Carrie – Okay Mr. Somebody might not be the story you’re expecting. It definitely wasn’t what I was expecting when I boarded the subway at Finch Station on a Thursday morning at the crack of dawn. I had been staying uptown at my parents’ house, the area where I had done (most of) my growing up. Disoriented from taking the southbound train to work, I got in on one of the cars in the middle. And out of all the ways I changed my normal routine that morning; it was either fate or chance that led me to stand in the same car right across from Mr. Somebody.
So who is Mr. Somebody That I Used To Know? Well, he is the older brother of my ex, aka the only boyfriend I’ve ever had, aka Mr. High-School-Sweetheart Puppy Love. Mr. Somebody was the quiet eldest brother of three, equally as mild-mannered as my ex, but definitely the most difficult to get a reaction out of compared to the rest of the family. Going from playing board games with him once a week to deleting him off Facebook when I found out my ex was sleeping with someone else, it surely was an odd feeling to see him again and I wasn’t sure how the interaction was gonna go.
For those of you in long-term relationships, I’m sure you know what it’s like when people say your partner’s family becomes an extension of yours. I knew his quirks of wrinkling his nose as his poker tell or the fact he started growing grey hairs at 17. However, Mr. Somebody had become a Mr. Nobody in my life. We hadn’t talked in two years and he was pretty much a stranger again.
We did the whole small-talk thing – where is he working, what is he doing, did you watch the playoff game last night? – but that only lasts so little of a 20 minute subway ride. It was only when I asked him about his long-term girlfriend that I felt like I knew him again. He told me that he hadn’t told Mr. Puppy Love or his parents or anyone else yet other than his best friend (whose father was the jeweler), but he had actually just bought her a ring. He even showed me a photo of it.
Now it makes sense as a next step, a natural progression in their relationship. He had been with his girlfriend for a year before Mr. Puppy Love and I started dating in grade 11, seven short years ago. I had hung out with her on various family occasions and she was even more outspoken than me, which makes COMPLETE sense for quiet Mr. Somebody. But there was something in my heart that broke when he told me this, a rawness that I felt all over again.
You see, I love weddings. I love taking in the fashion, admiring the venue, meeting family members on their best behaviour until the liquor starts flowing but most of all, everyone being united in the only thing we all have in common: two people’s love. I’ve been to maybe two weddings my whole life so it’s a novel event that I’ve yet to tire of. But hearing of how Mr. Somebody’s wedding was finally happening made me reminisce. I remember a day when me and Mr. Puppy Love were lying on the couch one summer afternoon after his brother’s graduation, talking about how I’d be his plus-one to the impending wedding between Mr. Somebody and his girlfriend, how we would take advantage of the open bar and sit with his young cousins at the kids’ table.
It’s been almost two years since Mr. Somebody and I last had contact and I felt surprisingly overwhelmed after our interaction. It was almost a wave of nostalgia but not a sensation familiar enough to categorize. What I can put in words is that knowing that these dreams that I had once had with Mr. Puppy Love weren’t coming true, I guess it was just a reminder of how much things had change, how fast life had passed, and how that wasn’t the fate I had set out for me.
Still, it was nice to see him again and I told him that before I exited the subway. He said “I’m sure I’ll see you around soon.” The doors shut and he went onto the next station. I’m not usually big into metaphors in real life but man, it was the most fitting way to say goodbye to Mr. Somebody.