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A rainy day is a good day to talk about old boyfriends. But when there are so many, you want to group them somehow in order to make sense of what’s happened. You have a collection of nicknames for men you ended up not loving but who left an impression on you anyway: Pigeon Man, Spanking Beanie Baby Boy, The Giggling Immigrant, Dane the Great. But those were just the freaks.
When you think about it another way, you could come up with the category of “Boyfriends Who Have Met My Work”, the phrase “my work” (capitalized or not) being synonymous with the phrases “my colleagues” and “my work community”, a hybrid of sorts.
You could also go in the opposite direction and create a category called “When My Work Has Met My Boyfriends”, but that would be an utterly unendurable category for such a sensitive creature as you. Thus, you go with the fine-tuned and sterile: “The Three Guys Who Met My Work”.
You look forward to filling in the blanks.
You had a new job that paid well, then a man happened along. You don’t call this guy “ex-husband” because he was never a husband in the first place. You feel kind of ripped off in the marriage department; if you were still Catholic, you could easily get this annulled. But, whatever. Somebody at work one time mentioned just in passing, when he was getting a divorce, that you should “keep all papers for ten years. Don’t throw anything out. Believe me.” He looked so serious and distressed; you must have made a special note of it.
When you got divorced in 2005, you boxed up all your papers. You haven’t looked at them since. They sit on a high shelf in one closet, waiting to be excavated.
It’s difficult to write about when your ex met your work, because you think of him so negatively but you still love your work so much. You regret the times they had to meet him. You shake your head now and wish you could take back that one office Christmas party, and those few times you tried to couple-date within the department. You never valued graduation ceremonies and still make it a habit to not attend them, but this man is still the only quasi-family member who actually came with you to a graduation, even though you really didn't want to go.
It’s surprising how much people wonder about him still. They ask you about him. You have no idea.
Well, you never know when love is gonna come along. You don’t know what it’s going to look like, what color it will be, how much it will weigh, but you know it when you see it. Sometimes love arrives in neat little packages, and sometimes it arrives in a family of boys because the dad is the Irish painter painting your house, and he’s divorced.
That’s how love happens.
You were proud of this man who represented well in all kinds of venues across the board. You had no hesitations bringing him to that one after-work gathering involving food and alcohol. You were glad and proud in a who-knows-kind-of-way when somebody from your work handed him all of the banquet leftovers because probably everybody felt bad that your boyfriend’s children were starving.
There are so few people who have four anymore, let alone all boys.
The spirit of this man still tugs on your heart. He would have done it if you would have done it.
He lives abroad now with his wife.
You didn’t think anybody named kids that anymore, but God is always experimenting with you, isn’t he. Why else would he have sent you to a work conference on one of the Florida Keys in springtime to meet a Ninja German? For the following seven months, you feel like an immigrant, an accident, and a nuisance all at the same time.
The L Word is never said, except for work. You love your work.
Maybe to use one spark to ignite the future, you let your work meet Adolf. He presents remarkably well, all polite and quizzically interested. You’re glad that nobody asks why he’s dressed all in black. You know he only understands 60% of what you say, so you’re wondering if your friends are getting anything more out of this man than what you’ve gotten up to this point.