If An Ex Pokes You on Facebook and You Don’t Respond, Did Anything Actually Happen?
The following is an excerpt from my new book Beautiful Uncertainty, in stores now.
Those of you who are regular readers of my blog have introduced to my long-suffering, on-again, off-again ex, Mr. E. And I’m sure you likely have your own long-suffering, on-again, off-again ex, like Carrie’s “Mr. Big” in Sex & the City. This is what happened when mine reappeared in my life again after two years of silence.
Even though I hesitate to give him one more keystroke or one more dot of ink on the pages of my life…it is a story that needs to be told. The past year of my life is a story that needs to be told. It’s one I have stayed uncharacteristically silent on and held close to my heart, in order to give myself time to process and to heal and to fully understand. Then I remembered today that I really never understand things until I write about them. So here goes.
As you may recall, at the end of my book Never Been to Vegas, I hadn’t spoken to Mr. E in six months. That six months stretched into a year, and then almost another year, until…
He came back into my life on a Monday.
Being as that it had been one year, ten months, and 18 days since we had spoken a word to one another, and given his penchant for grand gestures, you’re probably thinking he swept back into my life with great pomp and circumstance…right?
Yeah. No. It was in the form of (drumroll, please)…
A Facebook poke.
Are you kidding me?!?
Let me take a moment to say here and now that I have never understood Facebook pokes. They are weird. They seem antiquated, like something better suited for Myspace. And they’re completely arbitrary and random. What does a “poke” mean, exactly? That you want to talk? Then why not just send me a message? Call me crazy, but I just think there are a lot better ways to communicate than through a Facebook poke.
Then again…this was Mr. E. He wasn’t exactly known for his communication skills.
But I digress. Back to November 18, 2013, when I suddenly found myself Facebook to Facebook with Mr. E.
I was so caught off guard by the poke. Why now? Why after almost two years was this great, epic character from my past choosing to reemerge into my present?
And what was I supposed to do about it? Ignore him? Or, dare I…poke back?
I remember asking my Twitter friends what it all meant. I actually tweeted “If an ex pokes you on Facebook and you don’t respond, did anything actually happen?” Someone responded back jokingly: “That’s a great title for a book!” (It kind of is. Or at least a chapter IN a book.) After much debate, the general consensus seemed to be that Facebook poking was sometimes a way for someone you hadn’t spoken to in awhile to reestablish communication. A safety net, in a manner of speaking. Reaching out and indicating interest in talking without putting much on the line (well, that part sounded familiar). So there it was. This was clearly Mr. E’s way of letting me know he was back on the grid of my life, if I wanted him there.
But did I want him there? That was the real question, all kidding aside. Perhaps my reaction to the poke was less confusion about what a Facebook poke meant and more so about what a Facebook poke from Mr. E meant.
The funny thing is, before the Poke Heard Round the World, he had been on my heart and mind non-stop for almost two weeks. My “Mr. E antenna” must have been picking up on his frequency or something. I knew…I just KNEW…that he was going to pop back up in my life in true Whack-a-Mole fashion. And soon. Like he had a few years prior in the form of a Facebook friend request. (Why did all of the key moments in our relationship seem to begin on Facebook? I don’t even want to attempt to psychoanalyze that one.)
God had told me almost two years prior, on Christmas Day 2011, after the last time I spoke with Mr. E that I was not to contact him anymore. That I was to completely walk away and let him go and do nothing whatsoever except pray for him. That was the only action I felt freed to take on behalf of this giant question mark of a relationship.
So I did. Night after night, for almost two years, I prayed for him. From the darkness of my front steps on cold winter nights. From beneath the shade of my favorite tree at the park on warm spring days. From my table at Starbucks watching the brilliantly hued autumn leaves drift slowly to the ground on crisp fall afternoons. For two years, I cried out to God on Mr. E’s behalf. In the silence, in the quiet, when it seemed absolutely nothing was happening on the surface to move either God OR Mr. E to make any sort of a bold move on behalf of our relationship. I couldn’t see any sign that anything in the heavens or on the earth was being shaken.
Until November 18, 2013. Until the infamous Facebook poke. It was so ridiculous and so hilarious and yet, at the same time, so wildly appropriate that our paths would converge again….on social media. (Hadn’t God made all His really big moves in my life over the past few years via social media?!?)
Taking that into consideration…remembering all the prayers on all the nights over the past two years of silence…remembering the five years of history prior to that…I took a deep breath…
And I poked him back.
The story concludes in my latest book Beautiful Uncertainty, on sale now at any bookstore or anywhere online where books are sold.