Edvard Munch. The Scream. c. 1893.
Cringing, Tim whirled forward-facing again and slapped his hands to his face, his go-to “oh-dear” habit. All he’d wanted to do was take a sunset stroll on the cute wooden bridge that was a couple blocks away from his condo—running into his ex and his new boyfriend had not been part of the evening’s plans. What a disaster!
He glanced over his shoulder. How far back were they? Did they notice him? Could he get away without saying hi? Ugh, he wished he looked cuter today. His black robe was just so super comfy after a long day in business casual garb. Not that he wanted Pat to want him or anything—oh no, that ship had long since sailed, and Tim was quite happy with his new catch, Gavin. But still, it would’ve been nice to not look and feel like a slob in front of the person who broke your heart.
It was all just so awkward and embarrassing. What should he do? Perhaps just smile and say hi and make some civilities—just a bunch of nonsense as prove how non-weird it is. But Tim could never ignore elephants in the room, even if they were cleverly disguised beneath a tablecloth or crammed into and bulging out of an armoire. Instead he’d stare at them until he could see nothing else. That’s just who he is.
Besides, why did he have to make chit chat? Who was Pat to him now? Since the breakup, Tim had found closure on his own and truly did wish Pat well, but they were not going to be buddies now. That, Tim had found, had always been the most offending thing to do—to erase all the intensity of the past with meaningless small talk, simply out of “politeness.”
Sure of his decision and with his spine tall and proud, Tim faced forward and walked on, ensuring his gait was even and unconcerned. When he was sure he was far enough in front of them that he couldn’t be seen, though, he booked it like a motherfucker back to his apartment, where Gavin snored, enjoying his post-supper nap.