Dinner for one
I’ve been spending a lot of time alone. The thing about being in a relationship is, for the most part, you don’t have to worry about plans for Friday night. Or Saturday afternoon. Most of my good friends are coupled up, and don’t really do last-minute plans. I’ve been setting up brunches, dinners with friends and other stuff, but there is a lot of time to fill when you’re suddenly single.
This isn’t entirely a bad thing. I’ve never minded being by myself. I like eating dinner, taking walks or going to the movies alone. I swing between feeling good that I can do whatever I want without compromise or argument, and feeling really lonely. I’ve gone a few weekends without talking to anyone but the cashier at Duane Reade.
My mom is trying her best to help, I guess. When I told her she cried.
“Who is going to take care of you?”
I wish she'd come and stay and hug me and make me grilled cheese sandwiches. I want the mom who’d take care of me when I was seven and sick. She’s been projecting a lot of her feelings about her split with my dad on my experience; she keeps telling me that “he should pay for what he did.”
Most of our conversations end with “I don’t know mom, can we please talk about something else?”
My grammy wrote me a seven-page letter about my aunt and uncle who separated years back (wha?) because my uncle had several affairs (Jesus! Can’t unknow that one.), but they had marital counseling and are now “closer than ever.” The weight of everyone’s expectations -- real or imagined -- is smothering me. I feel like I’m disappointing everyone no matter what I do.
I’m sorry I might not give you grandchildren. I’m sorry I couldn’t fight anymore or any harder.
Ex and I had dinner last night. The details of this thing are more complicated than getting married. My lawyer didn’t properly file some paperwork and we have to fill it out and have it notarized again. I’d fire her, but starting over and finding another lawyer sounds like even more trouble. I explained to ex what had happened and he got really upset.
“This is so hard and it keeps dragging out…”
Then he told me he loved me. His therapist told him we should consider couples counseling since we spend so much time together. He's saying everything I wanted him to say two years ago.
“I don’t want you anymore,” I say. I realize it’s true. I still love him but I don’t love what we have become.
Walking home from dinner, I stop into my favorite local bar. Good jukebox and cheap drinks, what more do you want? I’m friends with the bartender, Jason, through mutual friends. He and I start chatting. The bar is pretty empty and he lets me plug my iPhone into the stereo and play DJ. We share a little gossip and then the place picks up a bit. I grab my beer and play a few rounds of Big Buck Hunter, which helps me feel better.
I go back to my seat and start talking to Jason again. “What’s going on with you?”
“I don’t even know where to start…”
He looks surprised and asks what I mean. I fill him in on the basics of my breakup, and he gives me an awkward hug over the bar.
“Don’t worry, you won’t be single long. You’re a real catch.”
I tell him thanks and change the subject to what’s going on with the bar (he’s part owner). He tells me they’re starting to have DJs and singers in and asks for my number so he can text me when they have things going on. I give it to him, settle up and head out.
As I’m walking home, my phone buzzes with a text from ex.
“I miss you every day.”
When I get home I run into my next door neighbor in the hall, and she looks at me sort of funny. I say hi, and she asks if everything is okay with ex and I.
Mortifying. I realize she probably heard me crying this morning. My bedroom is next to their kitchen. I woke up filled with fear and sadness and just let out these big gasping sobs. Howling. I’ve never cried like that before all this, and now I do it all the time.
“No it’s not OK. We’re splitting up.”
She looks embarrassed and backs away. "Good luck."
She'll have to listen to me cry a few more times tonight.