It’s been about an hour and a half since you ate the cookie that your friend had warned you was pretty strong, so you only ate a quarter of it. But they were right, and 90 minutes later, you’re in a real good spot. It’s a pretty good party. The theme is pajamas, so you’re very comfortable, which is the way you try to live your life. You’re on a couch talking to a friend’s boyfriend when you look around and realize that you are surrounded by happy couples and remember that, less than a month ago, you were a part of one yourself. But you’re not anymore, and it’s ok. You’re getting used to it and you’re going to be fine.
The hostess has been playing music all night long using her phone and a crappy Bluetooth speaker. The soundtrack has been a solid mix of indie rock that fits not only the mood, but your current state of mind. You’re barely paying attention to it when a new song begins that makes your ears inexplicably prick up. As you listen to the familiar intro, a sense of joy washes over you and you smile. You can’t name the song right away — you’re sure you’ll get it once the lyrics start — and even so, it’s making you feel so immaculate inside that you don’t care why. You just feel, for a moment, so much better than you have in weeks and you want to get lost in it and stay forever. But then, you remember.
You remember the countless weekend mornings when, even though neither of you were planning to wake up that early, his daily 7AM alarm would go off. Instead of the usual iPhone sounds, he had programmed a song to wake him each day and that song is currently playing at this party and suddenly you know why you feel so amazing. You think about all of the times your body had woken you up prior to the alarm and you would glance at him, fast asleep, and then check the time and gleefully realize how precious few minutes were left until you’d hear the opening drumbeat and chords.
You’d glance again at him, so happy that he’s yours, and try to doze off for a bit before the music starts. When it did, as always, you’d reach over and tap the screen that was flashing a good morning message to him. As soon as your body came back down to the mattress, he’d be there. Just awake enough to wrap you in the arms that had lost you overnight, and pull you back into his body where it felt like you were made to fit. You had come to love that song so much, but now that warmth it made you feel disappears.
As the song continues, you start breathing in and out and you chant a mantra inside your brain: “I am ok. This is fine. I am ok. This is fine.” You wonder if anyone else notices the glazed over look you’ve surely adopted, but everyone’s as high or higher than you, so you know you’re probably safe. You continue to respond to your friend’s boyfriend, but really have no idea what you’re saying or is being said.
You think about texting him, wondering if he’d find this as tragically amusing as you currently do. You consider texting him because you know he’s the only one who would understand. You are wondering if you should text him just so someone knows what you’re going through. You want to text him because you miss him more than you’ve ever missed anything in your whole goddamned life.
You don’t text him.
Instead you blurt out to your friend’s boyfriend, “THIS IS MY EX’S ALARM.” and he nods, you think, knowingly, but actually have no idea if you’ve made sense as all. You don’t care, though, because you didn’t text him and now the song is over. You feel a sense of calm mixed with pride. You survived and you didn’t break down. You’re thinking so highly of yourself that you don’t notice that the music has stopped playing altogether. You feel relief and don’t consider for a moment that you’re not in the clear when someone says, “Hey, what happened?” and the hostess grabs her phone. She announces, “I got a text, sorry. This YouTube app sucks.” Then fiddles with her phone and the song resumes. “FUCK,” you say, maybe out loud, maybe not. Either way, you’re positive no one notices.
You want to compose an email. Tell him exactly what’s happening right now. How you’re high, but you remain in control and that the song had stopped, but now it is playing again almost as if to torture you and ISN’T THAT SO FUNNY AND TERRIBLE? And you’re trying to figure out what to do next that doesn’t involve running out of the room or screaming at the poor, unsuspecting hostess: “COULD YOU TURN THAT OFF, PLEASE? DON’T YOU KNOW HE BROKE MY HEART?”
You don’t email. You don’t run. You don’t scream.
The song stops and starts one more time. Your brain is exploding, but you don’t move. You refuse to let this five-minute-twelve-second song that seems to have lasted twenty destroy everything you’ve spent the last few weeks working on. You are strong; you will make it through. You have lost your best friend and what you thought was the love of your life; but you still have yourself and that’s all that matters now.
The song stops again and you are unapologetically relieved when, in switching to Spotify, they start with a different song.
You still want to call him. Want to show up at his apartment and beg him to take you back. But you know that you won’t. You know that you are much better than that and you know how much you’ve grown.
That night you will dream of him holding you close once more. You’ll dream of him apologizing and you’ll wake up, fully sober, with the song in your head. You’ll look around your messy room and your empty bed and you’ll breathe in and realize:
You are ok. This is fine.