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 :)

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!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Just Work Out

I always thought I was one of those unlucky people.

I would throw my life into fate's theoretical hands and, time after time, be disappointed with what the universe provided me.

I'd be envious of people who would find themselves in situations where things "just worked out."

This was not to say I haven't had my moments over the past few years. After things ended with my first boyfriend, I didn't know if anyone would ever fully embrace me, quirks and all, the way he did. And if I did, what if I couldn’t reciprocate those feelings? Or what if things fell apart for one reason or another? How often do things "just work out" so perfect?

I couldn’t help but feel the same way when I lost my job. I packed up all my things two years ago and moved my life to California. Then, the job that I risked everything for let me go, without offering me a position at another office like I thought they would and while I wasn’t sure if I would even take it, not having the option made me feel defeated. Pete told me I was so valued at the company and that they knew all the good work I had done over the past two years, but if that was true, why wasn’t I being transferred?

I was also caught off guard when I went to visit home the week prior to finding out about WebMatch not offering me a transfer. As I said, I saw Moose for the first time in months and he looked good. He didn’t look very different in a physical sense, but he seemed more sure of himself and confident. Our friendship had blossomed via text messages and FaceTime, but I felt like it was all kind of leading up to this encounter.

After we first saw each other at the bar with all our friends, he texted me the next morning asking if I was around for lunch. I had plans with my family, but they were a little later in the day so I agreed. We went to a Thai restaurant that was both close to my house and Moose’s office. I was more nervous for this interaction than the bar. This was just us; nowhere to hide.

Moose arrived a little late, looking a bit out of sorts. “Hey, sorry,” he greeted me with a quick kiss on the cheek while still catching his breathe. “Work was crazy.”

“Yeah? Can’t relate,” I joked as we began following the waitress to our table.

“You’ll find something,” Moose replied in a serious tone. He clearly did not pick up on the fact that I was very much enjoying my time off. It helped that I had plenty of time to explore the next step.

As we sat down, I asked him what else was new. “Nothing really,” he replied as he took a sip of water. “Work is crazy, as usual, but I like my team so it makes things easier.”

“That’s awesome,” I replied with a nod. “And your family?”

Moose began chatting about his parents and brother as we simultaneously perused the menu. I knew exactly what I was going to get, since I had been periodically craving their lemongrass shrimp for months.

We ordered and then there was an odd moment of silence. “So,” he began, looking nervous. “Are you seeing anyone?”

So, the moment was here. Moose and I were going to talk about taking the next step. What would we be if I moved back? If I didn’t move back? Had we created the foundation for our friendship yet?

The truth was I could truly tell that Moose had made some huge improvements in himself. It’s not that there was anything ever wrong with his personality, but we clearly had some compatibility issues in the past. I couldn’t help but feel like those issues were fleeting. Maybe the timing finally worked for us. I could finally be one of those people who had things “just work out.”

What I didn’t expect was for my mind to go straight to Pete when Moose asked about my tentative relationship status. I knew things were just fun and uncomplicated with Pete, but I couldn’t bring myself to answer Moose’s question with a ‘no.’ I quickly wondered how Pete would answer this question, before immediately realizing that the answer was simple: he would say ‘no.’

I took a sip of water as I let this settle in. I was not seeing Pete, but I was still nervous where this conversation was going to lead.

“No, I’m not,” I replied. “Are you?” I don’t know what made me ask it. I assumed he wasn’t, but it’s in my polite nature to always shoot a question back at the individual asking me.

And it’s a good thing I did because I received an answer that I was not expecting.

 “Um,” Moose began. “I kind of am. It’s new, but I don’t know.” Moose wouldn’t make eye contact with me and I could see a glimmer of his uneasiness again.

I felt like if I opened my mouth to talk, my jaw would simply drop so far down that it would hit the table. So, after a couple seconds, I forced myself to speak without knowing what my mind would force my mouth to blurt out.

“That’s great,” I replied and as I said the words, I realized that I really meant it. It took a moment for my body to get over the shock of it all, but I quickly came to the conclusion that this new girl, and most likely not me, was responsible for Moose’s self-improvement and new confidence. I would need more reflection to know how I truly felt, but in the moment, I could see he was happy. And I was happy for my friend.

Well, it was time to go back to California and sort out my mess of a life there.