First, go out to drinks. Every night should be a party. Even a Thursday.
Meet some of your closest friends. One by one they’ll get more tired and more drunk, but you’ll stay weirdly sober. By the end, you’ll see who likes whom, and you’ll see that everybody likes you but nobody loves you. Go home.
Lie in bed and listen to music with your earphones in. You don’t really need earphones, but they add to the necessary solitude. The songs don’t even have to be sad — just distracting enough.
Think back to two weeks ago. Actually, think back to the past summer. How carefree you were. I mean, yeah, you had some responsibility, but summer has this way of making everything way less important.
Think about that boy. You saw him and were confused and then you saw him again, chickened out like you always do, and then you saw him one last time, but it just didn’t happen. But who cared? Who ever cared??
So now…now you can think back to two weeks ago, when you almost chickened out again but finally just let everything go. He didn’t want anything serious and you most certainly didn’t either. You’re leaving soon. He’s younger. He doesn’t know what real life is yet. And yet, is it something you did? Why has he stopped acknowledging your existence? He made what he wanted clear. You knew what you were doing. But you share so many of the same interests, and you can see he’s consciously trying not to be a douchebag, but you’re still hurt. You’re an idiot!
Fly away to California. You have things to take care of there, but make a point to see one of your best friends. You need that validation. That unconditional love. That stability. That nonsense, that fun. Just fun.
You’ve taken care of everything you need to, so why not make time for others. Make time for that California sun, that California kindness.
Get dinner with your friend and talk about life and work and boys. Feel the comfort and the love that you can only get from genuine friends. Part ways and wonder if it’s time for you to finally move back.
Walk quickly so you aren’t late. It’s been three years since you’ve seen him. The guy you’re about to get drinks with. Honestly, seeing him is pretty irrelevant to everything that’s happened, but you’re weirdly really excited/nervous/anxious.
You’re waiting outside of his building. And then he’s right there. Right in front of you. You see him and everything feels better. You forget all that’s happened, all that you think will happen.
All you can think about is how he’s good and bad with eye contact. How you should have dressed a little bit better than your jeans and sweater. How your hair down isn’t working and the ponytail certainly isn’t either. All you can think about is this unexpectedly delicious beer-lemon soda concoction that you’ve both ordered at the biergarten and then the really strong drinks that hit you faster than they hit him at this cocktail bar. And really, all you can think about is how this guy you haven’t seen in three years just took all the weight off your shoulders. How everything that had been hurting you just disappeared like that, as if you hadn’t been hurt at all. That’s a lot to think about.
You assume he’s always that friendly. You assume he has a new girl every weekend. You assume he’ll pair off the moment you leave. You assume this is surface level. You assume it’s a midwest thing.
Your flight is tomorrow, but he tells you to stay one more night. Or did he ask? You’re tipsy, so you don’t trust yourself. But then again, you never trust yourself.
On the train out of the city and on the drive to the airport and all the way up to the gate, you torture yourself. Should you stay or should you go? You decide to let your head win over your heart and make it back to New York with new thoughts.
And now you’re back in bed, with your earphones in, writing this stupid thing, writing it right on your phone. You’re definitely going to get arthritis just in your thumb. And just like that, you think you’ll be able to sleep somewhat peacefully.