It’s been six months since the EX-factor and I shared breathing space. I’ve been on an instant gratification streak. I figure there’s nothing wrong with it, as long as all the parties involved are still having fun. Right?
Apparently, I’m wrong.
“You shouldn’t be so quick to mingle,” Peter disproves of my post-breakup rebound marathon. Join the club. “Especially if you just broke up! Just be alone for a while.”
EXCUSE ME? The irony is that HE is THE quintessential player. While with the EX-factor, Peter used to taunt me with his unparalleled bouts of debauchery. He was the first person I thought to ring after it dawned on me how much fun I had to catch up on as a single slice.
“You will get used to it,” he catches my grimace in the cafe window’s reflection. “You’ll start to like being single.”
I am kicking myself for telling him about my microwave timeline — this self-imposed quest to expedite the healing process and “move on” within a designated time frame.
“You can’t expect to just sprint from one relationship into the next,” Peter is known NOT to mince words. “Love doesn’t work that way. You can’t go looking for it! Take your time to heal.”
In his defense — he’s trying to be helpful. So is EVERYONE and their mother. Even his: Peter tells me his mother sends her love and wants me to spend more time with their family. He and I go way back. We were aisle buddies on a turbulent return trip from Asia. Sparks flew, numbers were exchanged. Timing wasn’t on our side, though — we were both stuck in pre-pubescent bliss.
“Trust me,” he’s flashes his boyish lopsided grin and scoops the last of the creme brulee towards me. He’s almost shy. “Love chooses you.”
Peter drops those three GINORMOUS words onto my heart like a Wile E. Coyote-sized anvil. A simple statement — profound on so many different levels — pummels me like a hellish hangover.
He won’t let me slide: “Hangout with friends and do stuff. What’s your hurry? There’s really no rush to do anything of significance. The advantages of being single are you can do what you want, when you want with who you want AND not worry about anyone else.” Exactly. So this is where I want to play harder. Just NOT hard to get.
The waitress catches my surly expression and hastens over to refill our water glasses. After the nosedive our conversation has taken, can you blame me? Peter was supposed to initiate me into phase 3 of my microwave timeline — Friends with Benefits. Instead of my jet setter playboy buddy, I’m now stuck with another BIG BROTHER who just wants the “best for [me].” UnFUCKingbelievable. Literally.
“Unfortunately it takes time,” Peter is going full force with fortune-cookie wisdom today. And this is after we decide to opt out of our customary quest to fill up on the best Dim Sum in Daly City. “So, don’t expect to feel good anytime soon. You don’t have to be a hermit. Just don’t try to replace [the EX-factor] or try to date. Make new friends. Hang out with current friends. Do stuff. Keep busy.”
I’m sullen. Why hide my disappointment any longer. I sip the last of my espresso. It’s cold AND bitter. Dammit.
“I promise, you will start to feel better in a few months,” He’s not patronizing, but he’s not apologetic either. I was hoping for some delightful distraction, but I have to hand it to Depeche Mode — they were right about GOD’s sense of humor. “You have to be realistic. It’s not going away overnight.”
BUT THAT’S ALL I WANTED — ONE NIGHT. Check please!
I admit I’m not at all gracious when it comes to the whole “getting-over-the-EX” bit. My genetic make-up further proves I have a tremendously LOW threshold for pain. Which makes absolutely NO sense, since I am NOT immune to making painful mistakes. Again, God’s sense of humor, right?
Peter walks me to my car. He grabs my hand, squeezes it, then grins: “I’ll catch you before I head back to Tokyo tomorrow afternoon.”
Sure. Great. I give him a half-hearted hug and face rush hour traffic. Alone.