I knew he had gotten over me. I just wish that I had gotten over him. Six months of craziness and bad decisions and I had been paying for it ever since. My life as I knew it was over that very first time when Chaz slept with me, I just didn't know it then. Now, eight months after the divorce, I sit here at my table, on a first date with some guy from work, yet I can only stare at Harold, my ex-husband who sits across the room.
The restaurant was crowded, people laughing, everyone eating and drinking. I've tried to move on with my life, a part of me still held out hope that Harold would forgive me, but so far that doesn't seem to hold true. My friends have urged me to move on with my life, yes the same friends that helped place me in a position where I could cheat on my husband. I've resisted for the most part, but every once in a while I need to remind myself that Harold is moving on with his life so I have to as well.
It took me all of three minutes since when we entered the restaurant to spot him. I thought I recognized his car in the parking lot. By the time we were seated, it was too late to run. Five tables away sat Harold, by himself, just receiving his appetizer. Our eyes met, and my stomach turned. I felt small and wanted to shrink away from his gaze, anticipating an angry scowl of disapproval from him.
He showed no scorn; barely any recognition crossed his face as he went to work on eating his appetizer. This confused me as the emotions within me threatened to boil over. I wondered whether I should go say hi to Harold. I worried about introducing him to my date, whose name I had completely forgotten. Nice, what would Harold think of me: out on a date with a man and I didn't even know his name!
I had lost my appetite, yet my date ordered a large multi-course meal for us. I groaned inwardly with the thought that we would be here for quite sometime. My date started talking about work. I listened, sort of. All the time my eyes watched Harold.
Harold never avoided my gaze, nor did he ignore me. His body held itself the same way as before he had spotted me. There was no shift or change in his position to avoid seeing me, yet he never stole a glance towards me.
How can he do that? I wondered out loud. My eyes shifted towards my date that had heard my muttering. He turned to see what had captured my attention. I felt a need to explain, maybe he would take pity on me and we could leave, like a dog with its tail tucked between their legs.
"So that's the ex, huh?"
I nodded and tried to keep my eyes on my date, but they veered to my right and I was again watching Harold eat some pasta. He used to love my pasta. I'm sure he missed it.
"Seems like he's doing well, I don't think he'll start a scene. Why don't we just ignore him and enjoy ourselves. That'll show him!" My date smiled.
That's just what I needed, to add salt to the wounds I inflicted upon Harold.
"I think we should just go," I said.
My date grabbed my hand. "It's just dinner. I've already ordered. Besides, you've been divorced for what a year now? You can't avoid each other."
He was grasping at straws. I knew he didn't want to cut this date short. His hand felt warm. I hadn't felt someone hold my hand in a while. I had to admit that it felt good.
I tried to fake a smile, I'm sure it came out ugly, and I quickly stopped, but I stayed planted in my chair, ready to face the evening.
I still couldn't remember my date's name. Somehow that didn't bother me. What did bother me was that my presence with a date had no affect on Harold. I continued to stare at him, and after the appetizers were taken from our table, my date changed tactics and watched Harold with me.
"My goodness, it's like he never even knew you! He hasn't once met your stare!"
We watched him as we waited for the next course.
"How long were you two married?"
"Five years," I said.
"It ended badly, I take it?"
"And I guess him ignoring you is eating you up..."
"I just can't figure it out. I feel horrible seeing him, but worse is him ignoring me."
My date squeezed my hand in support.
"I've got an idea," he said with a twinkle in his eyes.
"How about we get him to notice you?"
I frowned. "What do you mean?"
He reached across and held my other hand. "I mean, people don't just turn off their feelings like a switch. He's acting, is all, pretending that you don't affect him. He's doing a damn fine job, but maybe he's enjoying seeing you ignore your date and focus on him the entire night. Maybe we should turn the tables, ignore him and give him a show to watch!"
He stood up, leaned over the table and kissed me. I was shocked for a moment and my eyes darted back towards Harold.
"He didn't see," I said.
"Well maybe we should focus on each other for a while and give him a chance to notice!"
He kissed me again and shifted his chair next to me.
Before I knew it, we were making out. My eyes tried to stay focused on Harold. We came up for air when the waiter served our entrees. I adjusted my blouse as it had ridden up somehow and stole a glance over at Harold. He was working on dessert now, yet still he showed no signs of recognition.
"He's good," my date said, and then smiled at me. "You're good as well!"
I half smiled at his remark. I felt a little sad as I thought about the display I had just shown Harold. It felt like I was mocking him and flaunting myself, and for what? So that he would pay some attention to me? So that I could see that he hurt as bad as I did?
My date came in for another kiss, but I shied away.
"This isn't working," I told him.
"Aw, come on. We're just getting started!"
"No," I said angrily. "This isn't what I want."