Friday, September 26, 2014


Darlene, Anna, and I waited until Jessica was done making out with her guy before asking if she was ready to go. She grabbed a water bottle from the fridge and drunkenly slurred that she couldn't wait to get home. Jessica blabbered on and on about how cute the frat boy was and how she was so happy we stuck around the house. I honestly didn't really think he was that attractive, but Jessica has an odd taste in men. To each his own. She'll be the first person to criticize another person's choice, though, and that truly infuriates me at times.

Anyway, the next morning I woke up to the smell of bacon. My mom didn't always make breakfast Sunday mornings, but when she did I got excited. I threw on appropriate attire and walked into my kitchen.

"Yummy," I said to my mom as I piled my hair into a messy bun. "Any for me?"

"Of course," she said, motioning to the plate of bacon. "How many eggs do you want?"

"Two scrambled, please," I said as I put two pieces of whole wheat bread in the toaster. I walked over to the dining room table where my dad and brother were sitting. I know I don't write about them much, but I'm actually pretty close with my immediate family. We're all busy during the week, but we make sure to spend time together on the weekends. We sat and ate breakfast before watching some television. Around 3 o'clock, I excused myself to do homework.

I had so much to catch up on, but I didn't mind it. I was doing well in my graduate program. So far I had a 4.0 GPA and I was on track to graduate in May. I couldn't believe how fast the program was going. It felt like yesterday that I was applying to programs. What was I going to do after I graduated? I had no idea and the more I thought about it, the more stressed I became.

I picked up my phone after transcribing interviews for a few hours. I tried not to look at my phone while I typed them and would use my phone or Netflix as a reward for an hour or two of work. Dr. O' Conner said he was thrilled with my performance on the tasks he had given me and it was really motivating. It gave me some momentum to continue with the pretty boring job of simply typing the conversations between the PhD students and mental patients they were dealing with.

When I looked at my phone, though, I had nothing new. I was kind of disappointed that Justin hadn't contacted me. Didn't he miss me? I remembered him wanting to get dinner a couple weeks after we broke up. Did he still want to? I knew it was for the best to just keep some distance, but it was hard. All I wanted to do was text him and see how he was doing. I didn't even want to think about his first weekend being single. It made my stomach churn.

I placed my phone down and got a lot more work done that night. For the next week, I kept myself busy and the weekend was upon us before I knew it.

I stayed in Friday night but rode my bike to Darlene's on Saturday around five. We started drinking wine while we watched the whole last season of Girls. The night got a little fuzzy as we started the second bottle, but I remember Jessica showing up somewhere around eight or nine. The weather was pretty nice so we went for a walk around the neighborhood. I stopped drinking as we walked (even though Darlene brought a water bottle full of wine with us). I remember throwing my bike in the back seat of Jessica's car at the end of the night and having her drive me the few blocks to my house. Nothing like an innocent girl's night of drinking at a friend's house, right?

This might be true if it weren't for cell phones. I woke up Sunday with the worst headache. I looked at my phone and my heart dropped. I had a single text message. It was from Justin. I had my iPhone set so that the message appeared before opening it.

"Sorry, I was asleep. Crazy night? ;)"

"Fuck," I thought to myself. I took a deep breathe. Now that I saw the text from him, I suddenly remembered taking out my phone and typing Justin's name out, but I couldn't remember exactly what I wrote. It must have been something about missing him. Or wanting him. So embarrassing. I couldn't procrastinate any longer. I swiped the text message and looked at the messages I sent.

I was happy to see I only managed to send out two. The first one read, "Hey friend, you awake?" and the second one said "Come on dudeeeeeeeeeeee"

I guess it could've been worse, right? I placed my phone down for the moment and stared at the ceiling. Why did I have to break first? I told myself I wouldn't break first! However, I couldn't undo what I sent. Then, I thought of it from the bright side. Justin responded. At least I was able to talk to him and instead of blaming my stupid emotions, I could just blame alcohol! This wasn't my proudest moment, but I decided this wasn't so bad.

"Oops. Yeah, sorry about that."

"Haha, it's okay! It's nice to hear from you :). How're you?"

It was a loaded question, but I tried to give a politically correct answer. "I'm okay. How about you?"

"Hanging in there," he wrote back. "So, when are we getting that dinner?"

I bit my bottom lip. I really did not think he was going to follow up on that. "Next weekend?" I texted back.

"Sounds like a date," he answered.

So, dinner with Justin. This can't go bad.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Frat House: Part Two

I walked into Steve's room. It was smaller than my bedroom at home, with three twin mattresses sprawled out on the floor. I was confused because I always knew Hofstra as a the private school that the richer kids of Long Island went to, especially the ones in Greek life. Why were these guys living as if they were  permanently in a hostel for four years?

Steve quickly found a bottle of Bacardi from a cheap shelving unit near his bed. "I know it's still not the fanciest of liquors, but it's a little better right?" I looked at the half empty (or half full if you're an optimist, which I rarely am) bottle. I wasn't thrilled at the idea of drinking out of an open bottle that this kid may or may not have pre roofied for this opportunity. Call me paranoid, but I've read one too many horror stories.

"I'm actually good," I politely replied. He stared at me for a few seconds with a condescending smirk. He took a swig himself, made a face as he swallowed, and then held it out towards me.

"You sure?" He asked, basically reading my mind. Now that he took a drink from it, I felt safe taking a drink.

"Okay," I replied, taking it from his hand. It still burned going down, but it was a bit more tolerable than the cheap crap the other guys had.

"So, what brings you to this residence to binge drink with my lovely brothers?" Steve seemed to be nice and sincere, but his words came off as a little pretentious.

I shrugged. "You know, just a typical Saturday night." I was still standing, while he was relaxed on his mattress which didn't even have sheets on it. Boys.

"I don't buy it," he said with another peculiar smirk. I would normally think he was a total asshole, but I could tell there was something kind about his strange sense of humor.

"What don't you buy?"

"I don't know. You don't seem like the type who would hang out here." He scooted over on the bed in order to grab his guitar. Once he wasn't taking up the whole bed, though, he patted the spot next to him for me to sit. I slowly complied.

"You mean the 'old' type," I defensively replied. "Exactly how old do you think I am?" While I was only a little more than a year out of college, I began to imagine that this fraternity solely entertained freshmen and sophomore females.

Steve began lightly strumming his guitar without looking at me. "I didn't mean old," he said. "I meant you don't seem super ditzy."

"Um, thanks?" I replied as I scrunched up my face. "I guess you think I'm just 'somewhat' ditzy?"

"No, no. I didn't mean that," he quickly replied. "I'm sorry. I'm not trying to be a dick. I'm just used to seeing half naked, wasted girls waltzing through here. It makes me feel like a total sleazeball just for living here."

I nodded as I looked more around his shared room. The walls were completely empty except for a Bob Marley poster and an out of place, old sheet. It looked like it was moved around a lot, with lots of pins and various holes all around the edges. Maybe the guys used that when one of them had a lady friend over?

"So, where are your friends?" Steve asked.

I quickly turned to look at him. I was so lost in thought that I almost forgot I was having a conversation. "Oh, um, I don't know. I guess I should probably go find them. I'm sorry for keeping you from, uh, the rest of your evening."

Steve actually leaned over and touched my arm. "No, I didn't mean that as a hint for you to go," he insisted. "I mean, if you want to catch up with them I get it, but I'm enjoying your company."

"Nah, I'll hang out," I said. Even though Steve was probably my little sister's age, I was enjoying his company more than I would enjoy standing around in that disgusting kitchen while his friends tried to impress me and my friends. I didn't have any romantic interest in him, but he wasn't being creepy and he honestly didn't seem to be that romantically interested in me.

"So really, what are you doing here?" he asked with a laugh.

I looked down and smiled. Since I was a little buzzed and felt comfortable with this dude, I decided to open up just a bit. "Eh, trying to get over a dude."

"Oh, so there's a gentleman responsible for your presence here." Why couldn't he just talk normal?

"I guess," I shrugged. "But this is also what your twenties are about, right? Going out, getting drunk, meeting people."

"Do it for the story, right?"

I laughed. "Exactly. Do it for the story." We talked for another half hour or so before Steve suddenly asked what time it was as he looked for his phone.

I took my own out of my pocket. "Wow, it's almost three." I was pretty shocked that so much time had passed and was surprised to have zero text messages from any of my friends.

Steve reached for his laptop. "I have to get on Skype in a little while. My girlfriend is studying abroad in France and I usually stay up so I can video chat with her as soon as she gets up."

Ah, a girlfriend. That explains the lack of sexual tension. "That's sweet," I replied with a smile. "Well, I'm going to go catch up with my friends then." Steve and I exchanged numbers even though I figured we wouldn't really keep in touch. When I found my friends, Jessica was making out with the guy she was talking to. I found Darlene and Jessica chatting with a few of the others. Who would've thunk my friends would love the frat boys?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Frat House: Part One

The house wasn't necessarily small, but it was definitely crammed beyond normal capacity. I didn't see any of the guys from the bar upon walking in, but they now appeared much older in comparison to the group of 18 year olds who were playing video games in the living room. They looked at us, surprised for a moment, before focusing back on their game. Jessica lead the group into the kitchen. The dishes in the sink were over flowing and the old tile floor had clearly gone months, if not years, without being cleaned. Guh-ross. Since the kitchen was deserted, we remained there for a moment.

"Should we leave?" Jessica asked, wrinkling her nose.

"I do feel kind of out of place," I honestly replied. "But it's up to you guys." I was willing to hang out for as long as possible.

"Well, let me text the guys and see where they are," Jessica said as she whipped out her phone.

We stood silent in the kitchen. A short, scrawny kid in a football jersey walked in and gave us a weird look as he grabbed a Gatorade from the fridge without saying a word. This definitely wasn't the most exciting Frat house near Hofstra. I guessed most of the kids I saw so far were sophomores. Maybe all the others were at a different house for a party or at a bar?

"They're on their way back," Jessica said. "Let's at least hang out with them for a little."

We all agreed to stay. I suddenly felt myself yawn even though I tried to hold it in. It's not that I was bored. I just find myself getting prematurely tired sometimes. Didn't my body get the memo that I'm 23 years old, not 83? My ex boyfriend, Mike, used to tell me I had 'grandma syndrome' because I was always so tired and I liked to drink tea in bed by seven during the week. Does anyone else feel the real struggle? Just me? Okay, then.

The guys arrived back within twenty minutes and they had a bottle of cheap vodka in hand. I was glad to see it was still sealed before they opened it to pour us all shots. It burned going down and it made me flashback to post final celebrations.

We hung out in the kitchen, loudly chatting as younger fraternity boys walked in and out, giving us weird looks. Jessica chatted with the original guy who gave us the address. He totally was not Jessica's type, but for some reason she seemed entertained by him. Just when you think you have someone figured out. Go figure.

I had a sudden urge to go to the bathroom, so I excused myself and wandered through the disgusting corridors of the house. I felt a slight buzz and it made me happy.

Once I found the bathroom, I was somewhat surprised that on a scale of one to ten, it was only about a seven in grossness.

I squatted on the toilet seat without allowing my legs to touch the seat. I closed my eyes and took a deep breathe. A week ago, I was in a relationship. How was I here? I shook my head and tried to forget those kinds of thoughts. I could only move forward. I was almost done when my heart stopped at the sound of the door opening.

"Occupied!" I screamed like an obnoxious middle aged woman. It was the only thing I could think to say as I looked up to make eye contact with the guy who obviously did not hear me. He was a tall, lanky kid with brown curly hair and thick, black framed glasses. He let out a surprised gasp as he quickly shut his eyes.

"Uh, I, sorry," he muttered as he went to leave without opening his eyes. He knocked into the door frame with a loud 'thunk.' I cringed. It sounded like it really hurt but I couldn't exactly walk over to help him. This situation just needed to end.

He fumbled his way out of the bathroom. Once the door was closed, I quickly grabbed a handful of toilet paper and cleaned myself up. I grabbed hand sanitizer from my wristlet and drenched my hands in it. I was mortified at the experience and just wanted to be back in the kitchen. As soon as I opened the door, though, my visitor was standing out there, rubbing his head.

"Uh, hi," he said to me with one eye open. Before I could respond, he followed up with, "I'm so, so sorry."

I defensively put my hands up. "No, no, I'm sorry," I said. "Are you okay?"

A small smile formed on his lips. For the first time, I realized that he was kind of cute, in his own young, hipster way. "Yeah, I'll be fine." He stopped rubbing his head for a moment and put out his hand. "I'm Steve."

I smiled and took his hand. "Caroline. Nice to meet you."

He smiled again. "Eh, wish I could say the same," he said, pointing at the bump on his head. It didn't look like it was too bad, but it would definitely hurt for the next day or two.

I cringed again. "I thought I locked the door," I insisted.

Steve waved his hand at me. "Yeah, it's broken. Don't sweat it, I just didn't realize the guys were having people over today."

I shrugged my shoulders. "I guess you could say it was kind of an impromptu gathering."

Steve nodded. "That's cool," he replied. "I hope they're doing a good job entertaining you."

I smiled and nodded. "Yeah, it's okay. That cheap vodka goes down tough." I saw a look of shock form on his face. "What?" I asked.

 "You didn't actually accept that kind of treatment, did you?"

"I'm not that particular about free booze."

That was all it took for Steve to insist I follow him down the hall.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Back at it

I dramatically pushed aside the curtain of the dressing room to reveal the over the top dress Anna made me try on.  Nostalgic wasn't very fancy, but when I sent a Snapchat of my dark jeans  and lace sleeved top with the caption 'tonight's outfit,' Anna promptly texted me.

"I'll be by in 5. We're going shopping."

I did a pretend cat walk over to Anna who clapped her hands together at the sight of me in a sleeveless red dress. "You need this dress," she insisted.

"You're insane," I replied, pulling at the bottom of the dress. "It's way too much."

"Nothing is too much for your first night back!"

I waved my hand in the air. "I've been out of the game three months, not three years."

"Whatever," she said as she whipped out her phone. "Try on the green one."

I silently went into the dressing room. I knew Anna wouldn't listen to me, so I didn't say a word as I put my yoga pants and white t-shirt back on. The green dress was even more extravagant than the red one. No, thank you.

As I walked out of the dressing room, Anna looked up and I immediately saw the disappointment take over her face. "I hate you," she said with a smile.

After another hour at the mall (and an Auntie Anne's pretzel), Anna finally agreed on a top that I liked. It was a white, sheer shirt that would look great with the jeans I already had at home. We decided to also get manicures and pedicures before heading our separate ways. I was excited, but nervous to go out. This would be no different than any other night out, right?

I enjoyed my time getting ready as I listened to pop music to get amped. Before I knew it, Darlene was in my driveway and we were on our way to Nostalgic. The bar was pretty dark and by the time we got there it was already packed. We made our way over to the bar and Jessica ordered us a round of shots. Right away, there was a group of guys who took notice. I made a mental note that any time we wanted the attention of guys, we should loudly order shots.

We talked to them for a short amount of time before making our way to the dance floor. "They were cute, right?" Darlene said to me, wiggling her eyebrows. I shrugged as I took a sip of my vodka tonic. "Come on," she replied.

"They were too young," I said. It was true. None of them were more than six months over 21. I was going to be 24 at the end of the year and my uterus drew me to older gentlemen.

We danced for a few songs. A 90s cover band was playing that night and I focused on singing all the words to some of my favorite songs from middle school. I made eye contact with a few cute guys and hoped they would come over to talk to me, but my telepathic messages unfortunately did not work.

"Why haven't any of the guys approached us?" I asked Darlene on one of our trips to the bar. I pouted out my bottom lip. "I thought this was easier!"

Darlene glanced around and rolled her eyes at me. "I told you. You should've dressed sluttier!" She pointed at a hot guy with slicked back hair talking to a girl in a bandeau and denim shorts. Did I really have to wear a bathing suit to get a guy to notice me in a bar? I was already frustrated about being single.

We stayed at the bar for another couple hours before deciding to leave and drive thru Taco Bell. However, as we were walking out, Jessica was stopped by a member of the original group we were talking to.

"Where are you ladies going so early?" he asked. It was only 12:30, but I felt that we had sufficiently danced and I was ready for a Doritos Locos taco.

"We're bored," she playfully replied.

He threw his hands up in the air. "No, we can't have that," he said. "We're getting out of here soon. You guys should hang out!"

Jessica turned to us and mouthed, "Should we?" We all looked at each other. I really had no desire to go to whatever Fraternity house these guys lived in, but I wouldn't necessarily hold the group back.

We all looked at each other for a few seconds. Nobody wanted to be the decider. Anna finally took out her phone, without consulting any of us, and passed it to the guy. "Put in your address and we'll meet you there in a half hour," she instructed.

His face lit up as if we had all just lifted up our shirts for him. "Great! We'll be waiting!"

We walked out and made our way to Darlene's car. "So, this is happening," she said with a laugh.

"I don't know," Jessica skeptically said. "We don't really know them."

"Well, he didn't just put their address in here," Anna began. "He put his phone number. If you guys don't want to go, I'll just text them." None of us had any real objection to going, so we all went along with it.

Once in the back seat, Jessica leaned onto my shoulder. She was definitely a little bit too drunk, but it made her happier than usual. "This sucks, huh?" She asked. "I hate being single!"

I put my arm around her. "I know, I know."

We sang Backstreet Boys until we arrived at Taco Bell. Then, we ate in the parking lot. Soon, it was well after 1.

"Okay," Anna loudly began. "27 Adams Street. Let's do this!"

We pulled up to the house within 20 minutes. Yup, it was a frat house right by Hofstra University. 

"I guess we're going back to college," Anna said with a laugh.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Olé, Olé, Olé.

The next week was hell. I now felt lucky to have so much school and work to occupy myself. It was hard for me to focus, but I stayed busy, without having to think too much, with monotonous paperwork at the card store, transcriptions for my Assistantship, and mindless copying of notes during lectures. I wasn't hiding under my covers so hey, that counts for something. 

I'm sure it comes to no surprise by now that I don't handle break ups well, but every time I felt myself getting upset or thinking of how much I missed Justin, I simply took a few deep breathes and thought to myself, "it's for the best."

I went through the weekdays without telling anybody. Nobody asked how he was, so I didn't have to lie. I just omitted the truth.

Then, Friday night rolled around. Darlene wanted to get dinner at a Mexican restaurant near us. I confirmed that I was free and Anna said she'd pick everyone up around 8.

We sat down at a table in the back corner. It was pretty packed. There were parents with their young kids, in addition to high school kids throwing napkins at each other and couples on dates (you could tell some were first dates while other couples had been together for a while based on the varying outfits and body language). The waiters and waitresses were wearing obnoxiously big sombreros. Some of them really embraced the theme and others simply tolerated it. As soon as our waitress (who fell into the latter category) came over, I ordered a giant watermelon margarita. "Okay, that traditionally is made for two," she informed me.

"Yes, perfect," I said with a smile. She took everyone else's order before smiling at us and walking away.

"Ready to go champ?" Darlene asked me with a snicker.

I took a deep breathe. "Yup, considering Justin and I broke up."

The three of them broke out into mirroring expressions of shock. "I'm so sorry, Caroline!" Anna said. "When did this happen?"

"Monday," I said without making eye contact with any of them.

"Why didn't you tell us?" Jessica asked, more disappointed by not being in on the gossip than concerned about the reason.

I shrugged. "I tried not to think about it."

Anna, who was sitting to my right, leaned over and gave me a side hug. "I'm sorry," she softly said. "I'm glad you were able to do it, though. I know you were on the fence but questioning a relationship that early isn't good."

I nodded while I processed what Anna said. Wait, she thought I broke up with him? I guess it was the logical conclusion, since I had told them I was thinking about ending the relationship. Regardless, I had to clear this up.

"Um, yeah, but," I began as I picked up my fork and twirled it on the table. "He broke up with me."

"What?" Darlene loudly blurted out. If a table a few feet away hadn't been singing happy birthday, the whole restaurant probably would've heard her. It actually made me crack a smile.

"Well, yeah. I brought some of our issues up over dinner. I just asked him if he'd be okay with me being so busy this semester and if he was comfortable with everything else in our relationship. He said he was but then landed this bombshell on me once we were outside my house."

"Coward," Jessica muttered as the waitress arrived with our drinks. "Can we also get some chips and queso for the table?" The waitress nodded to Jessica's question. "You need some empty calories," she said to me with a smile.

I politely asked them if we could return to this topic later. I needed a break. Anna nabbed the opportunity to ask our opinion about this guy she's been hanging out with. "He says he doesn't want a relationship, and that's fine with me because we're just having fun, but then he acts all cute and wants to cuddle and go out to dinner. What do you think that means?"

I suppressed my desire to roll my eyes when she said she was fine with him not wanting a relationship. Anna was the type to play the field and I admired that about her, but I had a feeling it was mainly because she was scared of being hurt again. "If I don't have any relationships, I don't have to deal with break ups, right?" She jokingly asked me once. While I knew she saw plenty of guys over the past few months, this guy Chris, seemed to really stick. He definitely didn't want a girlfriend, though, and I think Anna was hoping she'd change his mind.

"I don't know," Darlene said first. "I'm sure he likes you, but didn't Courtney say he's never been a relationship guy?" Courtney is Chris and Anna's mutual friend who they met through.

"Yeah, but then why's he acting like this?" Anna asked, her voice hopeful.

"A guy can like the aspects of having a girlfriend," I began. "You know, having someone to sleep next to and text throughout the day, but if he gets that without making you his girlfriend, I don't know if he's going to change."

Anna dramatically pouted her bottom lip out. "I guess you guys are right," she admitted. We ordered our entrees shortly after and then talked a little bit more about Chris before our food arrived.

"Okay," Darlene said after her first bite of her enchilada. "Well, we are all single. I think that's call for some sort of celebratory night out. Who knows? Maybe we'll meet a hot set of quadruplets and all be married in a year."

"Oh, goodness," Jessica said as we all clinked our glasses and giggled at the idea.

"So, tomorrow night?" Darlene asked, looking at all of us for our reactions. "I'll drive to Nostalgic." Everyone agreed and I started mentally planning my 'back on the market' outfit.

Friday, September 12, 2014

And so it goes...

"Okay..." I slowly replied. What else could we have to talk about? We had plenty of time at dinner. He could have also said something back at his apartment. I mean, we were silent for a good hour. Why was he waiting until the very last moment?

We remained silent for several minutes. I was just about to finally ask him what was going on when he finally spoke. "This might be tougher than we thought, you know?" He was saying 'we' but he clearly meant 'I.'

"What might be tough?" I asked.

"Never seeing you," he replied. "I don't know what that's going to do to us." I was starting to feel like we accomplished nothing the whole night.

"It's not like I'm moving. It's not even like I'll be unavailable all the time. I just have school most week nights and my new Assistantship. When I met you, I had just finished my spring semester. That was the only reason I was even at the bar. But I was also single. Now that I'm with you, I'll arrange my time different."

Justin began picking at the peeling leather on his steering wheel. "I'm a girlfriend guy, you know? I like being in a relationship. I never understood guys who prefer going from girl to girl when you can have one amazing girl who's always there for you. But I don't know if I can handle all this time apart..." His voice trailed off and he looked away from me.

I ran my fingers over his shoulder. "I'm going to do my best," I quietly said. I could feel my eyes tearing up. I didn't like where this conversation was going but I felt helpless.

Justin turned back to the steering wheel. He still wasn't looking at me, but I could see his face. His jaw was clenched but there was sadness in his eyes. It seemed like he was trying to keep it together.

"It's not just that," Justin replied. "I've been thinking. I love spending time with you, but if I'm only going to see you like, once a week when you're completely drained anyway, what's the point?" At that moment, he looked at me just in time to see my eyes widen. "I don't mean there's no point, but come on, Caroline. If the positions were switched, would you want to sit at home while your friends are out meeting new guys."

I swear, when he said that, I saw red. "You want to meet new girls? Is that what this is all about? If it is, just say it," I demanded.

Justin put his head to the steering wheel and took a deep breathe. I could barely hear him when he began speaking again. "It's not that. I want to be with you, but if I can't go out with my friends and you're off at school, I feel like, I don't know. I guess I feel like I'll become resentful."

I took a deep breathe and looked out the window, still trying to hold back tears. Thirty minutes ago, we were all fixed. How did we end up here?

"If you're going to resent me for enriching my future, I have nothing to say to you."

"Stop trying to make me feel like the bad guy," Justin snapped. "I'm telling you how I feel."

The waterworks were now in full force. I put my face in my heads and began sobbing. I couldn't hold it in anymore. I felt Justin's right hand on my back, going up and down.

"Caroline," he began in a soft voice. "Maybe we can just take a break. I'll let you get used to your new schedule and maybe, in a few weeks, we can reconsider things."

I wiped away my tears and looked Justin in the eyes. "What's really going on, Justin? Be honest with me. You make that stupid comment about wanting to be out with your friends meeting new girls and then you try to play it off like it's my fault. I can make time for you, so what's the real reason?"

Justin let out another heavy sigh. "Okay, well yeah. It's not just the time, but here's how I see it. You're going to be at school or work a lot. Then you have to make separate time for your friends and family. That doesn't leave much time for me. And I don't blame you, but what am I going to do with all my free time? If I hang out with my friends more, I'm going to want to talk to girls and stuff. I would hate it if the roles were reversed and you did that. I don't want us to grow apart and then hate each other."

He was making some sense, but I still didn't think we had to break up over this. Couldn't we give it another few weeks? Then I remembered how I felt in the beginning of the night. I really liked Justin, but I had my doubts, too. Maybe this was a good opportunity for both of us to split without a messy, aggressive break up.

I felt my eyes fill with tears again. "So, is this it?" I asked. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Justin rubbing his eyes and I secretly hoped he was wiping away tears. I can't be the only one who feels better when the guy is also crying.

"At least for now," he softly replied. "Let's take some time apart and maybe we can get dinner in like, two weeks?"

We sat in silence for a minute before I slowly nodded. "Well, I guess I should go in." I turned and gave Justin one last look. I couldn't believe how the night turned out.

Justin put a hand behind my ear and gave me a slow and passionate kiss before I went inside. I felt so sad but I told myself it was for the best. Right?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It's been completely worth it

Last night, I nervously straightened my hair as I waited for Justin to pick me up. Justin and I were going to dinner and I decided we were going to have a talk, no matter how difficult it was. I wanted to know how he felt about everything, too. After all, he had been distant for a little while. Maybe he had something he wanted to express, as well. I didn't want either of us bottling up feelings and then have them explode in an argument. Justin deserved more than that.

I was especially worried about how I would express my feelings. To be honest, I couldn't warrant some of them. That had me confused. Yes, Justin got jealous, but was that the only reason I felt a small desire to break up with him? I couldn't figure out if I felt like I just owed it to myself to be single for a little while if my heart wasn't 100% invested in the relationship anymore. Justin deserved better than that, too.

Justin arrived at 7. Right on the dot. I sat in the passenger seat and leaned over to give him a kiss. We were at the restaurant by 7:20. It was a beautiful night so we opted to sit outside on their patio. I began quietly picking at the bread basket on the table.

"How have your classes been?" Justin sweetly asked me. Since I was chewing on a piece of an uh-maz-ing fluffy roll (I deserved some white bread), I nodded and shrugged in response. Justin laughed. "Well, regardless, I'm really proud of you. I know it's not easy doing everything you do, but I think it's amazing that you're in graduate school. My girlfriend is one smart cookie." He reached across the table and put his hand on mine. How did he always know the right thing to say? I suddenly couldn't imagine breaking up with him.

"Thanks," I bashfully replied. "But it's not exactly medical school. It's just a part time grad program."

"Still," he said as he looked me straight in the eyes. "Don't diminish it. I don't know anyone who works as hard as you do."

I had a particular order in mind for how I wanted this conversation to go and, due to acute anxiety issues that I've had since childhood, I had practiced the conversation over and over in my head. However, since he was bringing up my hectic schedule, I figured it'd be good to discuss that with him first.

"Since you mention it," I said, as if I never dreamed of bringing it up, "I think we should talk about that."

"Talk about what?"

"Well, with school starting again, I'm going to be annoyingly busy and I want to make sure you understand that."

Justin furrowed his eyebrows at me. "Caveman understand," he sarcastically replied.

"I didn't mean that you couldn't understand," I feverishly responded. Why did everything I say always come out wrong? "I just want to talk to you about it now so you're not blindsided when I can't see you as much. Are you going to be okay with that?"

Justin looked off at the street for a moment. "Yeah, I mean, what other choice do I have?"

I didn't know what to say to that so we just sat there, silent, for another moment. "I'll try as hard as I can to see you," I said as I placed my hand back on his. We just looked at each other and then commented on how nice the weather was for a few minutes before the waitress came over to take our order.

"Listen, we can do this," Justin said, getting back on topic. "If it's either having you a little or not having you at all, the choice is simple."

I smiled at him. It felt so nice to have a caring guy back in my life. I knew from past experiences that they were rare. And who knows? Maybe Justin and I would benefit from some time apart.

That train of thought brought me back to my original decision about tonight. We needed to discuss our issues.

"Justin, we're good otherwise, right?" I asked. I hoped he understood what I meant because I didn't really know how to explain it.

Justin looked away from me. He didn't look confused. At that moment, I knew he understood. "I know it hasn't been the easiest of roads, but we can't give up, right? I mean, I think we have something here."

I decided to quickly blurt out my next question. "You trust me, though, right?"

Justin furrowed his eyebrows at me again. "Of course," he replied, as if that was a crazy question to ask. I bit my lip and looked down. "Well," he continued. "I get what you mean. I'm sorry that I have issues there. You haven't done anything wrong, but because of my history I always jump to the worst conclusions. You're amazing and I guess I just feel like I got too lucky meeting you for something not to happen to us."

We looked each other in the eyes for a moment before I replied. "I'm the lucky one. You're so good to me. I'm sorry that I've put you in some sticky situations these past few months."

"It's been completely worth it," he said with a wink. Our food arrived minutes later and I was lost in the amazing shrimp and calamari salad before me. We laughed, talked, and played footsie for the next forty-five minutes before heading back to his apartment where we had the best sex we've had yet (in my opinion, anyway). It was the perfect night. Or so I thought.

Justin and I silently laid in bed for an hour. We began to get dressed so he could drive me home when I realized he was being eerily quiet. I thought nothing of it until we got to my house.

"Maybe we should talk," he said.

Friday, September 5, 2014

School Day Dreaming

"Where did I put my keys?" I said out loud to myself around 4 o'clock on Wednesday afternoon. If I didn't find them soon, I would definitely be late for my meeting with the professor I'd be assisting this Fall. After another five minutes of panic searching, I found them on top of my freezer. Why did I always have a craving for frozen pizzas as soon as I got home from work?

I parked my car with a minute to spare. After grabbing my big Longchamp bag from the back seat, I was on my way to Dr. O’Conner's office.

While I sat with Dr. O'Conner, he talked to me about all my new responsibilities. I was excited, but also nervous. In order to graduate in May, I needed to take four classes on top of my assistantship. I mentally tried to figure out how to cut my hours down at the pharmacy so I could put my time into my schooling.

"I'm going to put some interviews on this flash drive for you to transcribe," Dr. O'Conner said.

"Great," I said with a smile as I waited for him to put the clips onto my zip drive. I knew I would have to work on these over the weekend. Major bummer.

As he fiddled around with his computer, I checked the time. I had just enough time to grab pizza from the cafeteria before heading to class at 6. The semester had barely started and my head was already spinning.

I said goodbye to Dr. O'Conner and made my way across campus. As I looked around at the beautiful campus, my mind wandered to Justin. The way he acted at Anna's barbecue still had me confused. One one hand, Justin had every right to be suspicious when he first walked up to me with Moose. I'm sure it didn't look good. However, once I talked to him about it, he seemed fine with everything. He even joined me in the backyard. I'm not sure if I would have been that strong.

Sure, things were a little tense between us and Moose. Every time Justin went to grab a beer, I could see him purposely take a longer route to avoid Moose. Of course, Moose was even worse. His awkwardness truly peaked that night. I mean, how were they supposed to be friends now? Everything just seemed completely ruined.

Justin engaged with everybody else at the barbecue. He played beer pong with one of my other guy friends and they bonded over their fantasy football teams, while I talked to Anna's sister about her new relationship.

"We've talked about getting married, but I don't know if we actually will," she told me as she sipped her Merlot. I looked at her with a confused expression. "Well, because of our religious differences. How did you and Mike handle that?"

Anna's family is Greek Orthodox and Anna's sister, Kris, is dating a Jewish guy. I'm Christian and my ex-boyfriend, Mike, is Jewish so when we were dating, it was a minor topic of discussion.

I shrugged. "I don't know," I honestly replied. "We both agreed that we didn't need the other person to convert and if we had children, we'd figure out what was best for them when the time came."

She nodded before continuing to tell me about how her boyfriend wouldn't convert but she really wanted to get married in a Greek Orthodox church. I understood it was important to her, but I hoped she didn't ruin her relationship over it. As she vented a bit more, I looked over at Justin. He was still getting along great with everyone. When he caught me looking at him, he winked at me. Ugh, he really did make me melt.

I reluctantly said good night to Justin. I really wanted to have car sex with him, but I had to take Jessica home and I figured we had enough excitement for one night.

We had a pretty good night, overall. I thought about it a bit more as I opened the doors to the university's center. The pizza at my school is loaded with grease and fatty toppings, but sometimes you need that.

As I ate my pizza alone, my mind went from Anna's barbecue to brunch with my friends. I couldn't stop thinking about what Jessica said. We are so freaking young. I liked Justin but I felt like we needed to have a serious talk. Even when Justin wasn't actually accusing me of doing anything shady, sometimes I just felt like Justin didn't trust me overall. It was beginning to stress me out. I let out a sigh as I crumpled up my napkin. Maybe it was time to end things. I still wasn't sure.

I arrived to class about fifteen minutes early. My professor set all his books down and began passing out the syllabus. Of course we were going to have weekly reaction papers to the readings. I mentally rolled my eyes. This was another reason I wanted to have a talk with Justin. If he was so insecure during the summer when we could spend so much time together, how would he be when I started going to class almost every week night and spending my weekends buried in school work?

As my professor began talking about the final paper, he picked up his coffee cup to take a sip. He suddenly spilled a large portion on the front of his white button downed shirt. I almost let out a really loud laugh but I luckily suppressed it. He began frantically cleaning it up and I felt bad for him, but I also thought of the time I spilled coffee all over my white top when I was with Justin. He not only helped me clean it up, but he made me laugh at myself. That's what I need in my life. Somebody who will calm me down and make me laugh. Ugh, I am confused!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


I drove Jessica home and she told me her, Darlene, and Anna had discussed getting brunch on Sunday morning. I was obviously game for this and since I hadn't drank at Anna's barbecue, I could splurge on the extra calories.

The four of us arrived at the waterfront restaurant on the south shore of the island. Jessica luckily called ahead so when we arrived around one, the hostess brought us to a table right away.

"This is awesome," Anna said right after we ordered our drinks. We all agreed as we admired the great weather and beautiful view of the water. The atmosphere was perfect, but I knew the truth. We were all really most happy that the four of us were back together as a united group of four.

Anna began chatting about her class preparation as I caught Jessica running her finger along the bottom of her water glass, clearly not paying attention. I patiently waited until Anna was done making her statements before clearing my throat to speak.

"Jess, how are you holding up?" Since we all wanted to pretend that this little rift never happened, I was concerned that Jessica wouldn't be able to appropriately grieve her break up.

Jessica didn't look up as she shrugged. We all remained awkwardly silent for a moment. I knew Jessica wanted to vent to us about her break up, but there was no need to rush the words out of her. "I needed to end it," she finally said. "I love Josh. I really do. I just don't think I was still in love with him. I know it sounds corny and stupid, but I don't know." She seemed a little flustered from trying to express her confused emotions.

"He's your first love," Darlene interjected. "You'll always love him, but I'm glad you could acknowledge that it just wasn't right anymore." I knew Darlene was being somewhat sincere, but I gave her some side eye. I didn't want anything causing tension among the four of us after the troublesome summer we had and I figured being too encouraging of Jessica dumping Josh was not ideal. I mean, isn't that what got us into the original predicament?

"Yeah, I just wish I could blink my eye and be over him, you know?" Jessica asked. We all agreed and I went as far as to raise my drink that had just arrived. When my first boyfriend and I broke up, I knew it would be difficult to get over him but I had no idea how much time it would steal away from me. Would the same thing happen if I broke up with Justin? Not that I wanted to break up with him, but the thought had crossed my mind. We got along so well and for the most part, we really clicked, but what was with his jealousy? Maybe the circumstances have just been wrong.

"What's going on up there?" Darlene asked, pointing at my head. With all attention on me, I realized I had drifted off into my own thoughts and Darlene clearly picked up on this.

"Nothing, nothing," I said shaking my head. I wanted Jessica to have time to talk to us about not only her break up, but about her whole summer. Darlene, Anna, and her had a lot of catching up to do.

We all pigged out on our omelets and french toast while enjoying our second round of mimosas. Jessica told us all about her time with Josh and elaborated on why she felt the need to break up with him. "Things were great most of the time, but it didn't make up for the fighting, you know?" We all nodded and listened. "I was watching a sitcom one night where the two main characters broke up because they just knew that down the line, they weren't right for each other, and as dumb as it sounds, that's when I knew. We're so freaking young. Why am I going to waste my time on one guy when there are so many other guys out there? I mean, when you meet the one aren't you supposed to just know?" We all silently nodded as we continued to chew our food. Her last statement really made me think, though. Why settle at such a young age? Were the good times with Justin and I good enough to make up for the jealousy crap? I took a deep breathe and told myself I had some decisions to make.

Before we left brunch, we spent about twenty minutes on Groupon trying to find something new and fun to do in the fall. "What about those stripper fitness classes?" Anna asked. I playfully rolled my eyes at her. It's not that I didn't want to try one of those classes, but Anna just loved to seem like the most sexually adventurous of us. Anna actually had met a lot of guys this summer and was pretty open about sleeping with most of them. I was starting to lose count but that doesn't mean I wasn't super jealous of her. She was living the life. We couldn't decide between paddle boarding lessons and rock climbing, so we put off the decision for another week.

As we all started putting in money to pay for the bill, I looked at my phone. Justin had sent me a Snapchat. It was him laying in bed, making a funny face. An involuntary smile spread across my face. What was I going to do with this adorable boy?

In the car, I couldn't contain my thoughts any longer. I blurted out that I was questioning things with Justin and was met with silence in response. Jessica finally spoke up. "I know it sounds unbelievably corny, but you really just have to go with your gut. Don't try to reason it too much."

Darlene and Anna agreed, while also telling me how much they liked Justin. At home, I laid in bed, completely confused.