(If you missed part I, scroll down and read up from the bottom)
She turned and gave me the same, sheepish smile that I remember oh-so-well from the Our Lady Peace show 3 years ago. The situations are oddly similar, but this time the falling-out preceding the reunion was much more severe.
"Have you talked to Jon, lately?" she asked.
"Not for a week, or so" I replied. "Why?"
She saw Jon, my old roommate, last Thursday while he was working at Trygz, and asked him to say hello to me for her. That was her way of feeling out the situation rather just blindsiding me by asking for my new celly number. She was also afraid that I wouldn't want to talk to her
"Well, do I have any reason that I'd want to talk to you?" I said.
And that's the last I remember being all that snarky to her, as we talked about how we've both been lately.
Shortly after the last time we talked in April of 2003, she got into a relationship with a guy that was controlling and abusive. She wasn't allowed to talk to her friends, let alone me, hence the reason for the complete ignore thing that she did. I wouldn't consider it valid as an excuse in the least, but fucked up relationships do fucked things to seemingly normal people. He wouldn't even let her go out with her friends, apparently, for fear that she'd do something stupid, like cheat on him.
He fucked with her head huge, even going so far as getting to her believe that I was the crazy stalker type because of how I reacted around the time they got together. Admittedly, I was a little over-the-top, but I can't imagine how anyone would react differently when not getting answers to questions they had that should've been easily answerable.
She had been living with him after he moved to California, and the only way that she escaped from the abuse is that her friend, Jenny, the blonde girl with her that night at the Independent, bought a one-way ticket to Cali, pushed her in a car, and drove her back to Minnesota.
When we were driving around Ireland together, I told her flat out "Emily, this isn't you." in regards to a messed up work situation she had gotten herself mixed up in. Saturday, she finally admitted that I was right, and that her actions the last 3 years "were not her". She is not the girl that you'd typically pick out as one that gets stuck with an abusive boyfriend, as she's got much more going for her than just some insecure shmuck ever deserves. It even happens to the best of girls, too, I suppose.
The last three months she's been living in a studio apartment that's only a few blocks from my old place. Recently, she's walked by where I used to live, hoping that my car would be out there, and she could either talk to me or leave a note on my car, because she had so much that she had to talk to me about.
It's probably better that we ran into one another the way we did, because I don't know how well I would've handled her showing up on my doorstep with an apology. At least in a public place, neither of us is willing to do something stupid, or embarrassing.
We closed down the bar with beer, apologies and a little bit of crying, but nothing that both of us couldn't handle. A year ago, I wouldn't have dealt this as well as I did.
As we walked outside, she asked for my number so that we could meet up on Sunday because she still had certain things that she wanted to talk to me about. I agreed, as we'd never came to a definite conclusion about anything we talked about that night. I walked her to the car that she and her friends had all piled into, and that's when she asked me if I wanted to come over that night.
"Thanks, but no thanks. I need sleep, and it's better that I just go home to my own bed."
I slowly walked home, a little numb as to the night's events. As I washed my face and got ready for bed, I was still trying to get myself to believe that every thing at the Independent was a booze-induced hallucination, or that I'd wake up to find that her number wasn't in my phone.
We all knew that my willpower in declining her invitation would only last so long, and I called her shortly after I realized there's no way I'd be able to sleep not knowing what else it was she had to say to me. Was it good? Was it bad? I needed to know.
I packed a little bit of this, and a little bit of that(no whiffle ball bat) in my backpack, walked my bike downstairs and headed off towards my old neighborhood close to 3am. I arrived outside her building a few minutes later and she came down to get me.
There isn't much to say about the rest of the night. We talked a little, but not as much as I might've hoped because Jenny was staying over at her place. When Emily passed out next to me on the futon at 6:30am, I slid my arm out from underneath her, kissed her on the nose, retrieved my bike from the basement bike storage area, and slowly peddaled my way home in a hazy fog, not unlike the one that was clouding my brain.
I only hoped that I'd be able to sleep at least the tiniest bit before meeting up with her on Sunday. Something felt different in the way Emily was acting. Not good, not bad, just different.
[to be continued]