December 5, 2016 — On returning from my Thanksgiving trip, I find that things in my house are misplaced. Some kitchenware is missing. Some wine is gone from the pantry. And my vibrator is missing a battery — also the switch is broken. I confront my ex-boyfriend, who later admits that he broke it and took the wine. I had asked him to feed the cat while I was in Minnesota. So I guess that involved riffling through my stuff.
I’ve been torn about whether to let him keep his house keys for several months at this point. He’s been in therapy. The weather here is cold and rainy. Despite the vandalism, I’m hopeful that her dad and I can change our negative relationship. After all, we were friends once.
A few days later, I let him in the basement to play with our daughter while I run to the grocery store. When I return, he’s ready to leave. “We made some oven-bake clay sculptures,” he says. “I made you the letter ‘M,’ so turn off the oven when it beeps.” Maybe this situation is getting better, I think. He used to love to make art with the kids (which is how he learned I was dating Mario in the first place). Better? I could not be more wrong.
My daughter watches Paw Patrol and I put away groceries. The oven timer goes off. I switch it off and pull out the cookie sheet. The letter “M” that he made is purple. I turn it over and find it’s not just a letter, it’s a pair of legs, spread eagle, complete with a detailed vagina:
What the living fuck?! I’m upset and weirded-out. I send Mario and Jake the picture. Mario is worried — he won’t really say how worried — but he says I shouldn’t be alone with the ex-boyfriend anymore. Jake is beyond infuriated. One of my lawyer friends says this is “stalker-level behavior on par with Fatal Attraction.” Great. I’m not sure how to respond, as I’ve never had anyone leave a vagina in my oven before — I want to reference Mario so that the ex- knows that I tell Mario everything:
Wow. He’s hostile and rude. Even if he thought he was making a joke or that I would laugh, he doesn’t say that in his message. Jake puts it in context:
I ask for the keys back. Mario wants to change the locks the next time he’s up. Ex-boyfriend says it was just supposed to be “in good fun.” I don’t see what’s fun about a vagina in my oven. After thinking some more, ex- apologizes. “I guess it wasn’t the best idea,” he says. Uh, yeah. Dudes: this won’t win her back.
In other news, Mario’s divorce was approved on my birthday and we got some copies of the judgment. His ex-wife seems happy with her new fiance. Mario is legally single. While I’ve been divorced for years now, I’m only about a year out from the ex-boyfriend (who clearly isn’t over the break-up — see, Exhibit A, the clay vagina in my oven). I worry that Mario’s final divorce might make Mario want to date other people — which would be heartbreaking at this point but I can’t shake my fears.
So, I ask him if he wants to date other people and explain why I’m worried. He says that he’s been separated from his ex-wife for some time, even though the divorce wasn’t formalized. But before we reconnected he went out a bit. “So what,” I say. “There is something about having the divorce really final. It’s an emotional milestone. Besides,” I add,” I don’t want you to feel any regrets.” He looks at me (via Facetime). “I’m in love with you,” he says simply. “I don’t want to date anyone else.”
We decide to meet each other’s parents the next time I’m down visiting, since they both live in Florida. I ask Mario if I can go to church with him on this next trip. He’s a Christian and I’m not. But, his ex-wife and her fiance have been going to the same services with him — this is hard for Mario because it intrudes on his meditative time each week. I think my attendance at services will help him in the weeks where I’m not there.
Besides, it’s my turn to really meet his ex- how bad can it be? As far as I know, she’s never left a vagina in his oven.