The Ex-Files

Bumping into an ex-boyfriend you haven’t seen for 10 years is never fun. But when you leap out of bed, stumble to the gym with scarecrow hair, a sunburnt nose, completely sans make-up, and come face to face with them at 8am on a Saturday morning, it’s about as bad as it can get.

I always imagine the ideal ‘ex encounter’ might involve some sort of glamorous rooftop bar. Me – immaculately turned out, clinking glasses of Veuve and laughing animatedly with a hunky Gosling-alike (sorry husband). Him – Dejected and haggard, rueing the day he let his one chance of true love slip through his fingers…

My encounter yesterday couldn’t have been further from this. Bleary-eyed and channelling the just-dragged-through-a-hedgerow look, I was wearily waiting at the reception desk to resolve a problem with my faulty gym pass, when he came strolling through the door. It’s not that there’s any animosity there – it’s just, like with all exes, in my mind he had quietly disappeared and died some time ago.

Given that I was staring gormlessly at him for a good few seconds as he advanced towards me, I could have done the ‘mature’ thing: smiled in faux delight and indulged in some completely pointless pleasantries, trying furiously to ignore the fact that I looked like a porridge-faced bag lady, with a nose like Rudolph.

But that would have been far too sensible.

So instead, I hastily swivelled around and fixed my eyes somewhere on the wall behind the receptionist, as she finished her agonisingly-slow phone conversation. There we both were, the ex and I, shoulder to shoulder, listening to the wittering receptionist and studiously ignoring each other. His gym pass, it transpired, had stopped working too. What are the chances?

I spent the rest of the gym session skulking around, desperate not to bump into him, before scurrying back to my car and resolving never to go to the gym on a Saturday morning again.

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