Clearly, they thought that I knew. Apparently, everybody knew, considering the magnitude of the wedding. At first, I protested their declaration with surprise. He was not married, I told them. I was sure of it. He may have been married, but now? Negative. They countered, citing specific (relatively correct) dates and times.
I left the restaurant, and went to have drinks with Marcus, while my mind reeled. I felt stupid. Stupid and unaware. Either I had very, very wrongly misinterpreted his intentions, or my friends were just grossly misinformed. I suspected the former.
Of course, I immediately Googled The Lawyer when I got home.
Sure enough, he was married about a year and a half ago to a woman whom public records showed that he had also bought a house in the city with in 2008. I prowled through their wedding registry like a stalker, and took note of the fact that they had attended the same college and law school. They also held Bar affiliations in the same states.
I was an idiot.
I closed my laptop and laid down to go to sleep, not sure of what to make of the situation. But, restlessness got the better of me.
Reaching for the lamp on my nightstand, I got back up and opened my laptop. I wanted to reread our emails to each other. Despite my tendency to distract myself from the mundane nature of my life by blogging about the tiniest romantic possibility with someone of the opposite sex, I’m usually not that blunted in my perception of people.
When discussing the wedding of another high school friend, he had written:
Anyway, the craziest thing was that everyone seems to have life-partnered up, so I had an odd anxiety like I was the only one without a plan. Not sure if that makes sense.
When talking about a friend of ours that ended a relationship after three years, because the guy cheated:
I was BBM'ing with [our friend] about the fact that all these previously life-time single people were all coupled up; she and I had similar situations.
When discussing my breakup with Rich:
What a thoroughly mature way to look at the world. Despite my age and experience, or perhaps because of it, I'm still suspect of quick coupling/marrying. I don't have comments or anecdotes I'd want to put in writing, so it will have to wait for happy hour (after a few drinks).
I can see how the last statement would elicit questions, but the first two? I garnered from our email conversations that he had had a long-term relationship that did not work out well, and that he was now unhappily single and looking. I did not garner: “Hey, by the way, I’m married!”
You have no idea how badly I needed and wanted to blog about this, internet, but alas, so many of our mutual high school friends read this blog. If they haven’t identified who The Lawyer is yet, they certainly know who I’m talking about now. (Which incidentally, please don't tip him off to this blog address, you guys. He knows that I write a blog; he does not know that I am writing about him.)
In an attempt to save face on a blog that I once started anonymously, precisely so that I wouldn’t ever have to, I stopped writing about my relationships. (Now you know.) I didn’t want anyone referring The Lawyer to this site, where I was publicly posting private email conversations that we had had. Also, though, I didn’t want everyone to realize that a) I’m an idiot, because had I simply Googled him, I would know that he is married or b) I’m an idiot, because while I was carrying on about Google Docs and text messages, he was clearly not interested romantically.
So, our conversations continued quietly. Me, responding to him cautiously and scrutinizing his every word. He, texting to say hi, to inquire about exams, and to set a date and time for our infamous happy hour/dinner.
Last Wednesday night, we finally met each other in person.
I was sitting at a bar, across the street from the medical school, when he arrived. We dispatched the usual pleasantries, before eventually getting to the meat of the discussion.
“The split happened six months ago,” he started.
It was evident that he thought that I knew, despite him never telling me himself.
I tactfully asked about the hows and whys, while sipping my rum and diet Coke, and waiting for him to fill in the details.
“So, have you filed for divorce yet?,” I finally had the courage to ask.
Drinks were followed with a late dinner at one of our mutually favorite restaurants. We talked and laughed until the waiters were cleaning up and he looked at his watch and said, “I don’t want to keep you out too late. It’s already 11 p.m.”
What followed next was reminiscent of this situation last fall. I caught the very last train back to Virginia, and when I got home, there were no cabs at the Metro station. So, standing outside with my huge backpack, purse, laptop, and leftovers from dinner, I called a taxi. At 12:00 a.m. on a weeknight.
Reflecting on the situation, I figured that what happened was a combination of my misinterpretation of his intentions and his genuine interest in wanting to see me—both because we shared a high school connection, but also because I too had experienced a terrible, serious breakup, and could empathize with the humiliation and heartache involved. I also convinced myself that like him, I must have grown up into a fascinating and witty adult, and that must be appealing somehow. Really, I was just rationalizing to myself.
He was just a nice guy who rode my bus to high school and wanted to befriend me again as an adult. I was a socially-deprived, hermit medical student making far too much out of it.
(To Be Continued...)