The X Factor


I pulled out of my driveway this morning, on my way down to pick up my new gadget toy. About a mile down the road, I pulled up to a 4-way light, which was red. Next to me, in the right turn lane – this guy pulls up next to my passenger window on a motorcycle — which I thought was weird because he had a good 150 feet clear, ahead of him, before he hit the intersection.

Because I’m antisocial – I ignored him.

I pull away and turn up the stereo to blast my Metallica CD booming loud. About another mile down the road, I hit another 4-way intersection, which was red. Again, same motorcycle…same guy, pulls up next to me and stops at my passenger window….this time, however – he shouts out my name. “LISA!”

It was Joe. My ex-boyfriend. I haven’t seen him a quite a few years. We broke up in 1996 after a relationship that lasted close to 3 years. I have to say, he was looking mighty fine there sitting on his bike in faded Levi’s. We shared a few words through the window until the light turned green – – then he says, “Pull over there in the parking lot – let’s catch up a bit.”

Against my better judgment, I did. It was nice to see him – – and, admittedly, I was curious as to what he’s up to and, of course, to confirm my suspicions that he’s completely miserable without me, right? Right.

So we pull over and are standing in the abandoned school parking lot, chit chatting about life in general. He asked a lot of questions about the kids ( when he and I were together…my kids were pre-schoolers), questions about my folks, about work, about some mutual friends.

He then says, “I heard that you’re dating someone now and are living here in town with him?” I confirm.

“Married yet?” he asks? Nope, I say – – not married…just suffering from the social plague that is also known as single-hood.

“Smart girl,” he replies. We talk a little about his wife – – how they met, when and where they got married. He tells me he has a 4 year old son, they bought a house in the country and he opened his shop here in town, last summer. (He owns an auto body repair shop). When telling me about his wife, he says, “She’s a nice girl and a hard worker…after you and I broke up, I did the dating thing for awhile…but got sick of it. She was dating one of my friends for quite a few years…when they broke up, we got together and decided to get married. I’m bored as hell, but it’s alright – – and having Alex (their son) kind of sealed the deal for me.”


We talk a bit about Chris and our relationship – – and we get onto the topic of Chris’s ’69 Mustang Convertible that he wants the engine rebuilt and a paint job completed on. Joe offered to do the body work. I was happy to hear that – – because, past difference aside – – when it comes to a complete paint job on a car…Joe is the one I’d want to do it – – his work is always flawless because he’s a perfectionist when it comes to his work….almost to the point of obsession.

Then, he had to go an ruin it. Here I had Chris all set up with someone to do an excellent job on his Mustang – – I’m sitting there thinking I couldn’t wait to tell Chris about it. Then Joe says, “It’s ok – it’s just that my wife can’t know that I’m doing it for you….she’s not a jealous person, at all – – and probably the one and only person in the world who would cause her to turn green is you.”

Of course, I get that all the time, ya know? (/sarcasm)

I said, “Fine with me – – whatever you’ve got going on is your business…I’m just thrilled that you’ll do Chris’s car.”

He says, “Chris isn’t the jealous type?”

I say, “He has absolutely no reason to be.”

Joe says, “Well, maybe if he knew about our past…..our…intimate….past…..he’d have a second guess, or two, hey? (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) Remember, when we broke up – – how the sex was the hardest part for us to give up on? That night, we made that deal….do you remember? That, no matter what we had going on in life….the charge between us was so hot – – we made that deal, remember? Sex, no matter what?”

Ok. So I was young. I may have made that deal once, in the heat of the moment when we were breaking up and there were many things that were hard to let go of, or it seemed so, at the time. And I was young, did I mention that? And the sex was pretty damn hot – – if Joe and I didn’t get anything right in our relationship, we did get that part down perfectly….from what I remember of it. He remembers more, I’m sure of it – – he kept the videos and pictures 😉

Anyways – I gave him a long, hard and thoughtful look. By the look on his face, I could tell that he was thinking that I was contemplating ‘the deal’ – – he had this smug, amused, flirty look in his eyes.

When Joe and I broke up – he pursued me for quite a few months after. He showed up at my work one day – – dressed to the nines in a suit, carrying two dozen roses and took me out to lunch in a black stretch limo. The limo took us to a lake where he had prepared a very nice and delicious lakeside lunch. There…next to the lake…on the blanket, he proposed and presented me with the most gorgeous diamond ring I’d ever seen. I remember that moment clearly – – the ring was calling my name (diamonds and me get along rather well).

I’m remembering that exact moment while still looking at Joe and his smug smile….I’m remembering the limo, the roses, the lake, the ring…his words…..then I remember exactly why I turned him down…….

Finally I said, “You know, Joe – – I’ve made many a mistake in my life, but leaving you wasn’t one of them. You always were selfish – – I suspected it while we were together and you confirmed it when I found out that you cheated on me, repeatedly. I always wondered if I was too hard on you by not giving you a second chance. By not believing you when you said it didn’t mean anything and you were just frightened of how committed you were beginning to feel toward me…..and how you thought about it and decided that it was a meaningless affair that served no other purpose except to allow you to, falsely, hang on to your bachelorhood. Back then, I let you convince me that I was being a bitch…so willing to throw away our relationship over a mistake that you said you’d never make again. Well, today – you confirmed for me, once and for all, that I didn’t make a mistake in leaving you…I wasn’t too hard on you….and you’ve lived up to every single expectation that I ever had for you. You cheated then….and if you’re not cheating now, you’re looking too. Which makes me all the more sure that I did the exactly right thing back then. Thanks for validating that for me, after all these years, Joe.”

Without missing a beat, he says “I didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable, Lisa – – just forget I mentioned it, ok?”

Yea – – you bet I will, bud.


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10 thoughts on “The X Factor”

  1. I have an ex-boyfriend like that. I’d run into him maybe every two years in some store. Well it’s more like he always saw me first and snuck up on me from behind. *sigh*

  2. What is it with ex-bf’s? It’s like they feel the need to ‘reclaim their territory’, even long after it ain’t theirs anymore…and hasn’t been for many years.

    Men slay me sometimes, they really do.

  3. Atta girl, Lisa. It sounds like you made the right choice all those years ago.

    Fooling around with an adulterer is a losing proposition. If you succeed in stealing him away from his wife, now it’s *you* he’ll want to cheat on.

  4. Wow, that is some serious drama. I am glad you didn’t allow him to use you. And Joe, if you read this…go home and be faithful to your wife and child. It is time to grow up.

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