He Has to Behave
Sometimes I think that Sonny forgets that he’s my ex. As in past tense. Done and over. Finished and moved on. In the past. And by ex I mean ex-boyfriend, not ex-husband. If it had been legal for us to do so, would I have ever married him and made that particular legal commitment? Taken that big step and harnessed myself to him heart and soul, in for the long run, the whole for better and for worse thing?
God help me, I think I would have.
Luckily, I saw the for worse thing happen before my very eyes, even as the for better thing shrank into a reality so infinitely tiny it would have taken the largest emotional microscope in the world, with a magnification capacity that even I did not possess, to find it. It shriveled up and died and submersed itself somewhere deep inside my chest, within this over-abused, under-appreciated muscle known as my heart. Unfortunately, it’s still there, ‘cause I can feel it and it hurts a helluva lot.
So let me get back to my point. Sonny is undoubtedly my ex. If I don’t make that clear, then nothing else I say will ever make any sense, and for a writer, that would be the supreme tragedy indeed.
Well, other than the whole broken heart thing. But I think I just covered that.
Who am I? Timothy Austin Mansfield, but don’t be thrown off by that whole moniker thing. Just call me Tim. My mother, whom I love dearly, and whom I wouldn’t trade for the world , although at times I’d consider renting her out—just kidding, Ma!—has more variations on my name than I can count, but I let her get away with it, just because. Father Michael is allowed to call me Timothy, and he does. But honestly, I prefer Tim.
Sonny, during our baker’s dozen of years together, acquired the unfortunate habit of calling me Tim-tim. When I was flush in the throes of our heated love, I ground my teeth and bore it, but deep inside I truly hated it. Now that we’re done, I don’t allow it. I’m a grown man, I think I should have a say in what people call me. Sonny never seems to get that particular lesson through his thick head. At least that’s what I have to assume, ‘cause I tell him that constantly.
I know, you’re thinking he’s your ex, as you’ve made painfully clear, why do you talk to him so much? Or at all? Not like we have children together, right? Of course not. Neither one of us is physically equipped for that. We did have a dog, a beautiful dog. He was a Doberman Pinscher, a pure bred, complete with papers. The gentlest dog I ever knew. There are so many stereotypes about Dobermans being cruel and vicious creatures. Not true. Jared was sweet and loving and affectionate. He got old, though, as animals and people are wont to do, and I had to make the difficult decision to put him out of his misery.
It was shortly after that that Sonny became my ex.
He moved out of our apartment, and back into his mother’s house. She was overjoyed, believe it or not, to have her little boy home again. Maybe that’s part of his problem. At the age of twenty-eight, Sonny’s hardly a little boy. And trust me when I say he doesn’t look like one either.
Sonny’s real name is Mario, but he’s been called Sonny since he was a small bambino, as his mother puts it, so Sonny it is. Sonny stands almost six foot tall in his bare feet, which are surprisingly small for a man, almost dainty. He has chocolate hair that grows thick but not long, and generally looks tousled; blue eyes so dark that sometimes they look purple in the proper light, framed behind silver wire spectacles; a generous nose and wide sweet lips which have been known to give the most amazing head this side of anywhere. Put that with the body of an Adonis, and you have Sonny.
I had Sonny, but not anymore. He seems not to realize that, most of the time. Hence the part where I see him more often than should be considered normal for someone who is my ex. Which is where I began.
Sometimes I think he forgets that he has indeed attained that past participle ex-boyfriend status. Granted it’s only been six months. His mother tells me he just needs time to adjust, please don’t be too hard on her boy. Yes, I still see her too. On a rather regular basis, in fact. Hard not to, when she’s my mother’s best friend. Lucky me. Lia is a nice lady, I love her to death. But she has this deep-seated belief that Sonny and I are going to get back together again, a belief which he seems to share. Along with my mother. And most of our friends.
No one seems to listen to me when I tell them snowballs rolling along the floor of Hell have a better chance of survival than our relationship. Least of all Sonny. I guess that’s why he keeps coming over here, because in some strange deranged naïve corner of his mind, there is still an us, and he isn’t an ex. So he wanders over whenever he wants. Sometimes he calls, sometimes he doesn’t. Today he called.
Sometimes I just get tired of telling him no. Some days I don’t even get that far. Today I didn’t want to waste my breath, so I just said, “Fine. As long as you promise to behave.”
By behave, I mean quit assuming we’re going to have sex. Even if sometimes we do. I know, I know, he’s my ex, right?
Sometimes I just don’t know where to draw that fine line, I think. No wonder the boy’s confused.
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