So let me tell you about my university boyfriend, Steve, a guy who looked like Jeff Bridges in his prime, introduced me to Hunter S. Thompson and Public Image Limited and made me laugh harder than anyone I had ever known to that point in my life. He was also a hard-core partyer, which added to the glamour factor for me. He was 27 and I was 21 when we met, and to say that I fell in love would be a gross understatement. I fell STUPIDLY in love. And so when he asked me to move in with him one week, and then dumped me a week later on a street corner at 3 a.m., the heartbreak was profound and intense.

And the hits just kept on coming. Not content to just break it off with me and break my young heart, he kept getting back in touch to sleep with me every month or so, and, being young and naive and still unaware that men were quite capable of sleeping with women without it meaning a goddamned thing, I kept thinking that he must still love me and we’d be getting back together. WRONG!

The chain-yanking went on for years, actually, even after I’d met my first husband and he called me from Halifax, where he’d moved for a job, told me he loved me and paid for my ticket to fly out there so that he could appeal to me face-to-face to give him another chance. We had a great night and then the next day, he failed to show up for brunch at the pre-arranged time and I didn’t hear from him for months. I married the guy I was dating, by the way. He got married too, to a local girl who was apparently willing to turn a blind eye to the skirt-chasing. Both our marriages ultimately ended.

I realize I am making this guy sound like a pig, and yes, in many ways, he was. But he’s also whip-smart and hilarious. He worked for Fox News for years in Manhattan, from about 2000 to 2006 — through the post 9-11 years, when he finally lost it, Network-style, over his employer’s shameful sucking-up to George W. Bush and its ridiculous “support our troops” mentality. He was fired on the spot and he wore it like a badge of honour. For this and many other feisty qualities, I couldn’t help but like him, despite the damage he had done to my heart years earlier.

His hold on me ended when I met someone 13 years ago and fell in love as intensely and madly as I did with Steve all those years earlier. And poof, any residual feelings I had for him vanished, even though, for the past few years, he’s made a few attempts to get me back in the sack but I have not in any way been tempted. And we have remained friends despite my having to slap him down every now and again.

But last night my friend Trixie and I went to his annual late May deck party, and I didn’t expect to emerge from the party pissed the hell off. But I was, and now I know that some residual resentment at the way he toyed with me many years ago still remains. First, he lives in MY neighbourhood, the place where I grew up and where most of my family still remains — a lovely, remote part of my city on the shores of Lake Ontario and so removed from downtown that you feel you’re in small-town paradise with ravines and 200-year-old cathedral-esque oak trees everywhere and a big, sea-like navy blue lake to gaze out upon.

When Trixie and I walked onto the massive third-floor deck of his house, I almost wept, because it was like being in a tree house — and I dream about those neighbourhood trees almost every night of my life. Massive 10-storey oaks all around overlooking a little ravine with a burbling creek just like the ones I spent my childhood playing in.

 

And then there was the place itself. Small, but gorgeous. Painted wood floors throughout, a beautiful stone fireplace in the kitchen, and the coolest art — from Sex Pistols and Hunter S. Thompson posters to really cool local artists, all of it my ex’s — hanging on pristine walls painted lovely shades of green and blue.

Not to mention the beautiful second wife he’s got lined up. Pretty, blonde — and really fucking nice. When I told him how cool, lovely, funny and smart she was, the old game-player emerged briefly: “Just like you,” he said.

In short, his life is fucking perfect, he’s living in my dream house in the neighbourhood that still enchants me, and he’s had his happy ending while I am still waiting for mine. I don’t know why it pissed me off, seeing the way he lives, but it does. Partly because, I guess, when my second marriage busted up 18 months ago, he was really putting the moves on me, and at one point I had to remind him I was totally heartbroken, so maybe this was something we could explore at some point, but not for awhile. And I guess he took that information and went and met someone else who is now planning his second wedding.

Perhaps, if he’d given me a fucking minute or two to recover, it might have been ME living in that perfect house amid those majestic trees in the neighbourhood to which I feel a mystical connection!!But then again, no, probably not, because A. I didn’t love him anymore; B. He surely would have fucked me over once again if I had managed to muster up some feelings for him and C. He was quite lousy in the sack and not the most kind-hearted person. And when you’ve had filet mignon of the type I discovered 13 years ago, it’s hard to go back to settling for hamburger.

 One day I will move back to that neighbourhood, and I will find my little cottage under some majestic oaks, but I won’t need to settle for that funny but flawed fucker to do so. I’ll do it all on my own, thanks very much!

 

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