You’ve been broken up for eight months (or perhaps eight years, if you’re a professional at not letting things go). You know that your heart hurts every time you hear his name, never mind when you actually see him. But the night before you’re both supposed to go back to your shared hometown, the phone number you deleted, but will forever have ingrained in your brain, will pop up.
It’s bound to be just late enough to wonder if he’s drunk, and you’ll wonder if he’s only asking your plans for tomorrow night because he’s bringing a Victoria’s Secret model home and doesn’t want to be plagued by running into you. Still, all the promises you made to yourself about not basing your holiday around looking good in case you run into him, will be thrown out the window. When you respond and counter-ask if he’s going to be out, he’ll tell you he doesn’t know. Never mind that it’s the biggest drinking night of the year, or that you’ve seen him out each year for the past four years, this year he might have better things to do. He’s somehow managed to piss you off in five minutes, and you’ll probably feel like you’re annoying him by simply responding to a conversation that he initiated, but you will not be deterred.
You’ll text all of your old high school buddies, who also happen to be his old high school buddies, to casually see what they’re up to. You’ll get invited to a pregame, where you know he’ll be, but respectfully decline the request because you’re too cool—and too sober—to face him that early.
After a few Fireball shots, you get word that they’re at the bar across the street. You’ll drag your best friend, leave your group without a word, and casually run into them. You’ll talk to all of the mutual friends, but when your eye catches his, you’ll turn and go to the bar for more shots, refusing to speak to him until he speaks to you. This night will likely end with you drunkenly smearing condiments on his face, but if you don’t remember it, it didn’t happen. And he probably deserved it anyway.
You’ll spend all of Thanksgiving convinced you’ve blown it with this person you no longer care about, but your saving grace is that you’re too depressed to eat stuffing. You make plans with your hometown friends for Friday night, as a free, independent woman, who’s secretly hoping to see him again (just to redeem yourself). When he’s not immediately waiting for you inside the local hangout, you’re crushed. You’ll get drunk and scope out your rebound prey. Then, and only then, he’s going to text you and tell you he’s having a house party, and you should come.
When you get to the party, which will be on the opposite side of town, you’re not going to know anyone there, except your best friend, who you convinced to leave your group (again), and his mother, who will greet you as her own. She’s going to force feed you leftovers and pour you wine, and tell you all of the reasons you and her son are meant to be together—and make sure you know that he did most of the cooking (which, naturally, is going to be mouthwatering). He’ll likely be screaming “Wonderwall” atop his mother’s furniture during this conversation, while his elementary school best bud harmonizes with him. “He’s acting like a drunken idiot because you’re here,” his mother will say matter-of-factly. And his friends will then recognize you as the only girlfriend he’s had that he’s given the coveted “cool” label to. And while his friends are filling you in about the crazy girl who moved across the country to be with him, he’ll be outside telling your best friend over cigarettes that he’ll only ever be in love with you.
As the hours tick by, he’s going to ask you to sit on his lap, and you’re going to oblige, like it’s the most normal thing in the world. He’s going to caress you gently and that’s when you’re going to decide to sleep with him. And after eight months (or years) of feelings come out in sweet whispers, you’re going to think you’ve won him back. You’re going to start to believe in him again. And although he’s a drunken idiot, he’s your drunken idiot, and nobody will ever take him away from you again. You’re going to believe that he really, really, loves you. And the rest of the weekend is going to fly by, as you plan all the things you’re going to do and say when he inevitably calls you on Monday and asks you to do something only he would know you’d want to do—like get dollar beers and play old school Nintendo.
You’re going to spend the train ride back home on Sunday re-reading the texts and replaying all of the details with a new found sense of confidence, and—the bane of every girl’s existence—hope. And then, after you’ve decided that you’ll have a beach wedding, where you’ll both jump off the dock into the crystal clear waters of a blissful life together, and that your relationship is going to go back to the way it was, you’ll be left to pick up the pieces. Pieces you’ve probably picked up before.
Every time your phone buzzes, you’re going to wonder if it’s him. And it’s never going to be. You’re going to spend the next month dreading having to go to sleep, because your own mind is a mental prison from which you can’t escape.
If you want to survive the holidays after you’ve slept with your ex-boyfriend, you better pick up those pieces with a smile on your face, and with every amount of dignity you can muster up. Look in the mirror and remind yourself that you and your prowess at blowjobs are worth it. Go get dollar beers with the men who’ve been asking, and play Nintendo with a stranger you meet at a bar. Or if it empowers you to imagine your life as a single woman who changes the world while he settles down with that crazy girl who chased him to that new city, do it. And go after something you’ve always wanted, but were too afraid to try because of the fear of rejection he’s instilled in your head. He rejected you twice. So what? It’s a new year. You get to decide what happens in 2014.