For some strange reason, I was inspired to Google a very old boyfriend tonight. I don’t know why. I haven’t thought of this man in years, and it took me a couple of minutes to remember a) his given name and b) his surname. Before you say, “Oh, she’s sublimating, why wouldn’t she remember it if it weren’t important?”, I should say, I remember everything. I can tell you about lunches I had twenty years ago and more. Not because they were emotionally relevant, because they were good. Clothes that were cute, people who were interesting, books that I liked or almost read, random moments, etc. I’m not quite a savant (there are things that blur) but I’m almost like that detective on TV.
So when thinking about it hard, I can pull up enough random details to Google the guy, and….
There he is. Older, since I’l be 47 this year and he was almost exactly seven years older than me (can’t remember the exact date because I’m not that good, but I’m pretty sure we were both October babies, and just under the wire for the school year, since he was also seven years ahead of me in school, where the norm was more like five or six), but very recognizably himself. Nice looking Link’d in photo, very professional, identifying him as being in marketing, which isn’t weird, since he was an ad guy when I knew him. The weird thing is…
Not that he appears to be single, because a lot of guys that age are, and while I could see him marrying, I could also see that not working out for him. Not the image he’s projecting, which is professional but street, because he was trying to carry that off at least a decade before anyone else was. It’s um, that he’s Canadian. Apparently he’s based in Montreal. I didn’t care enough to delve into his profile to see if he’s a citizen (or married to one with four children and a spouse that he’s coy about because while he might be too principled to do anything about it if he’s in a committed relationship, he’s definitely not too principled to project like a player on the internet).
I am shocked, though. I thought he was married to the City of New York. Born and bred in the borough of Manhattan in a way few people were at the end of the twentieth century, and probably fewer in the twenty-first. It was a major commonality for us, even though my parents and myself had hopped back and forth across the Hudson in the seventies and eighties.
He was in his late twenties when we almost got married, and I’m fairly sure he had only ever been in two states (New York and New Jersey). It is a mark of how provincial some New Yorkers can be that some of his childhood friends regarded sojourns to Albany and Schenectady and Hackensack as evidence that he was cosmopolitan. One man, a functioning adult, far from stupid, described a baffling trip to Philadelphia to me.
Typically for a certain kind of New Yorker, the idea of Europe was far more comfortable than Pennsylvania. Or God forbid, Iowa. But still, Canada?
And Montreal? Does he speak French? I’m assuming it’s better than mine. I can flounder amusingly, and produce enough to get food, cab fares, ferry tickets, and whatever else I might immediately require (squelching the thought that the person who thinks I’m an English-speaking Canadian who is forced to be bilingual thinks that this is funny and is not revealing that their English is better than my French). I’m still shocked. I would have assumed L.A. long before Canada.
Does this mean that when we watched episodes of “Urban Angel” he had a sneaking desire to move to Canada? Or is it just one of those funny coincidences life sends?
What really freaks me out is…I like Montreal. I was there three years ago. When I was wandering around the old city with my family, was I a couple of streets away from running into him? Or feeding my voracious teenager on Rue St. Catherines at 10 pm? Or was he entertaining clients in the lobby of La Reine Elizabeth while I am trying to explain to said voracious teenager that we are just not spending nineteen dollars CDN on breakfast, no matter how good the sign makes it look?
It really isn’t a biggie, but it’s strange. The relationship was tumultuous, and it ended badly, both first and onlies for me. I am very glad I did not marry that man, but there are regrets.