Well, it was bound to happen some time. And thanks to one of my girlfriends, it didn’t come as a complete shock. But in a small town, you’re eventually going to run into someone you didn’t want to see.
Last fall, I started dating a local veterinarian. He was tending to the horse I’ve since bought—and we immediately hit it off. We spent a blissful autumn together, and though I initially had my guard up with him, nearing November, we’d settled into what I saw as a trusting and honest relationship. While I certainly recognized flaws in him, I was also attempting to go a little easier on my significant others. (I had high expectations, what can I say?)
We spent almost every evening together; we went to social events together. He even took in my sick dog while I was away, sending me twice-daily updates on her health. And of course, he was my vet.
Mid-January, I had to travel to a horse show, and he had a trip planned to Australia to “tie up a few loose ends,” as he’d lived there for nearly a decade with his former girlfriend. There was talk of linking up with a lady during this Outback visit—a lady who he’d met in the United States and worked in the same local horse circle. Sometimes a slightly jealous type, I’d become confident enough in our shared experiences and respect—as well as feelings and chemistry—that whoever this girl was, I would surely come out on top.
Weeks passed, and I never heard from the lad. Since we lived in a small town, I knew he’d returned from the trip, but I was too caught up in my own family crisis to worry overly much about contacting him. After an uncomfortable amount of time went by, my horse was due for his spring shots. I contacted the vet-boy’s boss, asking for *Eric to call me in regards to vaccinations. Later that evening, Eric’s boss returned my phone call, stating that he himself would come out the following evening.
(*The names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.)
When I contacted Eric directly, he told me, “It’s just better that he does it.”
It was a confusing spring. The loss of my dog, the loss of a boyfriend, an ongoing tragedy in my family—and slowly time crept by. It wasn’t until late June that I got the aforementioned warning from my girlfriend.
Her: “Did you know that Eric’s back in town?”
Me: “I didn’t know he was gone.”
Her: “I just wanted to make sure you knew he’d gone and married that crazy girl. And they’re living here.”
Her: “Yeah, I’m sorry. I didn’t want you to run into them somewhere and not know.”
Fast forward to that exact encounter last week at a deli in town. I was lunching at a sidewalk cafe with another girlfriend when Eric and his new wife approached the establishment, hand in hand.
The girl could not have been ANY more different from me—at least on the outside. I’m a fairly petite individual. My replacement stood a firm 6’. I have shoulder-length dark hair. She, a mohawk with green tips. I have freckles. She has tattoos—a lot of them.
They passed our table, and he glanced back. I looked up—a millisecond of acknowledgement, and I could swear I saw the beads of sweat break on his brow.
“OMG,” I whisper squealed to my friend, “Eric just walked past us with his new wife.”
His nervousness was obvious, and it undoubtedly increased when his new wife—completely aloof to his silent torment—grabbed the table directly behind me. As a woman, I had a couple of choices in this situation.
1. Stand up, turn around and throw my sandwich at him whilst cursing.
2. Turn around in my seat, make eye contact with him and issue a hard stare.
3. Upon leaving, act surprised to see him there and politely say hello—just to see him squirm.
Or, 4., which I chose—don’t say a word to him and saunter away looking as attractive as possible, knowing that despite a little bit of heartache, I was the winner of that showdown.
Oh yes, and if you’re wondering, I have found another [veterinarian for my horse], and he’s even better that my last!
In her “The Life And Times Of A Single Equestrienne” blog, Devon explores the ups and downs of dating life as a horse-loving individual and writes about the often-humorous situations she faces.