They say that when something seems to good to be true it probably is. I kind of hate “them” right now.
Saturday night ended with Asterix passed out on the pile of shoes. People had to climb over him when they left; I saw at least one girl trip and fall right on him and he didn’t even stir. After we got home, I lay awake most of the night with the Viking snoring softly, unaware, beside me, watching the pale blue that passes for nighttime right now turn to pink then the bright blue of daytime by around 3am.
Maybe because I was kind of sleepy (and we were both slightly hungover), Sunday was kind of fine. I didn’t forget, but somehow I pushed my wonderings to one side and we just hung out around the apartment and did some errands, very low key and relaxed. Everything was so normal between us, I started to doubt the whole conversation with Asterix and wonder if I had misheard/misunderstood the whole thing.
Just as I was putting the whole thing to one side (writing yesterday’s post helped, seeing it in black and white on the screen made me realize it really wasn’t all that big a deal, and the comments about Viking drunkenness helped too!!), guess who I ran into?
At this time of year, almost every bar, cafe, coffee shop around our neighbourhood has some tables outside on the sidewalk – literally on the sidewalk, no cordoned off terrace or separate area, which I find a little weird. I feel as though I’m intruding on people’s meals as I pass by within a foot of what they are eating; I can’t imagine enjoying dinner out with pedestrians gawping at me as I munch away, not to mention dogs and bicycles and traffic. Anyway, I passed one such bar yesterday evening, and of course Hockey Girl and ABBA Girl were there and it was so awkward because I didn’t see them in time to cross the street, so there was no way to avoid them.
They obviously felt obligated to invite me to join them and I couldn’t think of an excuse fast enough. In fact I was happy to hang with Hockey Girl (the Viking was working), and figured I could put up with ABBA Girl for the duration of a glass of wine as my only alternative was a two-year-old season of The Bachelorette I have no idea why I keep downloading. I figured that there’s kind of nothing to lose with her, so decided to kind of attack a conversation with her rather than let her blow me off and give up like I usually do.
I asked her a little about her job – pretty boring, in IT – told her how impressed I was at her baking bread from scratch that time, and she actually blushed a little as she said it was no big deal, and seemed almost human for a minute. A little emboldened, I moved on to ask how she knew the gang – I knew the Viking and Asterix went to school together, and Hockey Girl worked with the Viking, but realized that I’d never caught exactly how ABBA Girl fit in.
She hesitated, and glanced a little uncertainly at Hockey Girl, and my heart sank to my toes. Immediately I knew that I didn’t want to know how she fit in. I started to say backtrack, when she said, kind of reluctantly, “I was friends with Jenny.” The way she said it made it clear that I should know who Jenny was, and the last thing I want is for those two to know is how in the dark I am, so I forced my face to remain as neutral as I could, and nodded like I kind of half knew that already.
And actually, I did.
I could practically feel spiders of horror scuttling down my spine as the truth hit me that Jenny is the Viking’s ex. That she is the reason he is so secretive about his past. That she is why Asterix thought he would never be happy again.
I’m not some kind of naive idiot who imagined that he was a virgin when I met him. Of course he has exes. Of course some of them will have been significant. But the whole thing – what Asterix said at the weekend and how he said it, the way the girls stiffened, and exchanged looks, and gave me big false smiles and changed the subject – hit me over the head with a sledgehammer that there is more to Jenny.