Running into an ex can often leave you counting blessings
I could not believe my eyes. I kept asking myself what had really happened to Sipho?
Two front teeth were missing and he had a phuza face that speaks of someone who drinks beer until the wee hours of the morning... correction, not even beer can ravage a face like that so I suspect he drinks whatever he can find and is what we call thathazonke in the township.
To think that this ravaged face and body before me once belonged to the hottest guy in high school.
I wanted to sit down with him to chat and find out what had happened but we both lamely said our "I'm fine and how are you?" and drifted off.
I could not wait to call my friend who had many battles with Sipho's groupies in high school in her bid to keep them away from her man.
I had not seen him since our varsity days. The last I heard he was studying at Turfloop and cheated so much on our friend we had to do an intervention. We told her that he was one man who was too broken to be fixed.
It turns out my friend had also bumped into her ex a few years ago. She told me that he was so babalas he asked her for R50 to buy beers.
I am not sure if you rejoice when you see your high-and-mighty ex, who used to be the town squire in his youth, looking like a ghost.
With Sipho, we did not feel that high-fives were appropriate as he clearly has a problem. The situation got my friend and I talking about how you feel relieved when you meet an ex and realise that their clay feet are big and visible.
"You actually feel that somehow you were spared a lot of trouble," my friend chipped in.
You see, only the challenges of life test your true character and can mould you into a completely different person than you were in high school and in your 20s. Sipho used to be cushioned by his parents' wealth and status but sadly lost the plot after they died.
Many of us have had that experience on meeting an ex where you suddenly go: "But dear Lawd, what did I ever see in that?"
The break-up may have felt like the world was coming to an end at the time, but meeting a weak-chinned and spineless version of the person who used to be your alpha and omega in your younger years teaches you interesting lessons about life and fate.
I heard the other day that my cousin's former rich boyfriend was arrested for major fraud a few years ago and is serving a lengthy jail sentence. This also made me recall all the time I had spent counselling her to leave a relationship where she was not valued.
There is an idiom in Sepedi that talks to this, "se seng kganang se nthola morwalo", which, loosely translated, means he who doesn't want you is relieving you of untold heartache.
You may be too invested emotionally in someone to believe it but it only takes meeting an ex who has veered onto an unsavoury path to make you appreciate your true blessings.