I Ordered Beef Chow Mein Because She Dumped Me Via Text

This shit actually happens. 

It wasn’t a thought so much as an expression that fell somewhere between a laugh and a cringe. That in between awkward face you make when someone takes a picture a second too soon. I put my phone away and lit the cigarette I was not supposed to be smoking.

Pain didn’t begin to describe how I felt, because….I didn’t feel any. I thought of my mental calendar and imagined the blue boxes that were committed to the girl I had been dating disappear. I saw free time. I missed her, but all I saw was free time.

It didn’t stay that way long.

This shit actually happens.

A text arrives saying not having enough time was the reason things weren’t working out, and you end up enjoying two fingers of Jameson with a friend and her boy friend.

I told them I’ve learned things from the experience that I planned to keep and I wished her well. She hadn’t been my girlfriend and I, her boyfriend.

My friend says ‘that’s good’ and thirty or so minutes of other stuff…(I don’t remember because I don’t drink often and it may have been three fingers of Jameson…).

I didn’t have any complaints. I didn’t have any guilt. I didn’t have a girlfriend but then again I never had. I had a story and it was enough. We were two people who had shared a period of time together. The good was there, and the bad was manageable but the barriers were just one too many.

I said none of this out loud. We instead  talked about the fact that one of the few groups that are acceptable to look down upon were white men who didn’t attend college.

This shit actually happens.

The conversation got interesting but didn’t go anywhere near a conclusion. My mind however did. It went to my stomach and the literal emptiness inside.

I said my farewells. I walked past my car like the responsible adult that I am and went to a chinese restaurant. It was a clean and well-kept place. If there was anything else nice about it I honestly didn’t notice or care. More than anything, I was looking forward to food.

The dish was beef chow mein and after a few bites I posted to Facebook:

Today I drank whiskey/scotch hung out with a friend I hadn’t seen in ten years and now eating beef chow mien. When you work hard you don’t necessarily have time for extravagant celebrations. But if you’re grateful there are days when everything goes just right and all you have to do is sit back and enjoy yourself.

 

To her credit she had called. To my credit I hadn’t picked up or returned the call. We are all deserving of closure, with the place and time undetermined. A Chinese restaurant wasn’t the place and today wasn’t the time.

It wasn’t what I had scheduled for today in the mental calendar beneath whose shadow I walked to my car. The one in which so little real estate is owned by others.

The Facebook post got 12 likes.

I thought only of the beef chow mein on the freeway, and gave my brain the night off as I pulled into the garage. I didn’t get frustrated, I didn’t dwell on ‘why’ and I didn’t waste time feeling sorry for myself. All those things she had helped me work on, I practiced right until I fell asleep.

I got dumped via text and because of what I had learned from that person, I had a great day afterwards.

This shit actually happens.

I know because today it happened to me.

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