We reverted to polite, friendly exchanges again when I moved back to Los Angeles indefinitely at 30. I sent him an email telling him I was in town, adding, “Unless fate has us crossing paths by accident, meeting up in person isn’t going to be feasible right now.”
“I’m still one of your biggest fans,” he wrote, “and I hope you are happy as well.”
I couldn’t get together with him because I had started dating an old friend from undergraduate school whose résumé paralleled mine: a child of Black immigrants, an Ivy League graduate, an exemplar of corporate advancement. I thought I would marry this high-achieving man. I also thought I had finally severed the tie that bound me and Albert.
I thought wrong on both accounts.
Last year, four months after I’d broken things off with that man just months before we were supposed to get married, Albert and I reconnected in person — again — along Manhattan Beach. We were finally in the same place and both single at the same time. And things felt different because they were different.
At 34, I was no longer practicing corporate law, had been betrayed by love and was unemployed. The shock, embarrassment and sadness of having to cancel my wedding and uncouple my life from my ex’s was just beginning to ease. My recent experiences had put my life script through an industrial shredder.
I learned that life had taught Albert similar lessons.
“I don’t have a family,” he said flippantly when I asked how they were doing.
He told me he was focused on expanding his moving company and being a good father. He’d had another daughter with the mother of his second child, and although they had tried to make a life together as a couple, they’d broken up and decided it was best to co-parent. We were both healing from relationship traumas and done living lives of pretense.