In which the author moves to Denver, Colorado for a dude she is dating and he immediately dumps her.
7:30pm: My sister’s driving me back to my apartment. She drives a red Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder convertible, and on the way she plays Taylor Swift’s “Reputation” album. Top-down, DGAF girl-power mode I’m waving my hands above my head and grooving in the passenger seat like hey, don’t blame me your love made me crazy if it doesn’t you ain’t doin’ it right. Been three weeks since the break-up and I think I’m gonna be alright. Turn that Tay-Tay up.
8:15pm: I’m at home checking Instagram and having a hit off my pipe to wind down for bed, when a text from my ex invades the screen. The first contact we have had since the breakup. “I really am sorry I couldn’t be who you needed me to be. I care about you and hope I can be a friend to you one day.”
All the breakup advice I’ve read online says to delete and block his number. I deleted it so I can’t contact him, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to block him. The advice also told me to get rid of any possessions that remind me of him. I couldn’t do that either. I settled for stashing the underwear he bought me after his dog chewed the crotch out of my silk panties, and the special rocks I found in a creek bed on a camping trip we took, into the locked storage unit in the basement of the building. I’ll retrieve them when I’m healed, though I don’t anticipate that happening anytime soon. Still…friends! I mean, we could be friends.
“I care about you too and would also like to be friends,” I text.
10:30am: Walking to the coffee shop where I conduct my freelance writing business. Cutting across the park I fantasize about playing frisbee in the grass with my ex. Then I fantasize about lying in the grass next to him. Kissing him.
11am: One block away, directly across the street walking in the other direction, I see him. First time we’ve run into each other since the breakup. I call his name. Obviously, this is a divine meeting set up by the universe, answering his olive branch from last night. He looks. I raise my hand and hold it still in the air, a wave frozen by apprehension.
11:01am: “Ohhaywhatsup” he calls hastily over his shoulder as he walks away. Colder than Denver winter.
11:05am: I sit down in the coffee shop, honestly kinda stunned. Wow. Well, I guess this motherfucker still has control over my emotions. Three weeks of recovery sliced right open. I am not crushed; I am crushed ice. Make me into a sno-cone. Pour candypoison syrup all over me, slurp me up, seriously, who gives a fuck.
11:06am: I mean WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?!
6pm: I walk to the weekly meditation meetup group I’ve been going to in my neighborhood. It’s a pretty straightforward meeting. About 10 of us sit in a circle and watch the sensations in our external and internal worlds come and go. I’ve never gone to the meetup high before, though I often meditate stoned when I’m at home alone. I think weed helps me access emotions that I avoid because they’re too scary to feel. Same goes for meditation, so they’re really a natural pairing. My intuition tells me that it’s ok to respectfully enter this space high tonight. So, it’s settled. Around the corner of the building, I take a couple hits from a joint. Then I go inside.
6:15pm: Halfway through our meditation session and suddenly I’m sobbing. Tears and snot pouring down my face like someone turned the faucet in my sinuses on. Trying to be quiet so I don’t disturb the other meditators, my face scrunched up tight. I lower my head and I’m blasted by a ray of late afternoon sun that’s made its way through the window shades and into our otherwise-darkened room. Its warmth and energy shines a bright, healing love-light on my suffering. I cry more, and now my tears are golden.
11am: Hit snooze. Yesterday was intense, and today I am STFI (Sleeping The Fuck In). I can’t stop thinking about my ex. Why would he send a text message saying he wants to be friends and then less than 24 hours later completely blow me off? Who does that? It’s just so mean. Not that I mind having the moral high ground, but fuck, this hurts. Rejection hurts.
1:30pm: Get coffee and a breakfast burrito from the coffee shop down the street, which I drive to even though it’s only a few blocks away because I have neither food in my house nor energy for walking and potentially running into The Ex. Sit in the parking lot of the coffee shop for 40 minutes drinking my coffee slowly and talking on the phone to my sister.
She says, “I know this phone call is about you, but can I complain about my roommate’s girlfriend leaving her toothbrush on my part of the bathroom sink?!” My sis is an Aries.
“Yes, of course, please.” Frankly I’m relieved for a distraction from my pain.
2:30: At a pizza-by-the-slice restaurant with my sister. I order two slices so I can take one home and eat it for dinner, so that I won’t have to leave the house again until tomorrow. I sneak out my half-drunk 20oz PBR “tall boy” can stashed in the pocket of my rain coat. My ex re-introduced PBR into my life after I spent the past half-dozen years a craft beer snob. God, damn it. Still, I don’t want to waste a chance at a buzz.
3:30pm: We traverse a 3-foot metal fence that divides the parking lots between the pizza restaurant and the health food grocery store next door. My sister needs a carton of orange juice, and I am always—even if I am depressed and heartbroken—ready and willing to slather free samples of rose, lavender, acai-whatever scented “facial toners” and whatnot from the beauty products section of health food stores over my face and body. It’s one of life’s small joys and I won’t let anything get in my way of it. MAYBE I’LL EVEN PUT ON SOME FUCKING LIPSTICK TODAY, WHO CARES? WHO DO I HAVE TO IMPRESS? NOBODY! THAT’S WHO!
3:40pm: My sister buys her OJ and I get some lavender Epsom salts. The guy who works the register reminds me of my ex. Everyone does.
6:15pm: I finish a bit of freelance work and declare today fucking OVER WITH. A 2-hour workday is more than sufficient given my current mental and emotional state. I draw a bath with the lavender Epsom salts and do something I’ve never done before: smoke a J in the bath. Honestly, I feel kinda awesome about myself for thinking of this.
6:30pm: I’m feeling a lot calmer and happier, more at ease. The warm water envelops me, like I’m back in the womb. The weed heightens this effect. I am proud of myself for going easy on myself. “Self-care” doesn’t come easy to me, but I think the fact that I’m letting myself take it easy means maybe I’m starting to love myself a little bit. “Take it easy, but take it.” Woody Guthrie said that.
6:45pm: Almost completely submerged, I feel a presence. Like it’s from my ex. I can feel his energy reaching out to me. He doesn’t want there to be any hard feelings.
I mean, I get it. I do. Maybe he feels guilty for hurting me. Maybe he really does want to be friends. He thought maybe in a month or two we could meet up; I’m sure he wasn’t expecting to see me that day. He was caught off guard. All of that. I get it.
Still, I don’t want to fuck with it. It’s not my problem anymore, the fact that this dude sometimes fucks up and treats me shitty.
“I forgive you,” I say out loud, to the white tile walls around the tub. “I get it. I’ve done shit like this to people before, too, believe me. It’s okay. It’s really ok. But just- for real, leave me alone now. I need to heal.” I shake the water off my hands, quick, firm, flinging drops of water off me. “Whatever you’re feeling is yours. For you to deal with.” We are not friends.
Gina D’Ambrose is a Denver-based public relations expert.