Getting out of bed on Saturday was not an easy endeavor. I rolled out of bed around noon and tried to eat my way through the hangover. It was unsuccessful, but I still enjoyed stuffing my face while on the couch watching reruns.
I must have picked my phone up every five minutes. I couldn’t wait to hear from Alex. I hadn’t felt real butterflies like that in a while. He was cute, interesting, and most importantly, he seemed really into me. Whenever a man insistently tells me I’m pretty, he scores major points in my book. I’m not that complex, I guess.
I received a text around four o’clock but it wasn’t from Alex. It was Darlene.
“Holy hangover… Diner tomorrow when I can move?”
I confirmed with Darlene. That was the only text I received all day. Around 10 o’clock, I decided to go back to sleep. My hangover was gone but I felt worse than I had all day. Alex never texted me and I felt completely forgotten. Was he that drunk? Was he only trying to get me to go home with him? Why’d he even ask for my number? At times like this, I hated being single. The deep pain of rejection made me want to be with somebody, anybody, even if they weren’t perfect for me.
I woke up Sunday, still hopeful, but when I looked down at my iPhone the only thing I saw was a Candy Crush request from my mom.
I forced myself out of bed and into the shower. I could feel the hot water washing away all my regret from the weekend. Hot showers are impossible to get out of when there’s a polar vortex. It’s almost like gravity won’t allow you to exit the shower’s warmth.
Darlene and I lived the closest out of all our friends. We went to the same elementary school and even rode the same bus in middle school. Our friends lived on the other side of town and even though it was fairly close, sometimes it was just easier to grab a quick bite with Darlene at the diner that was literally walking distance from our homes. On Long Island, it was very rare that I didn’t take a car whenever I left my house. During any other season, we would have walked there, but like I said, polar vortexes take away all the fun.
When I picked up Darlene, she was wearing huge, round sunglasses and an oversized sweatshirt with a penguin on the front.
“Cute sweatshirt,” I said with sarcasm before she was even in the passenger seat.
“Fuck off, I love it,” she replied. She wasn’t smiling, but I could tell she wasn’t actually offended. She has a very dry sense of humor, which I love. She didn’t take her sunglasses off and I don’t even know why she wore them considering there was no sun. I think her eyes were closed underneath them the whole time.
Once we got to the diner, we opted to sit at the bar instead of a table. We both ordered coffees before looking at the menu.
“I don’t know if I can eat,” Darlene said wrinkling her nose and looking at the omelet section. “Is it bad that I’m still feeling hung over?”
“No, what’s bad is when you put all your hope into a guy and he doesn’t text you,” I said before pointing both my thumbs inward.
“What?” Darlene asked, finally taking off her sunglasses. “But he was so into you, Caroline. Like seriously, we were all crazy jealous.”
I nodded and looked down. I wasn’t sure if Darlene was making me feel better or worse. We got our coffees and Darlene started pouring milk into her cup. I brought mine up to my nose and embraced the smell. The smell of fresh coffee made me feel unexplainably happy.
“So, text him,” Darlene nonchalantly stated while adding sugar to her coffee. I raised my eyebrows and titled my head towards her. “What?” she defensively replied. “It’s 2014, nobody cares if the girl makes the first move.”
“That’s not the point, Darlene. If he wanted to talk to me, he would have texted me, because he said he would. How desperate will I look if I text him?”
Darlene finally lifted her coffee and took a sip. “I don’t know, but you’ll never find out if you don’t.” Well, she had a point there.
I took a sip of my coffee and stared at the TV behind the bar playing the news. “Maybe,” I finally said. “Anyway, can we talk about Ryan? What exactly did he tell you?”
Darlene’s eyes got big. “I can’t believe he told us. I mean, I knew he was gay.”
“Really?” I asked. She rolled her eyes at me. “Okay, but did you think he was ever going to come out?”
Darlene took a moment before responding. “Eventually, yes. He told me he’s gay, but not ‘gay pride parade’ gay.”
I laughed and coffee almost came out of my nose. “And what is that supposed to mean?” I asked.
“You know,” Darlene said with a smile. “Like, he’s not flamboyant. He’s not going to start dressing nice or talking about celebrity gossip. He’s especially not going to any colorful, gay dance clubs. Believe me, I already asked if we could go to one of those.”
“He’s just not changing into a stereotype,” Darlene continued. I nodded. It made sense. Ryan wanted to stay Ryan. I, on the other hand, didn’t know who I wanted to be. I knew what I didn’t want to be, though. Needy. So I didn’t text Alex. I never did hear from him again. It hurt, but I let it go. I finally decided not to let the dismissal of one guy change how I saw myself. Besides, there are plenty of other fish in the sea and one will bite this bait.
We finished our coffees before heading home. Successful coffee outing.