she’s an ex for a reason

Except for the extra mileage entrenched around her glassy, stoned-looking eyes, her face looked the same—all smiley and everything. She reeked of sweet, yet medicinal perfume. A COACH bag dangled from her wrist, and sparkly jewelry adorned her fingers, ears, and neck.

I felt nothing; not rage, not excitement, not anything. And then she went toward my dad and hugged him. Then me. Then my husband.

Confusion drizzled over me.

I think my arm went up to kind of encase her as she hugged me like a normal person hugs—arms reached around and squeezing me a bit.

She wouldn’t stop smiling. She looked happy. Really happy. And that pissed me off a bit and fueled my judging her from her perfectly painted red toenails to her matching fake fingernails.

We all played follow the leader to the dining area of the steakhouse my nephew Jordan (her son) wanted us to meet at for his birthday dinner celebration.

It may have been nearly twenty years since we sat at the same table to have a meal, but she really hadn’t changed all that much: she still thought everything was funny, she still found nothing to talk about (and talk about it a lot), she still pulled off the Dumb Blond thing really well.

Only difference was that now she sat next to her boyfriend whom she was living with—along with his two kids, a 13-year-old and 5-year-old—instead of my brother and their children.

Anger started brewing as I started reflecting.

She can leave her own kids when they weren’t even 5 and 10 (now in their 20s) for occasional weekend visits with them, but here she is living with some guy and his kids, taking on a motherly role?

Her boyfriend’s 5-year-old, a girl, leaned against her and she put her arm around the girl and brought her in closer. Both with straw-colored hair, I’m sure the wait staff thought they were mother and daughter.

I looked over at Jordan whom she left when he wasn’t even 5. Was he seeing this too? Was he steaming inside too? Was he wondering why she, his own mother, could act motherly toward this little girl when she couldn’t act that way toward him nearly 20 years ago?

“What kind of wine do you have?” she asked the waiter, batting her glossy eyes at him while he rattled off a list of wines. “Oh,” she cackled before he finished with the list, “I’ll have a white zinfandel.”

I’m certain my eyes rolled at this point, but I pretended to be looking at the light fixtures to avoid confrontation. This was about Jordan and his birthday after all. This wasn’t about me and my disdain for this fake-ass, wanna-be-someone-she-never-will-be woman who used to be my best friend. It’s never been about that. It’s always about the kids. Always.

I squeezed my daughter in closer to me and asked if I could color with her, avoiding making anymore eye contact with Jordan’s mom.

I was, after all, waiting on a steak dinner to come, and I wanted to be able to stomach it.


34 thoughts on “she’s an ex for a reason

    • opposites attract, right? i guess that’s why we were once BFF?? regardless, that ship has long sailed thankfully cuz i’m with you on fake people. (btw sorry about dropping the ball with 25 songs/days thing)

      • You still have time to make it up! Really, it’s not biggie. I was going to do it and really asked if anyone wanted to do it with me. I didn’t realize it would turn out to be as big as it did.

  1. wcdameron says:

    Life is full of difficult encounters where we have to act like human beings when we feel anything but. You handled it admirably.

  2. Ugh…I liked this because it was well written but I did not ‘LIKE” the situation for you. She is definitely an ex for a reason…sounds like lots of good reasons, actually!

  3. I could totally see this person perfectly and feel everything you felt here. I’m in awe of your strength, it sounds like the worst dinner ever. I hope the steak was good at least!

  4. That would be a challenging situation. I like the way you told this story. You described your ex-sister-in-law so vividly. Your feelings were so palpable – I could easily identify with them. Even though Jordan is the catalyst for the story, he remains in the background, which made this piece even more powerful.

    • confession time: once upon a time i did smack her. it felt so good too. we got in a huge physical fight. i hated myself after and still harbor ill feelings b/c her kids were there to witness it all and that, alone, sickens me. but it still felt good to actually smack her. 😉

  5. Shailaja /Doting Mom says:

    Normally, I don’t judge either, but watching her be motherly towards her step child when her own son was before her, must have really hit a nerve. So, people don’t change or do they?

    • it’s a tough one. i’d love to believe she’s changed but all the fakeness she exudes leads me to believe she’s pretty much the same. i mean, i’m glad she didn’t shun the little girl but yeah, nerve hit big time.

  6. Oh my…that sounds awkward!! I can certainly see why you wanted to smack her or at the very least throw something at her. People usually don’t change their ways. Seems like she was putting on quite the dramatic act. Kind of makes you sick.

  7. Christine says:

    I’m impressed at how you were able to put your own feelings aside for the kids. That’s always tricky. I hope the evening ended well. 🙂

  8. Kathy Berney says:

    I felt like I wasn’t reading your blog as much as absorbing vapors of honesty off of my iPad mini, which isn’t easy to do. I’ve known enough similar phonies in my young and adult life to feel the sad reality apparent in your unadorned portrait of your ex-sister-in-law, and the maddening consequences of her inactions. But, as you acknowledge, we suffer through it for the kids.

  9. Sarah Ann says:

    I feel so much for you – the drizzling confusion, the brewing anger. I doubt I’d’ve been able to bite my tongue. I’d probably have asked for my own picture to colour.

  10. lifesabanquet1 says:

    Hi Christina! My name is Heather and I just have a question about your blog that I was hoping you would be able to answer! My email is Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com 🙂

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