then I realized we were not really talking. He was sharing his vast knowledge of the place, enjoying his walk through time. I told him I appreciated the tour and making me feel better about Son's choice. He said he was happy to do so. But any "conversation" beyond that didn't happen. I tried. Nope.
After the 2 hour walking tour in 95 degrees, we headed to the alumni house for a parent reception. We were early and headed to the bar for a rum drink (or two) on an empty stomach. I thought we would talk. Nope. Couldn't get him to toast the success of our Son without twisting his arm. Oh well the bartender and I shared rum knowledge. Ex seemed perplexed with my new-found rum knowledge.
Then we went to the reception. We ended up sitting with 2 dads also sending sons to school. We shared angst, laughs and drinks. Finally I realized we needed food, so we headed downtown for dinner.
We shared sushi for dinner. Sushi. In our 20 years of marriage we Never. Ate. Sushi. Turns out we both love it, both discovering that After the D. Of course he opted to sit at the bar and eat rather than share a table. And talked to the guy next to him not me. Again No Matter - I made my own fun with the bartender and some other folks.
Then we went for "one last drink" at The Famous College Bar. We shared a table with a guy we had met at dinner. Again we didn't have to talk. I tried a couple times. But really we stopped talking years ago. Decades even.
It was so weird to be with him in so many ways. Honestly I'm used to being with the Captain and we talk about everything all the time nonstop. Hard stuff, silly stuff, it's all out there. We hold hands everywhere and kiss at red lights. I briefly forgot Ex doesn't talk about anything. He walks 5 paces ahead of me. He does not answer questions. We never held hands while married. Kissing to him was an obligatory 30 second prelude to what he really wanted. I don't miss any of that. I did miss the Captain. It would have been so much more fun.
Throughout the trip Ex was mostly cordial, as was I. But there were times His True Self came through (as, I'm sure, did mine). When he belittled me, ignored my requests, refused to discuss something, I simply ignored him and did things my own way. I refused to take his crap. When we were married, in the interest of "making peace" I took his crap all the time. Now, I don't have to. I didn't fight with him - indeed we both don't care enough about each other to fight any more. (think about that). No, instead whatever conflict was at issue I handled my way, ignoring him. The funny thing was, when I did that, he put aside his nasty self and turned back to the funny, accommodating tour guide. (he can be very, very funny). I wonder if I had been more forthright in our marriage, refusing to take his crap then, if perhaps we would still be together? Oh well, we shall never know. But I doubt it. And I have NO regrets - well almost none. I wish my kids' parents were still married. But I'm glad I'm not married if that makes sense.
The best part of the trip was the happy feeling I got walking around campus, going through buildings, seeing dorms, touring food places, walking by the duck pond, standing on the war memorial overlooking the drill field - and "seeing" Son everywhere, feeling him growing, learning and becoming a wonderful man there. It truly is the right place for him. I didn't get that feeling last summer when we toured New England schools where he insisted he wanted to go. Even when he thought he wanted to go to my Alma mater (ironic no?) I wasn't sure. I just couldn't see him there.
But now, he is embracing his triple legacy (grandfather, father and now Son - and Great Uncle) and he is poised on the verge of greatness. And that is all that matters.