I went to a company holiday party last night.
I went to Happy Hour first, had drinks with friends, and made plans for the holidays, but then I left earlier than normal and found my way to the bowling alley where the event was held. It was hosted by one of the half dozen companies I work for, and, funny enough, the one I’ve worked for the longest.
Driving over, I was a bit nervous. Not as nervous as I could have been, considering I had two drinks before leaving Happy Hour, which relaxed me a bit. But still, I was little nervous.
The company hosting the event is the same company that my Ex works for. On the drive there, I was worried about making it before the party ended, and making sure the guy I was selling a scarf to* would be there. But also needling in the back of my head was whether or not I would see my Ex.
I was arriving late, fully 2.5hrs into a 4hr party. And last time I checked, my Ex didn’t have a car. Maybe he wouldn’t be there. Maybe I would show up, get my $25 from scarf guy, have a free drink or two, and leave. Maybe things would be okay.
Well, they were okay, but not for the reasons I listed above.
It was rainy. And not the fun-light-playful rainy. It was cold-windy-puddle-making rainy; decidedly not fun. I parked my car and sprinted into the bowling alley.
First thing I noticed, when I got inside, was that this was a nice bowling alley. New-ish carpet, mood lighting, and monitors in front of all the lanes as well as at the ends of the alleys. Okay, I thought. Guess they weren’t skimping when they picked this place.
I looked left and glimpsed a “Private Bowling Lanes” sign above a set of French doors. Walking inside, I saw familiar faces. The first that caught my eye was my favorite work friend who I immediately walked towards.
“You’re not wearing pants.”
“This is my first time seeing you not wear pants.”
“Yes, I have a strict no pants policy when I’m not working.”
I was wearing my comfy gray skirt, red tank top, white snap shirt, awesome black & gray stripped socks, my purple flats, and my Santa hat. I gave him a big hug; then we began chatting.
But almost as soon as I struck up a conversation with him, I saw movement in my periphery. It was my Ex. He stepped towards me, leaned in, gave me a hug, and said, “Hi. You look really cute.” I hugged him back and then we parted. He walked away while I stayed with my work friend.
To say that I was shocked would be to both over and under state my mental-ness at that moment. I was surprised that 1) he made a gesture of pleasantries towards me, 2) that it seemed warm and genuine, & 3) that it felt… normal.
It was just so normal.
We didn’t speak again for the rest of the night, which was fine; I can’t say we have anything to talk about. But there was never a cross word, never a leering look, never anything negative to speak of. I hung out with my group of work friends; he hung out with his. I genuinely had a good time.
All my nerves leading up to that moment now seemed silly, and, having had that simple interaction makes me hopeful that things are okay with us. Not perfect, because no breakup is perfect, but okay. And that’s pretty cool, considering how far we’ve come.
So…yay. We made it to normal. It only took three years, but we made it to normal.
*So I’ve sold two scarves this season, and have an order for a third. Super awesome!
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