Friday, March 16, 2012
That evening, soccer practice was taxing and injurious as usual. I wasted a free kick spectacularly because I figured I knew exactly which direction the goalie would dive; so I thought to smash the ball past him before he got there. Tough luck. Coach didn't like that stunt, so I got subbed out for it and subbed back in again when someone pulled a hamstring. And the ref was high on fiery spirits, the type whose exhaled vapors can corrode metal. He flashed me a red card when I pointed this out. We lost the match.
While I trudged home after practice, sweaty and tired after a hard evening, I saw The Ex from afar, walking towards me. Upon eye contact, a momentary attack of high blood pressure inflamed my insides - which surprised me, that I still felt raw and red towards her. I had a mind to turn around but that would be, to quote my brother, "too manual." Still the option remained open to walk past and openly refuse to acknowledge her presence while glaring right into her eyes.
As it turned out, I couldn't keep a straight face. (I can't act to save my life!) My glaring was out of character and she knew it. So she lured me into laughter, and when I was caught in the thick of it, she suddenly pulled on what my brother calls a "stone face" and abandoned me in mirth alone. So sudden was the transition from smile to scowl on her face that I laughed some more. You see, until that point in my life, I'd sincerely believed that only clowns could do that.
But while I was still laughing, she did to me the very thing I had plotted against her: glaring straight into my eyes and walking away. The soccer equivalent is having your penalty kick saved ad immediately conceding a goal on the counter-attack.
Thus I learned that I hadn't hardened all the soft spots for The Ex as well as I thought I had. That little fact made me miserable, despite knowing that I fully wanted to reject her and never have anything to do with her again. But all it took to upset my inner tranquil was to spot her.