People You May Know
There she was on my Facebook ‘people you may know’ list. How many years had it been? Thirty? Thirty-five? She had gained weight and wore her hair shorter, but I would recognize those eyes and lips anywhere. What the hell. I added her. I had nothing to lose. Let bygones be bygones, right?
The last time I saw her was before she got married. She had come down to the club where I spun records. “Play our song,” she said, leaning over the DJ booth, reeking of beer and tequila. We never really had our song, so I played David Bowie’s Modern Love. I could have played any song that night and she wouldn’t have known.
Our break-up. Yeah, that one hurt. A ‘Dear John’ letter of all things. She said that I was never going to change. You’re suffocating me, she wrote, and you’re immature. That was just the first sentence. She didn’t even sign it. Talk about cold.
Well, all in the past. Water under the bridge, as my grandmother used to say.
First, we ‘liked’ each other’s photos and status updates; then we moved on to family and career. I congratulated her on her recent marriage—her fourth; she congratulated me on my latest book. We wished each other Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year. She wished things could have been different between us. I did, too.
But for all the good tidings and wishes, there was one thing, one burning question, in the back of my mind, that I just had to ask her. If we were going to come clean and bury the ghosts from our past, I had to know about her and Mark.
It was the time I went away to college and we had reached a crossroads in our relationship. I think we both knew at the time that we were falling out of love, but neither one of us wanted to make the first move. The day we hurriedly had sex on the bedroom floor, while her baby sister pounded on the locked door threatening to tell their mother, we promised to work things out. We didn’t. When I came back home, three months later, there were rumors she had slept with my best friend, Mark. I pretended not to believe them. Hell, we had broken up and it shouldn’t have mattered anymore. Problem was…it did.
Even though I slept around, at least I hadn’t jumped in the sack with one of her friends. Sure, I was angry at the both of them—who wouldn’t have been—but as I said, water under the bridge. And I buried it. She got married. Mark got married. We all got married, raised families, and had careers.
And then one day, she showed up on my Facebook page.
“Remember that time…?” She didn’t have to answer my question. Hell, she could have lied, but she didn’t. She needed to come clean too, I guess. But I couldn’t.
I clicked ‘un-friend’.
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Jeffrey Miller has spent over two decades in Asia as a university lecturer and writer. Originally from LaSalle, Illinois, he relocated to South Korea in 1990 where he nurtured a love for spicy Korean food, Buddhist temples, and East Asian History. He is the author of eight books including War Remains, Ice Cream Headache, and The Panama Affair. His latest, The Roads We Must Travel, was published by Big Table Publishing in 2017. He lives in Daejeon, South Korea with his wife and four children. If he’s not working, writing, or reading, he’s usually chasing little kids around his home. You can find Jeffrey at jeffreymillerwrites.com and Twitter, @Papa_Sparks