By AJ Lllewellyn
I ran into my ex lover the other day. The one that got away. It was a surreal moment, since I hadn't seen -let's call him Jack - for several years. The last time I saw him, he was standing on a rainy downtown Seattle street trying to explain why I'd flown all the way to visit him while he was doing a play...and found another man with him in his apartment. Without getting too melodramatic about it, my opinion on these things is this. If you want to get caught, you bring your 'other man' home. If you don't want to get caught, you certainly do a better job of hiding your complete inability to keep your pecker parked in your pants.I will never forget the sense of relief or the complete desolation as the taxi took me away. On the plus side, I would no longer be dealing with the problems of his wayward nineteen year old daughter (fathered when he was a straight married man) and her three small children that had become his burden and by trickle-down theory, mine.On the negative side, I would no longer have the privilege of spending time with those same three children who had become a big part of my life, especially Jack's three year old grand daughter.I ticked off the positives in my mind as I zoomed back to the airport. I would no longer have to listen to him quoting chunks of dialogue from The King and I, his obsession. He was fond of shrieking "Who is King here?" and "In palace, in palace," whenever we came home. An ex cop, a waiter and an actor, damn, he was good in the cot.Okay, so maybe I went back and forth between the good and the bad. But I never went back except to get my things out of the apartment we shared in Los Angeles. His ex wife tried to talk me out of leaving him."He loves you. He's so much nicer to me now he has you."Yeah, well, except for that perambulating pecker problem which, up until the moment I caught him did not seem to be in the realm of possibility. He seemed such an honorable guy.Well a few days ago I saw him on a street in Malibu and I wished I looked better and wasn't holding an iced green tea frap with extra whip, but life is just a bundle of laughs, right?"You look great," he said and the old feelings just flared between us.After I went cold turkey and lost contact with his entire Fijian-Scottish clan I lost track of his movements. Turned out he'd gone and joined the circus. As a clown. Yup, that made sense. He was back in California and wanted me to come see his show."I don't support circuses that use animals," I told him, hoping he couldn't see my knees knocking together. I was petrified I'd throw myself in his arms. A good portion of my character Kimo from the Phantom Lover series was based on this guy and now in his mid fifites, he still looked incredible."No, not the circus. I've mounted my own production of The King and I. I'm finally playing th King."This, I had to see. Now happily banging his wardrobe guy (I think he was the circus freak once upon a time, but this might be wishful thinking) he started telling me how great life was between them, then he wanted me to run across the road and jump into a hotel room bed at the Malibu Inn.Yeah, right.I took the two tickets to his dinner show and had to drag one of my best friends to go with me. She was not happy that I was back in touch with Jack and wore pointy toed boots (on a hot day) so that "the ass kicking I give that guy when I see him really hurts." If that isn't true love, I don't know what is.We rolled up to a Swedish motel in Granada Hills and were suffled like sheep into a small banquet room, where we ate the worst Mexican food anywhere, ever."I found an acrylic fingernail tip in my salsa," my BFF moaned. "Think I got a lawsuit?"We took our seats for the worst version of The King and I - anywhere, ever - and for the first time, I got to see my ex actually playing the King. And he was horrible. It had never occurred to me that in the years he has obsessed on the character that he might forget his dialogue or that he couldn't actually sing. The costumes looked great except a couple of small children had pins accidentally left in theirs by Jack's circus freak boyfriend and wept on stage when they got poked. Their parents had to come out of the audience and remove them from the rickety stage.Anna, the lovely female lead would have been a revelation except that in the dancing seqence, as soon her back turned, her entire costume started falling apart.Shall we laugh? bom bom bom...We did stick around for the second half. I saw Jack's increasing desperation as even the King of Denial must have realized he was truly awful in his coveted role. I respect and admire anybody who can mount and produce a play. I know what it takes to do that but I found my mind windswept back to times when he and I would argue that he should not buy yet another prop once belonging to Yul Brynner, that we should pay the gas bill. I appreciate a man who can tilt at windmills, but that night as we, his friends and family suffered through the longest play in the history of creation, I felt sublime in the realization that I was the one who got away, not him. for years I'd tortured myself about my own inadequacies. Whatever I had done to cause him to cheat on me, he was never able to explain.I saw it all in a Swedish motel...and we weren't even naked. The man I'd loved was not the guy for me. Simple as that. I got a voicemail message from him yesterday saying, "I'm taking the show on the road. Everybody loved it." I didn't return his call. As always, he wasn't looking for a response, just a receptive audience. I deleted the message with his phone number on it, thankful at last to be the one that got away.