• Rob Castillo

The Ex

God, what am I doing here? Why did I come? I shouldn’t be here. I know this house. I’ve been in every room...well...almost. I know it well enough to find corners so I can avoid people. They’ve closed off the kitchen and the living room, and the sitting room’s been turned into a place for people to mingle indoors. But who the hell would want to? It's such a nice day out. The sitting room opens out to the deck, which then leads down to their giant lawn that’s been transformed for the ceremony and reception. I go outside.

Mrs. Martin greets me. I was trying to avoid awkwardness, and maybe not talk to anyone, but she finds me and treats me like I’m her friend. I mean I kind of am, aren’t I? I knew her for five years. I helped her late husband, Mr. Martin, put up wallpaper in their spare bedroom once. I've helped her a buncha times with little stuff. I’ve washed dishes with her during times she had me over for dinner. Played board games with her, Mr. Martin, and Jenny, Nicole’s younger sister. Hell, it's only been two years since I talked to her. Does she think it’s weird I’m here? She’s not acting like it. She says she’s glad I came. Then she walks away and greets someone else the same way she greeted me. That means I’m one of them, right? I’m practically family.

Ceremony’s starting. The usher asks me what side I’m on and I say I’m on Nicole’s side. I sit in the back row. As far away as possible from the front where she’ll be saying her vows. Oh shit maybe I should have sat in the middle. Being at the back means I’m one of the few faces she’s going to see when she’s walking down. When she walks under that stupid arch, she’s gonna turn to her right and see me. Shit, I need to switch seats! Thank god there’s an empty one. Fuck, that was close. I shouldn’t be here. Why am I here?

Here comes the groom. This is the kind of guy she wants? All smiles and shit. He’s probably rich too. Got everything handed to him. But wait a fucking second. People don’t marry their rebounds. Nicole and I broke up two years ago. That’s a little fast to be fucking getting married. Fuck it; who cares. I was there before him. She loved me first. That means I won. Or does it mean he won? Is love a ‘he who laughs last laughs best’ kind of thing? But fuck that’s a little fast, isn’t it? Two years? Two years! Was this a ‘meant to be’ kind of thing? Was it love at first sight for them? Or was she fucking him while she was with me? That sure as hell makes a lot more sense than love at first sight. I knew she was cheating! And she acted all offended when I called her out on it. Okay...don’t go crazy. She didn’t cheat on you. Or did she? Did she?

Oh fuck there she is. Nicole. She looks beautiful. But she’s supposed to, right? This is her day. She’s supposed to look good. That’s right, buddy; she’s never gonna look this good again. But god, she’s beautiful. It makes me forget the bad stuff: all the stuff after her dad died. Like why did her father's death all of a sudden make her want to have kids or get married? Yeah, she turned into a bitch after that. Why did she have to start looking at me like I wasn’t good enough. Like the clock was ticking on our relationship if I didn’t become the guy she thought I should be—the guy she thought she deserved to be with. Like that fool up there. She knew how to get at me. She knew how to make me angry. Fuck, why did I think about that? I shouldn’t have come here. Why the hell did I come? I really shouldn’t be here.

Dearly beloved blah, blah, blah. I’m gonna leave as soon as this is done. Oh, the groom says something funny, Nicole looks around to see if anyone else thinks it’s funny too. Like he’s just soooo fucking hilarious. It wasn’t that funny. Hell, I’ve told better jokes. She used to laugh at my jokes all the time. I’m funnier than this goof.

They’re starting to wrap up. Oh shit, here it comes. It’s the ‘if anyone has any reason for these two not to be married’ part. I heard that part was pretty serious. That if someone actually did say something, they'd have to call the whole thing off. Maybe I should say something. That would be really funny—the kind of funny that asshole couldn’t pull off. At the very least she’d look at me and be reminded of what we had. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna say something. Now it makes sense why I’m here. She doesn’t want to marry this guy. He’s a rebound. That’s all he is. I’m gonna say something.

Am I standing up? She’s looking at me. Oh fuck everyone's looking at me. Mrs. Martin is confused. Nicole is whispering to Jenny. Jenny looks at me pissed. Nicole is asking who the hell let me in. She’s looking at her mom. Mrs. Martin is apologizing to her daughters. Why are they freaking out? I thought I was welcome here. I’m practically family. I know this house...I know every room...I helped hang wallpaper...I washed dishes...played board games. Oh fuck. The fucking asshole and his idiot groomsmen are coming at me. Get the hell out of my way! Move your fucking legs! Let me outta here, you stupid fucks! God, what am I doing here? Why did I come? I shouldn’t be here.

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