I had a really intense day yesterday. I had plans to have brunch with my best guy friend. I always tend to pick really fancy expensive brunch places. I love brunch! I could never seriously date a guy that doesn’t understand the importance of a glamorous brunch. But Chris was just laid off from his job so he suggested a little mellower of a place. I had never been to Outerlands and I have heard such great things about it so I decided to try it out. It’s located in the Sunset and that’s Chris’s neck of the woods. I have always avoided this area…to me this is the land of the ex-husband and his new wife.
When we arrived there was a pretty large group of people waiting for tables despite the rain. We put our name in and hid under the overhang to hide from the constant drizzle. Then began a morning of running into a million people. I saw, and we counted it…11 people that I know. A few good friends, a couple acquaintances, an awkward exchange between a boy I may have had a crush on at one time, and of course my ex-husband.
We had just sat down when he walked in. He was just dropping off some dishes. He owns a store down the street so he must have gotten breakfast to go. I saw him and called out his name. He turned and walked over to say hello and sat down. It’s really not strange for me to see mason…he used to work in the Mission so our paths have crossed and I am at a place where I feel almost, genuinely happy to see him. It’s taken me a really long time to get to this place.
He sat down and I reintroduced him to Chris. He seemed not to remember him at first, which was so strange. When we were married Chris was a source of contention between us. Despite my assurance of our strictly platonic friendship, Chris to Mason represented what he deemed a more suitable match for me. He would always tell me I should be with him or someone more like him. The crazy thing is despite how much I love Chris we are so completely not compatible as anything more than friends. He is not emotional enough for me. All day yesterday we kept joking about how he only has two emotions. Happy or mad. To him there are only two groups of people, the ones he likes and the ones he does not. I’m always happy to be on the like side. He’s a good guy to have in your corner.
Mason suggested we come down and see his store. It’s just a few doors down from Outerlands. I had never been and of course I have always been somewhat curious. But I vowed the Sunset was he and his new wife’s stomping ground and have always just avoided it. It made me squeamish to think about going in.
Years back, when BellJar had first opened, I was walking up 16th street and I saw Masons new dog, Macey, in front of The Candystore. This dog was a source of pain for me. Mason and I had gotten two dogs together and one of them was completely his. The dog and I never clicked but him and Mason were best of friends. When we split up I urged him to take his dog but he didn’t want him anymore. He told me to keep him and if I didn’t want him to take him to the shelter (which you all know I would never do). He immediately got a new dog with his new girlfriend, now wife. It just compounded my feeling of abandonment. Our whole family had been replaced. Of course it was not the new dogs fault and she is a really lovely little dog so I stopped to say hello. I looked around for Mason but didn’t see him anywhere. I decided to pop in to Candystore and say hi to all my shopgirl pals. As I walked in I immediately saw Masons new girlfriend. I did a brief hello and quickly took my leave. I stood on the sidewalk shaking until she walked out. She turned towards Mission with Macey and I started to follow her. My heart was firmly logged in my throat as I frantically tried to come up with a game plan. Would I stop her and yell at her? Just follow her for a few blocks? Thank god I quickly realized I was being insane and turned around and walked the other way.
There was nothing I could rightfully say to her. I mean what? How much her and Masons actions hurt me? How damaged my trust was now because of it? Maybe tell her about all the horrible things he did to me? But then wouldn’t I have to tell her about the awful things I did to him? And in reality she had no real understanding of what my marriage to Mason was. She came in at the tail end when everything was falling apart. Hell to this day I can hardly make sense of it. And when it really came down to it, like Macey the dog, it wasn’t her fault.
I headed back to the store. I had a photoshoot about to happen for 7x7 magazine and the photographer had already arrived. I walked in and just broke down crying, relaying the whole situation to her. Then I quickly grabbed the phone and called Mason screaming. I explained that the 16th and Mission was my hood, and that he needed to make sure she stayed away. I threatened all sorts of things that I’m sure effectively and rightfully had him shaking in his boots. Everytime I see the photo from that day I cringe.
The first time I saw them together in the Mission was over a year later. It was at an art opening at Adobe Books. We just ignored eachother. The next time was maybe 6 months later. They were both in a group show at Pens and Needles on Masons Birhtday. By this time I was sick of being angry and tired of feeling awkward. I walked over after work, introduced myself to her, gave Mason a birthday card, looked at the art and then left. I felt good about the interaction and proud of myself. It’s was time to start letting go of the hurt; it was just eating me up inside. A few days later Mason texted me and thanked me.
I obviously gave up on my self-proclaimed turf wars. Here they were hanging out on my street and not only that but having art openings. But I still held on to my end of the bargain. I have for 4 years, besides going to Chris’s house have stayed away from the Sunset, until yesterday.
After chris and I finished our super delicious breakfast at Outerlands, we walked down to Mason’s store. It was charming. It was so Mason. It so crazy that If you look at my store and then you look at his, you can see how obviously different we are, but at the same time to me it still makes sense, that once we were in love. And its sad that our paths have moved in the same direction simultaneously but separate.
Him and Chris chatted about architecture as I dug through the amazing selection of Indian rugs. I was surprised I did not see the new wife. I think I was a bit relieved. I knew it would feel awkward and at this point it was all surprisingly adult and almost even pleasant. Mason and I were being really civil and he and Chris were chatting like old friends.
After digging through the carpets and completely falling in love with one of them I stood up to walk back to Chris and came face to face with her. All I could muster was, "hi, how are you?." I think she just said fine and rushed out of her store. I wanted to tell her how lovely her store was. I wanted to tell her how obvious it is that her and Mason are good together and in a way he and I could never be. I wanted something meaningful to happen but it was understandably uncomfortable and over in a few seconds.
I decided it was time to get out of the Sunset and joked to Mason to let me know when the rugs were on sale for 50% off. He said, "for you - right now". I wasn’t sure if he was kidding but quickly found he wasn't. Apparently they were having and ex-wife discount special. I really had no intention on spending money in their store, but the gesture just seemed so thoughtful and I had been searching for an new rug for my living room. At 50% off the price was more than fair so I said yes and walked out of the shop with it.
I felt pretty happy over all about the whole situation and Chris and I ran around for the rest of the day doing silly things like playing pinball at the Musee Mecanique and driving down Lombard Street. I finally headed home around 5 and put down my new carpet. I have to say, it really tied the room together.
Later in the evening my friend Caitlen came over for a hang out and watch TV, girlfriend sesh. We had a lot to catch up on. Throughout my already intense day, to compound things, I was having a weird text exchange with a guy that I have recently gone on a few dates with. I started to recount the story of our brief interaction and just started to unjustifiably cry. It was just one of those really deep, sad sobs and I realized how affected I was by the days earlier events. I admittedly have been much slower to move on from all of this divorce stuff then I should. It still sneaks up on me at unexpected moments and causes me to sometimes be overly cautious with new people. I sat and stared at my new carpet, a carpet that Mason and I probably would have fought over when we first moved in together. Our décor tastes differed so much at the time. I would have thrown a fit over an Indian rug in our home. Yet here I was nearly 10 years later from when we first met, placing an Indian rug in my living room; the living room that was once ours and a rug that was provided by him and his new wife. I guess it is time to get on with it.