Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Fireworks

I only had to work three days, like most people, the week of 4th of July. I was excited for some time to just relax, in my apartment, without having to think about work. While the summer is usually pretty slow at my job, I had a few projects that were killing me.

Ryan had texted me earlier in the week and we were chatting. He had to work all weekend since his company ran a bunch of events over the holiday weekend. He had Friday night off, though, and asked if I wanted to do something.

"Sounds good to me," I replied with a smiley emoji. I still wasn't sure where things would or even could go with Ryan, but taking it one day at a time seemed fine.

I was also on dating apps. I had met Ryan on one of them and over the years, I had gone out with some nice guys from various ones. With all my friends being in serious relationships or even married, we didn't go "out on the prowl" as much anymore. Plus, I have this working theory that the guys who are really looking to settle down are using the apps, too.

I matched with a nice guy who lived about 20 minutes away from me. He was an accountant for a big firm and had just moved for work. I had my fingers crossed that we'd have a connection. We made plans to get coffee on Monday.

On the 4th of July, I spent the day with my family. We barbecued in the morning before heading out onto a boat to watch some fireworks. I'm not a huge fireworks person, but seeing my nephew enjoy them was great.

I sent a Snapchat as the sun set to a few of my friends and included Ryan. He replied, "Beautiful! Where are you?"

I told him and then asked, "So, what time tomorrow?"

He opened it and didn't answer. What?

It kind of put me in a bad mood for the rest of the boat ride. I played it off as being tired, which was partially true. I don't know what bothered me more: him ignoring me or me being affected by him ignoring me.

By the time I got home, he still hadn't answered me. I sent him a follow up text asking him if we were still even hanging out again.

He responded a few minutes later with, "I don't know. I really don't want to keep going in circles like this with you."

Then why in the world would you ask me to hang out. I mean, I cleaned my apartment, dude! I took a few deep breathes and realized this was what really was best. I responded, "You're probably right. Okay." He never responded to that text message and it still really bothered me, but I was so exhausted, I fell asleep pretty shortly after that.

The next day, I went to the beach with Alyssa and my other friend, Jasmine. Jasmine was that friend who got on everybody's nerves. I try to be a good friend to her, but she's a very negative person. She's very gossipy, spoiled, always complaining, and extremely stubborn. It's hard to communicate with her in a vulnerable, honest way. However, I still told Alyssa that we should invite her because I know she's been going through a hard time after a recent break-up.

I had told Alyssa that I saw Ryan again. She was against it, but when I told her how kind he had been to me that day, she started to turn around. I couldn't wait to tell her he had pulled another boneheaded move, but I wouldn't talk about it in front of Jasmine.

It actually helped take my mind off things to be with my friends. Jasmine complained about work and her mom, before turning things back to her previous relationship and how great her boyfriend was. I think he was really toxic, but I wasn't exactly in a place to give relationship advice.

After the beach, we went and got pancakes at a local diner. After that, I drove back home. I spent the rest of the day watching Netflix and wallowing. I hate to admit it, but I needed that. The next morning, I was being productive, doing my errands and going to the gym, and feeling a lot better.

Maybe I needed this clean cut from Ryan in order to give my all to finding someone who would treat me right. That's what my therapist had told me months ago. Even though everything with Ryan had still hurt, I felt cleansed and ready to go on my date Monday!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Hanging with Ryan

On Sunday, when I got back from the beach house, I went straight to my parent's house for my nephew's birthday party.

It was a really nice day for the party. Perfect weather. Most of my family was in time. My nephew, Linus, spent most of the time in the best of moods. He was jumping around in a bounce house, playing the various games that my mom created for the party, and spending time with the handful of preschool friends that came from the party.

I spent some time catching up with my sister. They are in the process of moving and her mother-in-law is in town.

"She's driving me crazy," she responded while holding my other nephew, who just turned 6 months old. "She says that she's going to come over to help us with the kids and the house, but instead she just sits around and I feel like I have to entertain her. She's not even watching the kids. Linus almost split his head open, because she was supposed to be watching him but instead went outside for a cigarette. She could've told me!"

"Yikes," I replied. I am not envious that she has to deal with that. It's a nice consolation that even though I haven't found 'the one' yet, at least I can bask in the fact that I don't have a nightmare mother-in-law. My sister continued venting because her mother-in-law also keeps asking my sister's husband for more money.

"Meanwhile," she continued. "We have a new mortgage, we need to pay for camp, and we owe Mom money. She bought lottery tickets with his cash the other day!"

Besides catching up with her and some of my other relatives, I spent most of the time playing with Linus. He brings me so much joy.

Around the time we were eating dessert, I took out my phone to text Ryan. Last night, he had said he wanted to hang out, but I doubted he'd follow through. It wouldn't be the first time he changed his mind.

I don't know what it is about Ryan. I can't even really see myself with him in the future. Maybe that's what keeps me around. I work a lot and I have some relationship issues to deal with, so a consistent, non-committal relationship with him actually sounds pretty nice. For whatever reason, though, he doesn't want that, but he's also come back to me time and time again. Sometimes he makes it seem like he wants something more. Sometimes he is more emotionally distant.

"Hey, so you still want to hang out tonight or did you change your mind after the alcohol wore off?" I inserted a tongue face emoji so he knew I was being playful.

He responded pretty quickly. "Lol. Shut up. Yeah, I can come over around 7. Does that work?"

"Sounds good," I replied.

I finished up at my parent's house before returning home to shower and clean. I got a chance to lie down for about 15 minutes before he arrived. I was pretty excited to see him, but I kept reminding myself that this was most likely only going to be a one time thing. "He's not good for you," I told myself over and over. This was going to be one fun night and would hopefully help me bounce back from my annoyance with Matt.

I heard a knock on the door and walked down the starts of my apartment to open the door. My jaw almost hit the ground when I saw him standing there with flowers.

"Aw," I replied as I let him inside. "Those are beautiful."

He kissed me on the cheek and gave me a big hug. "Yeah, my mom trained me well. They're going to bloom really nice."

I wanted to ask why, if his mom trained him so well, this was the first time in 3 years I was getting flowers. But I held my tongue.

As we walked up the stairs, he continued. "Yeah, those are my way of saying sorry for being an asshole."

Again, I didn't respond with what I was thinking, but in my mind, I was questioning if he meant being an asshole yesterday or if he meant that these flowers were supposed to represent an apology for the last three years.

Either way, the flowers were beautiful but I embarrassingly didn't have a vase. That's how infrequently I get given flowers. I found a 32 oz water bottle that I was able to use to hold them. After that, I poured us each a glass of wine while we caught up.

It was weird. We're both so avoidant of confrontation that whenever we see each other, we don't discuss the issue right away. But our conversation is always so easy. We talked about work, our friends, our families, and everything else going on with us.

Eventually, we were sitting on the couch with Parks and Recreation on in the background. I really couldn't wait anymore. I was so physically and sexually drawn to Ryan in a way that I really wasn't with anybody else. I like to tell myself that I am completely able to disconnect my emotions from the physical with Ryan, but I'm just not sure. I do wish I could do that.

So, after what felt like forever, I leaned over to Ryan and kissed him. After that, we were able to fall into our same pattern. I got on top of him. He pulled my dress over my head. I tugged at his shirt as I grinded on his lap. I could feel him getting hard underneath me and I wanted him so bad.

After a little bit of fooling around on the couch, he carried me to the bedroom. Now, there's not other way that I can describe what happened next as anything other than Heaven. Let's just say, I think he still felt like he had something to apologize for. He went down on me with more attention and for longer than he ever has before. It almost made me question if he had ever put any effort in before. I was so happy I invited him over.

Eventually, he put on a condom and climbed on top of me. We had great sex and then cuddled for a while after. We continued to talk, but never addressed the elephant in the room. I know that I went into the evening with no expectations, but after such a wonderful night together, I couldn't resist the urge to start things back up again.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

The Beach House

I had a hard time sleeping the night before the annual trip to the beach house I always take with my friends. On the one hand, I'm always pretty excited for the trip. I've been going for almost ten years and it's always a blast with my closest friends. No matter how distant things get between us during the rest of our hectic lives, we can always regroup and let loose on this trip. There was nothing special about the house; it was a tiny, one-story house with a handful of rooms and a big backyard, but none of that mattered.

I was also nervous to see Matt. Not only had we not spoken since our two hour conversation where he told me he loved me, but the beach house was also a place where we regularly hooked up, even when he had a girlfriend. He had been pretty faithful to his current girlfriend for a while. I could tell he truly loved her and his mother had even told me she saw a difference with this girlfriend. She knew he truly loved her, so I always figured we had reached the end of our turbulent back and forth.

That was until last year, when everyone else went to bed and we were sitting outside on lawn chairs. We both went down on each other in the grass. This year was an anniversary of sorts. You could say our semi-affair had officially hit the one year mark and I have been living with this guilt for a year. His girlfriend never came to the beach house. She didn't like it. That's a whole separate issue that I try not to have an opinion on, even though a lot of my friends think she's stuck up for her avoidance.

I woke up around 7 that morning, still needing to pack a few things and shower. I got to my parent's house to get picked up around 9 and drove in the back of my friend's Honda for about an hour until we reached the house. A bunch of our friends were already there and I greeted everyone with excitement. Matt wasn't there yet and I was relieved to avoid him for a little while longer.

My plan was simple. Avoid Matt as much as possible.

So, when Matt did arrive, I took the first step. I got up to greet everyone else that had come, which were some of my closest guy friends. I gave them big hugs since I was excited to see them. They were the good guys that I knew made my life better and were honestly really good examples of good men in my life. I greeted all of them except Matt. To avoid this, I started to walk inside. I figured he'd get the hint, but he didn't.

"Hey, how are you?" I heard Matt say to me. I went to continue walking and he had the nerve to put his hand out to try and stop me so I'd give him our normal kiss on the cheek greeting.

"I have to go to the bathroom," I said with a smile though I didn't make eye contact with him when I did.

I made my way inside and sat in the small back room with my things. I took a couple deep breathes. That wasn't so bad. I was just so mad at him.

Later on, we all played drinking games. This is another silly tradition that comforts me. I often wonder if we'll play competitive relay drinking games into our 40s. Teams are randomly pulled from a hat, because this is a serious competition. Last year, I was on Matt's team and I had my fingers crossed the same thing wouldn't happen this year. Luckily, I wasn't. At one point, we awkwardly stood next to each other as we waited to begin at the flip cup station. I turned my entire body away from him so there was no temptation of small talk. Once our teams were done competing, we all hugged in good sportsmanship. I hugged the two girls on his team and when he came towards me, I drunkenly turned in a dramatic fashion and sat back down in my chair to observe the next players.

Every time he would come over to a group I was standing or talking with, I'd find a way to maneuver out of it. Sure, this all felt really petty and dramatic, but I had hit my breaking point with him. I also wanted to make it very clear that nothing was going to happen between us anymore, since the last time we had spoken, he hinted at his excitement for this trip since it was usually a time for us to hook up.

I was happy that ignoring him was working so well. I went to bed relatively early that night, after all the drinking had subsided and most people were sitting outside on the lawn smoking cigars. But as a laid in a twin bed that I had to share with a friend (I wasn't kidding when I said the house was tiny), I could hear him laughing. And honestly, it infuriated me. There was a part of me that wanted this explosive confrontation, even if it was somehow covert since we couldn't really let anybody witness it. If anything, I wanted him to at least feel bad about everything. For him to not be having such a grand ol' time. I had to fight every impulse I had not to text him, "go fuck yourself." Instead, I went on all other social media platforms I had and unfriended or unfollowed him. That made me feel a little better, but I still had energy I had to displace somewhere.

I was on Instagram and saw that Ryan, an old on-again, off-again flame of mine posted a story about margaritas. Ryan and I had stopped talking a few months ago when I told him we had to for good. I told him I couldn't take the way he treated me anymore and we really had to cut communication. Well, I figured I'd rather make a mistake and message him than message Matt. So, I did.

"Why are you making margaritas?" I messaged.

"Why not? :)" He wrote back. I didn't respond, so a few minutes later he wrote, "How are you?"

"Okay lol" I responded.

"Why the lol?"

"I don't know. How are you?"

"Good, but these margaritas don't taste very good."

"Can't believe you didn't invite me for margaritas."

"I didn't think you wanted to see me."

"It's not that I didn't want to see you."

"I know, I suck." I didn't respond right away again, so a few minutes later I got a follow up message. "But I miss you."

For once, Ryan was actually opening up to me. Clearly, I have a problem ending up with men who can't express their feelings or have healthy relationships. But it became clear through his messages that the liquid courage paired with him finally having some sort of fear of losing me gave him some perspective.

"I miss you, too," I wrote back. "But you didn't want to be with me."

He started writing lines and lines about wishing things had been different between us, how he knew it was all his fault, and that he wished I would just call him an asshole. "Make me feel bad, I deserve it."

"I'm not going to do that, Ryan."

"I know. Because you're amazing. That's why it's so hard to stop seeing you. Your smart, sexy, and really funny."

I hate to say it, but stroking my ego was all it took. "You should come over tomorrow."

I went to sleep shortly after that. The next morning, I had no regrets. Sure, messaging Ryan wasn't great, but most years I wake up with guilt over Matt and at least I could hold my head up high knowing I didn't give in to any of that.

What I did wake up to, though, was a completely trashed house. When we were younger, the mess made sense. But at this point, in our late twenties, did these grown men not know how to properly dispose of their beer bottles and snacks?

As most of the attendees started to clean up outside, I decided to take on a particularly daunting task: the dishes. As I neared the end, I saw several of the guys making their rounds of good-byes, including Matt. As several of them came over, I quickly dried my hands and hugged them good-bye. Luckily, they were properly dispersed so when Matt came over to me, he was alone.

I thought he would have taken the hint by this point, but he clearly hadn't. "Hey," he began speaking to my back. "I'm heading out." I could feel him lightly tapping his elbow against my back. I didn't look up from the dishes at all, even though I could feel my anger.

"Okay," I yelled. "See you later!"

I could feel him hover for a few seconds, still with his body close to mine. Finally, he replied, "See you," and walked away.

It was a strange beach house weekend, but I was kind of weirdly proud of myself. I didn't know when I'd see Matt again, but I figured I had bought myself a few weeks at the very least. Now, the question remained, would I actually follow through and see Ryan? I wasn't sure if he'd even still be up for hanging out, but I had to admit, I wanted to see him.

What do you guys think?

Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Problem with Rom Coms

I finished the movie and smiled. It was the second romantic comedy I had watched in two days, but it still made me feel good. Somewhat. I had cried at the cute, sentimental ending of the first one, even though it was totally predictable and while I enjoyed this one, too, an annoying thought came to my mind.

Most movies of the same theme follow an archetype. For romantic comedies, it's boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. As I finished the movie, I realized that it's always the man who does something boneheaded. And the girl is supposed to be so thrilled that he came to his senses and stopped being a bonehead. Why isn't it ever the girl who messes up? Are we not supposed to mess up? But what annoyed me even more is that men are always allowed to screw up and women are just supposed to be okay with that.

If I wasn't in between therapists right now, my last therapist would probably have something critical to say about my thought process. Why was I being so cynical? Why does this aspect of the movie stand out to me? I started having an internal discussion with the therapist that I wasn't even seeing anymore. "Well, Janice," I thought. "You told me I needed to surround myself with more positive examples of healthy relationships, so I thought watching these movies where a man could love a woman so much and make all these sacrifices to be with her would be good for me. I'm just doing what you wanted me to do."

And even though I had these internal discussions with my therapist often, I do feel like I learned a lot from her. I am open to going back to therapy, but taking a break to see how well I can take my lessons from the ten introductory sessions I received. I started going for a few reasons, but mainly because I found that I had a really distorted perception of relationships. I learned a lot about why I think and behave the way I do, but I also understand that figuring out why wasn't really enough. I had to put in the work to really change.

I wasn't relying solely on watching romantic comedies to fix my brain. I also spent a lot of time with my best friend, Alyssa. We had always spent a lot of time together since she lives about ten minutes from me and she's the one person in the world who I truly feel like I can tell everything to, but now when I hang out with her, I try to recognize how great her marriage is. She has an absolute doll for a husband and they have a beautiful baby together. These kinds of relationships, my therapist pointed out, were really good for me to continue being around.

On the other hand, she told me that I should probably avoid witnessing toxic relationships as much as possible. The main culprit we would discuss was my friend Matt. As much as I hate to admit it, Matt was a big reason I started going to therapy. I wish he didn't have that much of an impact on me, but after approximately eight years of a 'will they, won't they' back and fourth, it was inevitable.

I will keep this brief and potentially give more details as they become necessary to the story, but Matt and I have been friends for over a decade. A few years into our friendship, we became a lot closer and I started to get the idea that he liked me as more than a friend. I wasn't necessarily opposed to this, but I started seeing someone else shortly after, so any possibility was halted. Then, he became a real jerk, and even though the new guy and I eventually broke up, the time for Matt and I to get together had passed.

But somehow, I guess our psychological damage was complementary because we finally kissed about four years later. I stopped it after just a kiss, because... he had a girlfriend. I felt guilty for a long time, but I eventually stopped feeling guilty because I stopped it and I was single.

Over the years, though, I had my emotional ups and downs and since he's always been pretty fucked up, we had more of these situations occur. Different girlfriends, different circumstances, and never any penetration. But regardless, none of this was great and I finally realized that witnessing this infidelity could be the reason I was so scared to commit to anyone.

Anyway, I finally hit my breaking point the other night. During a drunken FaceTime that he continuously bothered me with, he kept trying to talk to me about hooking up while also prying into my love life. I stupidly open up to him, while he shuts down all my questions and says little things about how unhappy he is in his relationship. At some point in the conversation, he told me he loved me. He had never done that before, so it really threw me off. That didn't bother me, though. What bothered me was that the next morning, he completely ignored me. I mean, he didn't even respond to a basic, 'hey.' A few days later, I heard he was looking at houses with his girlfriend. I need this on the record: I do not want to be with Matt. The reason this all frustrated me so much is because he's not even being a decent friend. Friends don't put you in these situations. A few months prior to that, I watched him being super lovey dovey with his girlfriend all night at a wedding and then, while I was still in my Uber home, I get a Snapchat message from him saying, 'you looked so hot tonight' with a bunch of heart eye emojis. My point is, what kind of psychopath was I being friends with?

I blocked him on Snapchat the day after he told me he loved me, but he was in my main group of friends, so I knew there was no avoiding him forever. Plus, I had to try my best to act 'cool' because nobody in our friends group really knows what has gone on for the last several years.

An annual trip with my friends was coming up and I knew I'd see him. I had a plan of action, but had no idea if I'd be able to pull it off. I mean, what would you do?

*I hope you all liked this first post and I'll have another one up soon! But, in the meantime, please tell me what you guys think and what you would do in this situation in the comments!*

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

2019

Hello, there!

Anybody still checking here?

I think I'm going to start posting again! It would be a different story and I'm not sure how regularly I'll be posting, but I have something to say and I would love to share with an enthusiastic audience!

What do y'all say? Comment below 😁.

-- C

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

So Long (Summer): Part Two

I woke up the morning after the wedding feeling pretty good, especially considering how much I drank. I looked around my tiny bedroom in my tiny apartment. I smiled as I looked down. I finally felt like everything, maybe for the first time, was perfect.

I got myself out of bed and threw on some clothes before walking out of my apartment and down the two flights of stairs that separated me from the street. I looked around. It was a pretty warm day, but I knew that these were fleeting. As I walked the two blocks to the good bagel store, I took in all the warmth of the summer.

I picked up half a dozen bagels and an extra large coffee before making the walk back. Manhattan was definitely an adjustment from Santa Monica, but I have to say, it felt a lot more like home. I don’t know if it’s because my family and friends are close by or if it was because I grew up here, but I naturally felt happier here than I did on the West Coast.

---

When I got home from California, I definitely took advantage of freeloading off my parents for a while. I caught up on some Netflix series and spent a lot of time getting dinner with friends. I chalked it up to relaxing, but it was more than that.

I missed Pete. I missed him a lot. I thought moving back home and losing my job were contributing to my mood, but really, it was him. Right before I left and we were hooking up a little here and there, I thought we were just ‘having fun.’ But it wasn’t only about sex. We bonded. We got each other. Once we added the sexual component to our friendship, it clicked. And then, it was ripped away from me.

Over the first couple of weeks, we talked on the phone every few days. I tried not to sound overly eager when we’d talk. He’d tell me about California and discuss his possible plans for moving, but things were still “in the works.” WebMatch had offered him a job, but only in Houston and he didn't want to move that far from his family.

One day, I was at the mall and Pete FaceTimed me. I really didn’t want to answer, because I looked gross, but I did. Pete answered and I immediately noticed that he was in an airport.

“Where you headed, cowboy?” I asked, trying to sound as easy breezy as possible.

“Nowhere,” he replied with a smirk. “You have dinner plans?”

I rolled my eyes. “I have a hot date with a vegetable stir fry. Don’t dodge my question.”

“I didn’t,” Pete replied. “I’m not going anywhere. I just landed. How committed are you to those dinner plans?”

I scrunched my face up in confusion. “Don’t do that,” Pete said. “You’re going to get wrinkles and being in New York, I’m sure you’re already a lot more stressed than you were in laid back Cali.” I laughed. Before I could even respond, he continued. “I guess I’m going to have to learn how to deal with that stress.”

My stomach dropped and the mall began to blur around me. “What?” I asked as I did my best to locate a bench to sit down.

“I’m moving to New York,” he blurted out, as the most discrete smile crept across his face.

---

As soon as I got back to the entrance of my apartment, the skies opened up and it began to downpour. If this had been a few months ago, there’s no doubt in my mind that I would’ve been caught in that rain. But my luck had shifted. Everything was working out for me and I smiled to myself as I realized, this was finally my time.

I walked into my apartment to the smell of eggs and bacon. Upon walking into the kitchen, I saw Pete cooking shirtless.

“There you are, gorgeous,” he greeted me with a kiss on the forehead. “I was wondering where you were.”

“When I left, you were asleep,” I replied as I placed the bagels down and grabbed two mugs from the cabinet. “You looked so peaceful, I didn’t want to wake you.”

“We’re not sleeping the day away, lazy bones,” Pete responded as he turned the bacon. “We have a big day of sitting on the couch ahead.”

I rolled my eyes as I began pouring the coffee into two separate mugs. “Yes, I’m looking forward to it. I have those early meetings tomorrow.”

I had started a job doing market research. I really liked it so far. I was able to take what I liked about my job at WebMatch and combine it with a more secure field. As soon as I got hired, I began looking for apartments and found one a short subway ride away from my office.

Pete had started a new job a few weeks after me. The day he FaceTimed me was the day of his final interview with a consulting firm. When we got dinner that night, he told me he had been really conflicted about whether to move to Colorado or whether to try to move to New York. But, when he started talking to his ex-girlfriend, she actually told him that she had been thinking about moving to New York for a few months. “She said this was the sign she needed. And coincidently, it was a sign for me, too.”


So, Pete’s daughter was in Long island City and Pete visited her all the time. As for us, we were taking it slow. We weren’t living together, but we acted like it. Somehow, I just had a feeling. I felt more connected and secure with Pete, even this early, than I ever really did with anybody else. And Pete made it clear that he had similar feelings. We didn’t play games or force anything. I was truly happy.

---

*Writer's Note* Thank you guys so much for taking this journey with me over the last few years. (I can't believe I wrote this blog on and off for almost four years!) I hope to come back to writing in some form (maybe another blog, whether fiction or real life, or some sort of planned out story) so definitely keep in touch and I'll try to keep posting on Twitter once in a while. For me, I continued writing this blog for so long because I loved all of you guys reading. I'd smile at your comments even if my day was not so great. I hope (fingers crossed) that you feel I gave Caroline a proper send off, but let me know what you think in the comments :)

xo
C -

Thursday, September 14, 2017

So Long (Summer): Part One

As I packed up my apartment, I was reminded about how fate never seemed to be on my side.

I moved to California and lost my job. I finally kissed my best friend and while we were rebuilding our friendship, he met someone else. I slept with my super hot boss, but because of the aforementioned job loss, who knew when I’d see him again.

So, in the beginning of the summer, I hopped on a plane with more luggage than I could comfortably carry, and made my way back to Long Island.

I felt pretty low for a little while. I always had a strong sense of self, but that feeling was always related to my work. Now, I was living off severance and really not doing much of anything.

But sometimes, the universe makes plans for you that you would never be able to predict.


It was the end of August and my ‘summer vacation’ was coming to an end. I had one last fun event before the summer was over; an old friend from college’s wedding.

I had gotten the invitation a few days after I got home from California. Most of my friends were invited and we were all really looking forward to it. Even though we weren’t that close with this particular friend anymore, it was one of the first weddings we were all attending.

Anna, Darlene, Jessica, and I walked into the cocktail party a couple hours after leaving the church. We were a little drunk, since we obviously hung out at a bar while waiting for the reception. I will admit that I was feeling pretty good in my sequin dress. Of course, the first person I saw was Moose.

“Hey, ladies,” Moose greeted us before giving us all a kiss on the cheek. “This is Theresa.”

I looked at the girl standing behind Moose. She was tall, but not nearly as tall as him, with curly black hair and very light skin. She had a really simple black dress on, but with her body, she didn’t need anything extravagant.

“It’s so nice to meet you all,” Theresa greeted us with a huge smile.

“You too,” I said as I shook her head. And you know what? I wasn’t faking it.

In the past, I always had at least a little bit of jealousy for Moose’s girlfriends. Even though I didn’t always want to be with him, feeling like I couldn’t have him wasn’t a fun feeling. I know this is selfish and I don't like that I felt this way, but I’m only human.

But this time was different. We all mingled and walked around cocktail hour, perusing the different stations that were set up on the outside patio of the dining hall.

At one point, when I was shoving an eggroll into my mouth, Moose came up next to me, holding a flute of champagne.

“So,” he began. “What do you think?”

I finished chewing before finally saying, “I like her! How are things going?”

Moose nodded. “They’re good,” he replied after a moment. He looked down at his feet. “You know,” he began again. “I never would’ve had the confidence to make things work with a girl like her if it weren’t for you.”

I smiled. “Don’t give me so much credit.”

“No, I’m serious,” he defensively replied. “ You really, um… Well, you inspired me.”

I gave Moose a skeptical look. “I mean it,” he asserted. “You wouldn’t put up with my bull shit. And I don’t know, that made me realize I was never going to get a quality girl if I didn’t work some shit out.”

I felt a rare, genuine warmth in my chest that’s hard to describe. “I’m really happy for you,” I replied before reaching in for a hug. “So things are getting serious, huh?” I asked as we pulled away.

“Yeah, I think so,” he replied as he turned to find her in the crowd. I could see she was standing and chatting with Jessica. “I figured this was a good place to bring her around for the first time.” Moose paused for a moment. “To be honest, I’ve been waiting to get your approval. It means a lot to me.”

“Really?” I asked. I still couldn’t get over this new Moose. He was so mature and straightforward. It was so refreshing.

“Yeah, why wouldn’t it?”

I looked off into the crowd as I reflected for a moment. “Well, I definitely approve,” I responded. “And I’m glad things are going well.”

“Thanks,” he replied as he downed the rest of his champagne. “You want a drink?”

I smiled. “I’m okay. I’m going to head to the bathroom quick.”

As we separated, I thought about where Moose and I were less than a year ago. Awkward Moose. Insensitive Caroline. Zero Communication.

While logic would argue that it was finally the perfect time for Moose and I to be together, the universe clearly had other plans. The universe’s plan was for Moose to be his best self, and that best self belonged with Theresa. The weird thing is, I didn’t feel this sexual attraction for Moose. I felt so much more connected and intimate with him than I used to, because we were finally able to talk like adults, but the romance wasn’t there. I kind of feel like maybe it was just more about the chase. However, I definitely wanted the best for him. I could tell that our friendship was better than it had ever been. Now that I was back in New York, we hung out all the time. We got lunch, went to the beach, and even went shopping.

I was truly happy for him.

The reception was incredibly fun and I probably got a little too tipsy. Luckily, I was able to hop on the train and easily head back to my apartment in Manhattan.


That’s right. I wasn’t living with my parents. I was back on my own!