“Starting over is the hardest part. Counting up all the days and weeks and sometimes even months that you invested in him. Realizing that now you will have to reintroduce yourself to someone new. You will have to re-explain your life story and what you do for a living. You will have to go through those first few awkward dates before you’re comfortable enough to actually hold hands and lean on his shoulder. Those dates where you sit across the table from each other, poised and proper, trying to showcase your best character traits after taking an hour or two to make yourself look your absolute prettiest. You will have to calculate when the time is right to begin addressing basic ‘relationship’ things… like discussing if you two are going to be exclusive and monogamous with a title, and when you should introduce him to your friends. A necessary amount of time will have to pass for you to be comfortable enough to let him see you without makeup, and let him see you totally naked with all the lights on. You’ll have to wait to get comfortable telling him you’d rather stay in and be antisocial with him on a Friday night, cuddling with Netflix, rather than going out to a bar or an event. All of these hurdles you’ve already crossed with your previous significant other have now been wiped away as if they never happened. And you have to start over with someone brand new because the guy you wanted let you down. Again. Like they always seem to do. And yes: The whole process is exhausting.”
I close the book in my lap and take a deep breath. My mother purchased me a self-help book called “Block His Number & Be Free” after learning about my fiancé calling off our wedding. The author, Kimberly Bowman, has a bunch of other self-help books published for things like weight loss and addictions, etc.
I told my mom I didn’t need a book to help me get over Stanley.
I needed a miracle.
So far there’s nothing but obvious negativities being pointed out in this self-help book and it’s not making me feel “helped” in any way.
We’d just finished booking a pianist and agreeing on a floral arrangement when Stanley ran into the bathroom of our quaint little apartment and threw up in the toilet.
I followed him and gently touched his back. I asked him, “Are you alright?”
He shook his head no and looked me in my eyes and that’s when I knew… it was over.
When we were saying goodbye to each other at the train station he told me, “I’m sorry Chloe... but we’re only 23. We barely just graduated from college! I’m just not ready and I’m sorry.”
I watched him board a train back to his hometown and I started thumbing through newspaper listings and online sites to find a new place to live since I couldn’t afford the rent on our apartment by myself. I found a three-bedroom house with a single room for rent available. The other two rooms were occupied by two girls. It was in my price range and I moved in immediately.
Madeline is one of my roommates. Bouncy and energetic… enrolled in culinary school with plans to own an exquisite bistro someday. Alexa is the other. She’s an artist and she works at an art museum with hopes to become a well-renowned painter someday. I wish my aspirations were as great as theirs but I’m a boring accountant at a mediocre company who graduated with a math degree. Maybe that’s why Stanley didn’t want to stick around… he realized how boring I am.
Alexa knocks on my door.
“What’s up?” I ask.
“Do you want to go to the bar tonight with Madeline and me? We’re celebrating because I finally finished the painting I’ve been working on for ages.”
“Sure. Sounds like fun.”
I pick through my closet to try and find something to wear. I find my little red dress and slip it on. Other girls wear little black dresses but I prefer red. It makes me stand out the most.
Madeline, Alexa, and I take seats by the bar and order our first round of drinks.
The first set of guys who try to talk to us are lame. The second group is already completely wasted. The third group of guys seem to be okay. I walk off to a quieter area to talk to Shane… 6 foot 2 inches, brown eyes, and exceptionally nice shoes. Alexa and Madeline are both already dating people so they don’t really pay attention to the guys who try to talk to them.
“You do realize you’re the sexiest girl here tonight,” he whispers in my ear.
“I’m sure you use that line on every girl.”
“Yet I’m here talking to you and I haven’t noticed anyone else.”
“Alright then,” I say ignoring his lame pick up line attempts, “What do you do for a living, Shane?”
“If I tell you all the details of my life, where would the mystery be?”
“That’s what drug dealers and pimps say when they don’t want to disclose their profession.”
“I’m in real estate if you really need to know.”
“And how’s that going for you?”
“It’s not the end game, you know? I want to be a CEO someday.”
“Interesting,” I respond, sipping my drink.
“What are you doing here on a Tuesday night?” he asks me.
“Celebrating my friend’s art piece.”
“You girls are a bunch of artists?”
“Not me… I wish.”
“I bet there’s other stuff you’re good at.”
“Yeah. Of course. Stuff like this.”
He leans over and kisses me.
I’m typically not the kind of girl who kisses strangers in bars but I kiss him back anyway.
The feeling of his hands on my back and his mouth feverishly combining with mine is something I haven’t felt since Stanley. He presses me back against a wall and I almost spill the drink in my hand. I’ve never been kissed so passionately and I feel a spark of excitement knowing how public we are. Stanley barely even kissed my cheek in public.
“Let’s get out of here,” Shane says, pulling my arm.
He unlocks his phone to order an uber once were outside.
“Your place?” he asks.
“Why not yours?”
“My place is kind of far. I’m sure yours is much closer.”
The uber drops us off outside my place and we head inside.
“Do you have a condom?” he asks as we begin undressing on my bed.
I pull a couple of condoms out from my bedside table.
Afterward, we lay there watching Netflix on a low volume level.
“So... you usually like hooking up on the first night?” he asks, jokingly.
I sigh and shake my head, “Not at all. I just got out of a long term relationship… I was engaged actually. I haven’t been with anyone since he broke up with me and I kind of just let loose tonight.”
“Why would anyone break up with you?”
“You are welcome to ask my ex-fiancé.”
“He sounds like an idiot. You’re sweet and easy to talk to. And you’ve got perfect tits.”
I laugh and snuggle up against him closer.
I know I moved too quickly tonight but sleeping beside a big, warm body again is exactly what I’ve been missing since Stanley ended things. I comfortably doze off after a couple more minutes of talking.
I wake up groggily and look around. Shane is gone.
I look around to see if he left anything… A note maybe. He left nothing.
I drive to work, trying to push last night out of my head. “Hit it and quit its” suck but I kind of walked right into this one. How could I have expected more from some charismatic sweet-talker who I chose to sleep within less than 2 hours?
I miss waking up next to Stanley. Waking up to him cooking eggs and bacon for me. Waking up to his kisses on my face. Waking up with a sense of trust and security. Not haziness and confusion on why I did what I did last night.