I had a moment of weakness. I texted him. Against all of my better judgement and my friend’s advice, I reached out.
I’d spent the better part of the day watching Sex and the City and drinking sparkling Rosé. I should have known better than to watch this show during my break up. I was watching the episode where Steve and Aiden open a bar. Carrie goes with Miranda for support, sees Aiden, and ultimately decides she wants to get back with him. She calls, hangs up, calls, hangs up. (I’d love to be able to do that. Fucking Caller ID.) She decides to get online and send him an email, ‘I miss you’. In the end, after a bold gesture or two, they end up back together. So, that was my bold gesture, a simple text, one word. And then, I waited and stared a hole through my phone waiting to see the bubble with the ellipses pop up. Was I hoping that this was going to be my bold gesture and we’d end up together? A girl certainly is hopeful. The second I turned my head, there it was. His reply. I felt those same butterflies all over again seeing his name on my screen.
‘Hi babe. How are you?’
Ahhh, it felt so good to be his babe again for just a second. I’m torturing myself, I know, but I’m a glutton for punishment. I miss him, goddammit. I text my two girlfriends that have been some of the biggest supporters in my not contacting him.
‘Don’t be mad at me.’
Of course, they weren’t mad at me. Just concerned. I had been doing so well at contacting them when I had wanted to contact him. Then, I just had this surge of energy go through me where I didn’t have anyone around to slap the phone out of my hand, no sense of self-control, and I just did it. I hit SEND instead of backspace.
So after a little small talk, I’m expecting a phone call from him. What the fuck are we going to talk about? Surely, not the demise of our relationship. Right? Or am I allowed to bring it up? I’m certainly NOT going to have any expectations but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t anxious and excited to just hear his voice.
I have this coworker, Harrison, who has sort of worked his way into becoming one of the girls. His girlfriend is the epitome of kindness and authenticity and, boy, has she put up with some shit from him. I don’t know what she sees in him to have made her put up with his bullshit in the beginning of their relationship three plus years ago.
He had told her he didn’t want a relationship. He was fucking other girls in addition to her. Basically, being a fuckboy. ‘What the fuck was wrong with this girl?’, I asked him while he was standing in my office one day. His response was that she saw the potential in him. Yeah, no shit, we’re girls. We like projects. Have you ever seen even one of our Pinterest boards? Regardless, eventually, they were exclusive.
But he was always fucking up and then apologizing to her for fucking up and giving the lame excuses that he was trying to be better, and he was finding himself, and therapy, and blah, blah, blah. He, too, was a self-proclaimed bad boy. But every excuse he used always seemed to be just enough to shut her up and keep her around. Then one day, she had to go through his phone to find something. He knew she’d be in there so it wasn’t like she was snooping yet she stumbled upon a ton of images and texts that would wreck a girl. She freaked out. They had a spat. Yet, she surprised him: She said she wasn’t going to break up with him for this. No, she demanded that he prove to her that he can treat her better and with respect. So what did he do? He immediately went outside to wash her car and thought about what he’d done to hurt her.
She had challenged him to do better and be better. Sure, he had been a dick but he never wanted to hurt this woman. He had a woman very sure of who she was standing in front of him, choosing to be with him, and setting the bar very high. He had a lot of proving to do. And it all worked out, is still working out. She does acts of kindness to make his life easier and it’s never with the intention to have something done in return. She thoroughly enjoys doing thoughtful things for him and he’s been a changed man every since.
When does that switch go off for a boy to become a man? How many women do you have to fuck? How many hearts do you have to break before you decide ‘I’m done treating a woman like a mere play thing?’ Every reformed man I’ve spoken to in my life has told me it’s because of a woman. Perhaps, this is my moment to demand that the next man in my life, whether it be (ex)Boyfriend or a new one, to treat me like something he’s earned, instead of something he’s owned.
And, I guess I can make my case on that when my phone rings.