Authors: Cordelia Baxter
Monica gave her a weak smile, trying her hardest to hold back the flood of tears she knew would come once she was alone.
"I'll get going now
Give me a call anytime you need to talk," she
said, sensing Monica’s need to be alone.
"Thanks for everything," Monica said. "I really appreciate it."
"Don't mention it. Remember I'm here if you need me," she said before crossing the street to her car.
Monica took a deep breath once she was alone. Even though she promised Claudette she'd hear his side of the story, she had no intention of calling him now, after what she just witnessed. Monica hailed a passing cab and was just about to step in when she
stopped in her tracks
She turned her head to the sound of the voice and saw Gabe standing just outside the doors of the restaurant looking flustered. She stood still, shocked that he had come after her.
"Are you getting in or not, lady?" the cab driver asked impatiently, as Monica stared at Gabe.
"Oh I'm so sorry," she said, snapping back to attention. She was half tempted to run into Gabe's arms and beg him to take her back but then remembered the blonde woman in the restaurant, and caught herself. She gave Gabe one last look before stepping into the cab and shutting the door.
Monica shut the door to her apartment and crumpled on the floor.
So it really was over. He's moved on
, she thought. Deep down she knew that it was a possibility, but it still hurt to witness it firsthand. It also hurt that he was able to get over her so easily. She couldn't go 10 minutes without thinking about him, but he was already dating again. It made her feel like
meant nothing to him. She had been lied to and cheated on before, but it nev
er hurt as bad as it did now.
She just couldn't catch a break.
Monica picked herself off the floor and slumped out of her jacket. She left it on the floor along with her purse and keys and plodded towards the kitchen. She opened the freezer pulling out a tub of Ben and Jerry's ice cream
. It was a familiar ritual. Whenever she was hurt or upset, she would turn to food for comfort. Each bite filled the emptiness she felt inside.
As she sat and stuffed herself, she replayed the scenes of happier times spent with Gabe over again in her mind--how he looked standing at the bar holding that red rose in his hand, or how his smile crinkled the corners of his eyes and the dimple would peek out when he looked at her. She thought of their love making too--the way he could make her wet with one simple word, the way his touch made her skin tingle, and how his kisses ignited a fiery passion in her. But she would never get to feel that way again, Monica realized. Deep down she knew it was too good to be true. That was why she tried so hard not to fall in love, but despite her best efforts, she had fallen. Hard. Now she was worse off than before she met him. Here she was at 36 years old with nothing t
o show for it.
As Monica sat and contemplated the way her life had turned out, she drifted off to sleep.
The doorbell rang later jolting
had fallen asleep on the couch,
still wearing the same clothes from two days ago.
"Hello?" Monica rasped into her intercom
, still groggy from sleep
"Monica! You finally answered."
"Huh? Who is this?"
"It's Claudette. Can you buzz me in?"
"Uh...yeah sure," Monica replied. She didn't really want C
laudette to come up and see her,
but felt it was rude to turn her away. She made a mad dash and grabbed the empty wrappers and leftovers on the coffee table and dumped them in the trash. Monica tied a quick ponytail, hoping to look somewhat presentable even though she knew she looked frightful. She threw on a robe over her clothes so Claudette couldn't see she was still wearing the same outfit from the last time she saw her.
Claudette rapt loudly on the door and startled Monica out of her frantic scurrying. Smoothing her hair one last time, she opened the door and plastered on a pleasant smile.
"You look horrible," Claudette said without preamble.
"Gee thanks," Monica replied, the smile falling from her face.
"Don't give me that sad look," Claudette scolded. "I've been trying to call you for two days now. What's going on?"
"Nothing. I've just been a little busy that's all."
"So busy you're still wearing your robe?" Claudette asked.
"Oh, I uh...just woke up," Monica replied, nervously retying the sash on her robe.
It's 3pm. What do you mean you just woke up?"
"I was taking a nap," Monica lied.
"I see," Claudette responded, unconvinced.
"So what's up?" Monica asked, trying to turn the conversation.
"I just came by to see how you're doing."
"That's sweet of you," Monica said, "but I'm fine. Really."
"You're obviously not fine, so stop saying that," Claudette
. "Look, I know I probably have no right to tell you how to live your life, but you really need to get it together."
"What are you talking about?" Monica asked with an edge to her voice. She was getting annoyed by Claudette prying into her life. Sure, she had been a great friend the other night and had listened to her problems, but that didn't give her the right to just come barging over and criticizing her.
"Look at you. You don't pick up the phone, you look like you haven't left the house or showered in two days, and you're still wearing the same clothes from the last time I saw you," Claudette pointed out.
"I don't see what business it is of yours," Monica replied hurt and embarrassed. "It's my life. Besides, it's not like I have to be at work or anything."
"I'm sorry, that came out harsher than I intended," Claudette apologized.
"That's ok," Monica said slightly mollified. "I guess I'm a little sensitive today."
"I just hate to see you like this," Claudette continued. "You act like you've already given up."
"I don't know what to tell you Claudette. It's been a difficult month for me," Monica responded warily
Monica was tired of trying to be strong. Tired of hiding her vulnerability and fears from others. It was true. Claudette hit the nail on the head; she had given up. She didn't know what to do about it and it scared her. She finally broke down and confessed it all to Claudette.
"The truth is, I don't know what to do with myself now. I feel like a big loser. I'm 36 years old, still single, still stuck at a crappy job, with nothing to look forward to. I know it sounds crazy, and maybe I'm being overly dramatic," Monica added, "but that's how I feel."
Claudette stared at her for a moment before reaching over and embracing her in a comforting hug. That one gesture sent Monica over the edge and she couldn't hold back the flood of tears that erupted. Her body wracked with sobs, and she cried harder than she ever had in her whole life. Claudette never said a word, and just held her while she let it all out.
so s-s-sorry," Monica hiccupped
a while later. "I don't know what just came over me."
"Hush, honey," Claudette said. "You have nothing to apologize for."
"It's kind of embarrassing. I've never cried like that before. You probably think I'm crazy."
"I don't think you're anything but someone who's had their heart broken. Trust me, I've been there. There's no shame in crying or showing your emotions."
"T-t-thanks," Monica replied, blowing her nose on the tissue Claudette handed her.
"So do you feel better now?" Claudette asked.
"A little," Monica replied. Now that she thought about it, she felt more clear headed than she had in a long time.
"Now let's talk about what you're going to do," Claudette said.
"What do you mean?" Monica asked, wiping the tears from her eyes.
"I mean your life. What
you want to do with yourself
," Monica replied perplexed. She didn't understand why Claudette was taking such an interest in her. "Why are you asking me that?"
"Why wouldn't I ask you that? It's what friends do," Claudette answered.
"Oh..." Monica didn't know what to say. She never had anyone who cared about her enough to take an interest in her life...except for Gabe. Thinking about him brought fresh tears to her eyes.
"Well, we'll figure it out later," Claudette said.
"I'm sorry. I feel like a blubbering fool," Monica apologized.
"There's nothing to be sorry about," Claudette replied.
"Why are you doing this?" Monica asked once she had gotten herself together. "I mean what do you get out of it?"
"Is this how you talk to all your friends? Not everyone has an ulterior motive you know. I think you don't give yourself enough credit that you're worth caring about."
It was true
, Monica thought. She never thought she was worthy of someone's time and attention. Monica was reminded about the other time someone said that to her.
"Gabe actually said the same thing to me the night we broke up," she confessed.
"You should listen to him," Claudette told her. "Have you called him yet?"
"No. I don't think I'm going to," Monica answered.
"I really don't think he cares anymore. At the restaurant the other night I saw him. He was out with another woman. It's obvious he's moved on."
"Oh. I didn't know that. Are you sure it was him?" she asked.
"Well that changes things. I honestly thought he was better than that from the way you described him earlier. You're sure it was a date and not some type of business meeting?"
"That's what it looked like to me. The way she smiled up at him and how he laughed at her jokes--there was more to their relationship than just business," Monica answered. "Besides, why should I be the one to call him and make the first move? I wasn't the one caught kissing an ex. If he cared so much, like you say, then why doesn't he try to call me to explain?" Monica shot back.
The more she thought about it, the angrier she got. In the past, she always thought it was her fault whenever she got dumped. Maybe if she were skinnier, or prettier, or more interesting, guys wouldn't treat her so bad. This time, she wasn't going to blame herself. She decided she was tired of feeling bad about herself and letting guys walk all over her. She wasn't going to run after him looking desperate after he was the one who fucked up.
"Whoa there tiger," Claudette said. "Don't take it out on me. I'm
trying to help you here."
"I'm sorry, Claudette," Monica said. "I guess I'm finally fed up with all this crap."
"I can't blame you. I still can't believe Gabe would do that so soon. Are you sure you're not going to call him to find out?"
"And you're over him for good?" Claudette asked.
Monica hesitated b
Could I ever really be over Gabe for good?
she wondered. He
everything she was looking for in a guy. If only he didn't kiss his ex-wife and if only he would just call her she might be able to forgive him. But Monica couldn't bring herself to make the first move. She had put her heart out there for him once, and it got trampled on. She wasn't
re she was ready for another heartbreak.
," Monica finally replied. "I'm just so confused. I feel angry and hurt, but I still want him, you know? I don't know if I'll ever get over him."
"I know how you feel." Claudette sympathized. "We've all been there before. Maybe you just need time."
"You're probably right," Monica admitted.
"And maybe you might think about dating again. Now don't look at me like that," Claudette added once she had seen the incredulous look on Monica's face. "I'm not saying you should start this weekend, but it might be good for you to meet other people...eventually."
Monica sat in her apartment getting ready for her date. She couldn't believe she was going out on a date. Even though she had been angry with him before, in her mind, she still harbored the hope that somehow she and Gabe would be able to work things out and get back together. But it had been three months, and she hadn't heard a word from him. Looking back on it, she knew she was partly to blame. She had dismissed him twice without giving him a chance to speak. As time passed by, she was able to see past her anger and hurt, and realize that Gabe might have had a reasonable explanation for everything. But now it was too late. She blew her chance.
He probably wanted nothing to do with her