Chaos Attraction

The Freakout

2018-01-14, 10:35 p.m.

So I didn’t know how I was going to handle this situation of going to his awards show with him knowing about it. I wanted to see him and yet...not, exactly. For one thing, he has a girlfriend and uh, one can be about 100% sure at the very least that the girlfriend would be around at his show, and I wasn’t going to horn in there. Even if they’re all poly, I am not gonna get involved. Also, I have just been feeling kind of weird about the idea of seeing him in general after so long, which is why I liked the idea of “hey, I can see his show with no pressure on my end” so much. I did not particularly want to inform him of my coming for these reasons, but as previously mentioned, it seemed at least somewhat likely that I might run into him around there so I felt like I had to.

I would also like to note here that it’s not like anyone has each other’s phone numbers, or that he asked where I was sitting or said anything about meeting up at intermission or anything, so it’s not like any kind of formal meetup was discussed in these circumstances. Whether or not he actually wanted to see me with girlfriend around (or if I am just being creepy and he was being polite), hell if I know. Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know and I’m afraid to ask.

Anyway: I was pondering leaving after the first act if he was in the first act and suggested this to Mom, who declined the idea and said that if he knew I was there, wouldn’t he wonder. Okay, fine, I guess. They were handing out free booze and I got some, which between my general feeling of fried-ness due to GPS and more immediate “what the hell is gonna happen” going on in my brain, I needed. And I knew if I was gonna get a little tanked (on not very full of a stomach, which is usually asking for a quickass drunk experience with me), I’d better chug it like, ASAP so I could sober up for the ride home. So I did that.

I just got up and spontaneously decided to make Rice Krispie treats instead of writing this. I am stalling. And the treats are going terribly, incidentally. Can someone please explain to me why the amount of wet gooey stuff I’m supposed to be microwaving is supposed to cover 5 or 6 cups of rice cereal and it doesn’t even coat 2 cups of it? Who wrote this recipe? Then when I tried to make another batch of fluff and butter, it freaking burned somehow. Am I a total idiot who can’t follow a recipe or is this recipe crap?

Stalling, stalling.

So yes, his bit was in the first act and he was dancing on stage. I’m not exactly sure what the heck was going on in this dance number (turns out if you see random bits from stage shows out of context, it’s confusing) but he was in there dancing and I saw him for the first time since I forget when (whenever it was I randomly ran into him in a restaurant in Concord) and....

I freaked out. That’s really the only way to put it.

Okay, so I’d seen him online (Facebook pic) so I knew he had white/gray hair now, that wasn’t totally out of the blue to me and that happens to most people who aren’t me when they’re over 40, but somehow seeing him in person made me realize that seventeen goddamn years have gone by since we stopped talking and Things Have Changed. It was like reality belted me in the face. And I was thinking stuff like “shit, now he looks like a professor and I look like the student he had an affair with or something, because I haven’t aged like at all.” (Note: there's age difference but not THAT bad of age difference. He was a grad student/not a TA and I was undergrad and we were in different programs at the time.) Good for me and I’m happy about that, mind you, but jesus, that’s a change. I thought, how creepy/weird would it be for him to see me and I don’t look different? It was like finally realizing that time has passed, probably too much time has passed. This has suddenly gotten too weird for my brain to handle.

Whatever stuff I was thinking about a possible meeting (and lord knows I am not gonna get into that, but it was all over the map) just seemed to evaporate. Do I even want to meet up any more in general? I don’t know, but suddenly I couldn’t handle the idea of it that night. My plan had gone from “well, if I happen to run into him and he sees me, then okay, so we’re doing this,” to “oh god hide this is too much I can’t even this is too weird.”

Much to my surprise, I ended up being happy that Mom had wanted to come to this thing, because during intermission while I laid low in my seat, she got up and went to the bathroom and reported back that she saw him with his girlfriend (young with frizzy blue hair, she said) at a table on the way to the bathroom. He did not spot/recognize her, apparently. I was all, “oh, then I am definitely not coming back out.” We debating leaving at intermission after all, but I still had that sobering up alcohol problem, and hey, maybe it’d be easier to leave without being noticed when everyone else is going.

I really have not much of any clue as to what was going on at this event because I was in a haze all night. Some folks performed, I recognized a few numbers but most I did not. There was a lot of self congratulating and a mime. It was a very in crowd sort of thing that I had no business attending really. I don’t think his show got any awards, but one got the impression that the same few shows were winning everything anyway.

Upon leaving, Mom reported that she spotted him up ahead (with girlfriend, though I never saw her because I was trying not to look in that direction), so I crept along the back wall with my head turned, Not Being Seen. I thought the bathroom was towards the back by the bar I went to and being a girl, god forbid I not pee before I go somewhere, but I ended up at the men’s room and was helpfully told the ladies was back thataway--in his direction. I fled down the stairs instead. We were on the third floor and I found an empty bathroom on the second, so that was taken care of. However, little did I know that somehow while I was doing that he’d made his way on down, because on my way out the door he was coming back in with a bunch of boxes.

I barely recognized him, and he did not recognize me, or at least I guess he didn’t spot my face too well and I never did tell him I have new hair since lord knows that never came up in conversation. And I did not say anything. I couldn’t. I stumbled on by and hid in the nearest wall. Yeah, in the wall, there was a little niche by the parking garage.

I’m a bit ashamed of that last bit, but at the same time I just could not freaking deal with the situation. I felt like I was about to be caught, and then I wasn’t.

(Though I will say, on a weirdly good news side, for once I have managed to pull off being unrecognizable with just a change of hair, like Elizabeth on The Americans. I am ah, slightly proud of this despite the general agita of the situation.)

Mom was actually really nice about all of this. She is normally ah....not good/easily upset in situations, but she was very helpful here and kept the “my, he seems to like the young girls so I don’t think you looking young would be an issue, Jen” commentary to a bare minimum. I have been pretty much a zombie since that happened. I slept in at her house (and had dreams of avoiding him, huzzah, let’s rehash that some fucking more, brain), I sat around staring at but not paying attention to whatever “Murder, She Baked” (this is a thing?) movies were on Hallmark Mysteries for hours while Mom tried on clothes, and eventually I went home, still staring into space a lot, and then drank. Huzzah for drinking.

I haven’t checked my email. I’m afraid to.

I’d really like to call Meg or my shrink, but therapy’s not for a few more days and Meg has houseguests so I don’t feel like horning in on that via a whining phone call and having those poor folks I don’t know have to hear secondhand about my insanity. I wish I remembered when they were leaving. It’s probably in my email somewhere but I am not gonna look at that.

I really wish I hadn’t told him I was going. I did it because it seemed fairly likely he’d spot me at the thing, and indeed that was very likely, but since I managed to duck it, now I wish I’d kept my mouth shut.

I really hope he hasn’t written back wondering where the hell I was. I hope he wasn’t trying to find me (who knows). I don’t know what to tell him if he asks. Long bathroom line? Sorry, didn’t see you? I don’t want to lie but I don’t want to be all, “Sorry, I freaked out because one of us actually looks our age and it wasn’t me and omg so much time has passed and is this even doable on any level and aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa” honest either. You know those cute little stories of high school sweethearts who reunited decades later? I thought those were cute but now I am all, how did they do it without it being super strange?

I’m not sorry I went because it’s better to get the reality slap now than later at an actual face to face meeting. I guess on some level I knew I’d freak, but I didn’t think it’d be like this.

He probably hasn’t written, right? He’s probably off banging the girlfriend and/or been cast partying or whatever and has been too busy and distracted to notice, right? Hell, he doesn’t write much anyway apparently, if he doesn’t say anything then I’m off the hook, right?

It's nearly eleven. I'm not gonna check email now. I should go to bed. Thank goodness I have tomorrow off from work because I don't think I have the brains to deal with that crap now.

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