The Ex Next Door
I thought I’d left my college sweetheart behind me, but it wasn’t until he moved in right next-door that my healing truly began.
Illustrations by Sara Drake
Watching the slow creep of the blood moon this past April was one of several recent events I experienced with my ex. We shared that magical moment because, over a decade after our breakup, he moved in next door. Right. Next. Door. In Los Angeles — population: 3.8 million — he and his girlfriend randomly chose the apartment overlooking the sanctuary my husband and I have called home for five years.
On an early fall afternoon in 2012, I’m with my husband Ben and my best friend Katie at the Santa Monica farmer’s market. It’s typical Los Angeles weather — sunny and seventy-two. Katie and I are happily chatting, going straight to the heart of everything with a generous sprinkling of inside jokes. Katie, apropos of nothing, asks if I’ve recently run into my ex, Nate (not his actual name). I answer “No.” Just then, he walks right by us wearing the same high black socks with shorts he often sported back when we were together. (I’m pale-skinned, so black socks on fles…