It had been four years since I had seen him last and I still remember it like it was yesterday. Since then, he had been married and divorced and also had a son from the marriage. I, on the other hand, had still been single with no children.
He messaged me two weeks ago telling me he'd be in town and wanted to see me, that he'd buy lunch. He still knew food was the way to my heart. I accepted—only because I was off and had no plans. Who am I kidding? I would have taken off and shifted everything to see him. This man still had a piece of my heart. I could still remember the way he smelled, the scar behind his ear, and the birth mark only women he had been intimate with would know about. The way his lips curled when he said my name as if he couldn't help but smile when saying it.
I hurried and curled the last section of my hair and tied it up as I applied my makeup in the "no makeup" look. When I was finished I put on a small amount of clear lip gloss and finger combed my hair so it didn't look like I had actually spent time getting ready for him. Even though I still loved him, I couldn't show him that I did. He had broken my heart countless times, been married, had a child, and was now calling me again because he knew I would come. He was my weakness and he knew it, but that didn't mean I had to play easy. I slipped on my dress and shoes and looked myself over in the mirror. I looked good as hell and winked at myself because I knew he'd think the same.
I walked down stairs to catch a cab to take me to the restaurant where we'd be meeting. It was the very first place we had ever went on a date, which I'm certain he didn't remember because we had eaten there so many more times after. The food was so good we went there at least three times a month when we were together.
As soon as I sat in the backseat and told the driver where to take me I got a text.
"I'll be sitting outside by the flowers. I remember how much you love fresh air and good scenery."
He was up to it already. Trying to make his way in. I promised myself, this time, no matter how smooth he talks, I will NOT be one of his in between girls. You know, the girl he goes back to in between relationships. I've done it too many times before, but this time wouldn't be the same. It's just lunch with an old friend, and old fine friend. But he's just a friend! Once again, who am I kidding? Can an ex really be JUST a friend?
"OK, get it together," I told myself.
The taxi pulled up and I saw him walking back to the table rubbing his hands together. He had just came from the bathroom, he always did that exact hand rub on the entire walk back. Some things never change. I thanked and paid the driver, took a deep breath, and walked over to Murphy.
"Alexandria!" he said smiling. "You look great, still so beautiful, if not more."
I took a deep breath, "You look good too, Murphy. Still wearing the cologne I bought you after this many years?"
I said it trying to be funny, but it smelled so good on him, it turned on my entire body.
"Well after we broke up, I still wore it and Katrina loved it so she—I just kept buying it over the years."
Katrina was his ex wife and mother of his son. The son I thought I'd be having for him one day. When he said her name, all I could do was look him deep in his eyes hoping he could understand that I didn't want to hear anything about his failed marriage or the people that were a part of it.
"Have a seat, Alex," he said grabbing my chair. I sat down and watched him walk over to his chair to have a seat. He began to talk to me about who knows what. I nodded as if I was paying attention, but all I could do was think about his comment of Katrina and all the pain he caused me. I loved this man so much and so hard, I lost friends and family for him, and here he was showing me pictures of his son, Zeke. I smiled and continued to "listen" as I thought about how many men I had passed up because I was either waiting for Murphy to come back, or because I was still hurting behind him.
"Murphy," I interrupted. "You owe me some years. I have sat here and loved you and always came back to you and let you come back to me. I've been single waiting for you deep down. And, you come back, but only for the moment. I'm tired of being your back up girl and I'm tired of you feeling like you can just call on me in between your breakups and new relationships. When are you gonna love me, Murphy, really love me? You went and got married and had a baby, and here I am meeting with you again. Do you know how silly I feel and I look and I AM for always coming back to you? I know today was supposed to be a good day with good food and probably some good sex later tonight, but I can't keep doing this? Do you know that this is where we had our first date? Ever. This is were we came the very first time we went out. Do you know that? You probably don't even remember. Or what I had on. I remember what you had on; a blue jea--"
"A blue jean shirt with khaki shorts and red high tops. You had on a pretty black dress that hugged your curves with a sunflower in your hair. I won't forget. And I can't forget. Alexandria, you mean everything to me. That's why my marriage didn't work and that's why I'm here today. I don't wanna be with you in the shadows anymore. I love you, I've always loved you and I never stopped loving you. I won't stop loving you. I wanna work this out with you, baby."
I looked at Murphy. He had always been smooth, but never poured his heart out like this. Part of me wanted to just throw my water in his face, but the other part believed him. I believed the love was still there. If it was still there for me, its highly possible it could still be there for him. I took a deep breath and calmed down. He grabbed my hand and stood up. We left the restaurant and he hailed a cab. We got in and he told the cab driver to take us to my place. I had fell in love with him all over again. But this time would be different. We would make it work this time and have the ending we always dreamed about.
Murphy and Alexandria. Forever.