"So," I began. "What happened with your ex?"
There it was now, on the proverbial table, sitting there. This question that had been burning in the back of my mind for months.
I laid there, watching him search his brain for answers. Silent. I can imagine a million memories flashed before him in that moment. Their time together in New Zealand, or other experiences they'd had together.
Times when he'd been laying in a bed with her, instead of me. When his mom had greeted her with a hug and a smile, instead of me.
He started, "It was an on again off again relationship. We tried to make long distance work while I was away. But it didn't work. Then I moved up North by her to try to work it out, but it still didn't work. Then, she went to New Zealand on a class trip, and I followed her. But.. we just couldn't make it work."
If you're smarter than me, and I imagine you are, you're probably putting together what would end up taking me years to put together. And that is,
Every time he'd been "off again" with her, were the times he was texting or contacting me.
He had just blown his own cover, and I don't think either of us even realized it.
See, remember when he had come back from Brazil and said we'd keep talking but it never happened? It's because he was doing long distance with her.
And that time I was coming to visit him up North and he said he was "seeing someone", it was her.
And the girl he'd now chased after to New Zealand and was "trying to make things work" with, while texting me? You guessed it, same girl.
But we'll circle back to my epic realization later.
"So, who's idea was it? To break up?" I asked.
"It was mutual." he replied.
I should've known then. I've said it before and I'll say it again, hearts don't break even. "Mutual breakups" don't exist. And I've found that people usually only say it's mutual, when they're the ones who wanted to make it work.
But, I took him at his word.
It was mutual. They had both moved on.
And now, it was my turn.
Or so I thought.
After that conversation, I spent the next few weeks in a sort of self-inflicted agony. I could sense deep down that this relationship wasn't at all what I wanted, and I was getting closer and closer to backing out.
I said to him that I didn't want to be with someone who had one foot in the door and one foot out. I needed to know if he was in or out, and I needed to know soon.
The next time we hung out was with his friends from college. They had come into town for a wedding that I had been invited, and then uninvited to. Invited, when it was thought that plus ones were allowed. Uninvited, when we found out otherwise.
I came to his house early to hang out and get ready before we spent time with them.
While I was getting ready, he summoned me over to the couch where he was sitting. I sat on his lap and looked into his eyes as he told me, "I'm ready to have both feet in the door."
I was shocked. Not only was I not expecting that at all. But, in as much as he seemed genuine, I sensed a twinge of forcefulness. As though he felt he needed to have both feet in the door, otherwise he'd end up alone.
And not necessarily because he was truly falling for me.
"You're sure?" I asked.
"FINALLY." I said.
After driving to the airport, we spent the evening with his friends who were...fine. Seriously, just, fine. Out of the three, only one of them was moderately interesting. He happened to be the one who had brought along his girlfriend who, high key, did not like me. Looking back, it's probably because she knew Big's ex and they were all college buddies. And here I was, the random girl he'd met on Tinder who was ruining their friend group.
Or maybe she just didn't like my shoes.
We spent night in San Francisco. We got Mexican food and went to some bars.
I got up the courage to ask one of his friends why on Earth someone would fly all the way to New Zealand if they weren't completely in love with someone. His friend answered earnestly that he assumed Big just used it as an excuse to travel.
But I knew better.
I spent the night with Big in the guest house and the following day was the wedding. I left early as they all got ready, and I assumed Big and I would pick back up later in the week.
And here's where things get murky.
I can't recall how many days after the wedding this was, and honestly, I can't remember exactly how this all happened.
They say you tend to black out traumatic periods of your life.
All I remember is being in my room one day the following week, and texting Big like normal. I was flirting with him, but he wasn't flirting back.
I asked what was wrong.
He proceeded to tell me that his ex called. They'd spoken for the first time since New Zealand. He didn't know where his feelings were anymore. He couldn't continue with me knowing he might still have feelings for her.
This wasn't a gut punch. This was full on Mortal Kombat.
I didn't know what to say. But I could feel my lunch rising up in my stomach.
"I'm gunna be sick." I typed.
There was a phone call afterwards, but I don't remember a single word that was said.
All I knew, was that I'd just been broken up with, over text.
By the person I was just starting a relationship with.
We stopped seeing each other, and I went on pretending I was okay when I wasn't. I didn't want my friends, who all collectively hated him, to know that I was absolutely crushed.
But silently, I tried to send my own Hail Mary passes. I wished him Happy Birthday on his birthday a month later. Only to be met with an.. unenthused response.
I even got back on a dating app and swiped right when I saw he was on it too.
We didn't match.
No. He was over me. That much was incredibly clear.
So I did what any self-respecting millennial girl would do and I blocked him on every social media platform. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. I did not want to see what was happening in his life at all.
Of course, The Universe has ways of pushing us to the edge. Of forcing us to confront our emotions. And there was one platform I had forgotten about: Venmo.
It was as I was sending a payment of my own on Venmo a few months later that I saw, "Big paid Ex-Girlfriend for groceries". Caption: ❤️
And that was it. That was all I needed to have a complete and utter breakdown.
I ran into my mom's room, tears streaming down my face and through heaving sobs said, "What's wrong with me? Why didn't he like me? There has to be something wrong with me."
She pulled me in for a hug, and reminded me that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me. We came into my room, I got under my covers and, still crying, I said, "He chased her all the way to New Zealand. But he could barely text me back."
To which my mom responded, "Felicia, you're worth running after too."
I've never forgotten her words.
That Venmo transaction was what I needed to see in order to fully let my emotions flow, and boy did they flow.
That wasn't the last time I'd cry over Big. Far from it. But now that I knew how I really felt, I could start to heal.
I threw myself into serving others, went on a mission trip, volunteered, and prayed constantly for God to remove thoughts of him from my mind.
I graduated college, moved to LA, and started acting full time. I threw myself into faith, and focused on God and service. I booked a role in the Transformers movie, met new and awesome people, and started to thrive.
Anytime I began slipping into patterns of missing him or sadness, I'd say a quick prayer and quickly change my thoughts.
Soon, I didn't think of him at all.
Something that once felt so heavy and all encompassing was now light and unimportant.
Now, I know what you're thinking. "Then she met Cain, and they're in love, story over!"
No that phone call wouldn't be the last time I heard from Big.
The Universe had other plans.