The Seine flowed gently beneath the old bridge as my boyfriend and I stood holding each other while a small French woman took our photograph. I remember the warmth of CT's body next to me on that wintry Paris afternoon. After she snapped the picture, the old woman smiled at me and said, "Si beau."
"She thinks I am beautiful," I thought to myself. Then she continued. She glanced at CT and then looked back at me. "Comment il est beau. Si beau," she repeated.
As we walked away, Nick asked me what the woman told me. "She said you're hot," I replied with an exasperated sigh. So typical. Jealousy gripped at my heart, and, instead of being proud of my man, I lost the joy of that moment.
Why didn't she say what an attractive couple we made instead of telling me how beautiful my man was? My petty jealousy and insecurities overflowed, so I did the only thing I could do. I pushed my lover off into the icy waters below. As I watched him float away with the current, I shouted over the bridge called Pont Neuf, “NOW WHO IS SI BEAU?! HUH??”
Okay, I didn't really push CT into the Seine. Instead, I allowed my insecurities to fester for the rest of the trip, and The City of Lights became, for us, the City of Fights. I acted as if it were CT’s fault that he was beautiful. Even worse, I acted as if I were not beautiful at all. I questioned why he would bother to love someone like me, and I felt insanely jealous when he received admiring glances from strangers.
I've changed so much since those days. I called CT last week just to see how he was doing. It has been over a year since we've spoken. No, I'm not trying to torture myself, I just felt an overwhelming urge to talk to him.
CT told me he bought a house with his partner, who he's been seeing for a year, and I felt a little choked up. When he told me his partner had two kids, I shook my head in disbelief. My ex has the life I wanted to have with him. Only he has it with someone else. He didn't ask many questions about me, which reminded me of why I ended it in the first place. I wanted to talk to him about my recent struggles, but I couldn't find an opening, so we just talked about him. My voice was shakey as we said goodbye.
Maybe I called because I needed a reminder that even the grief of ending a long-term relationship will pass. If I can get through that, I can get through my current situation.
I almost never think about CT anymore. I care about him, but I don't yearn for a connection with him any longer. Is it possible that someday I will feel that kind of peace and acceptance about my recent loss? I can't see it now, but that doesn't mean it won't happen.