The Year of Silence

I saw him twice in The Year of Silence.

The first time was on Halloween, a few months after our blow up, and I was standing in line with two girlfriends outside of a bar, the bar we used to frequent together, dressed as Slutty Cowgirl, waiting to get inside to drink and dance the night away. It didn’t surprise me when I saw him walking out with her, leaving for the night early, I assumed I would see him, I had wanted to see him. Out he came, dressed as a sheep fucker, which to this day I have no idea why that is a thing, but I didn’t ask what it was about because one, what do you say to someone that has a sheep stuffed animal attached to their privates and two, he only offered a quick hello, a side glance and kept moving, his little twit attached to his arm, glaring at me the whole time. I’m not sure what she was, because she was basically just dressed as herself, a dumb fucking slut, and it was hard to differentiate from her daily slut wear, though she did resemble Little Ho Peep, which I suppose would make sense with the whole sheep thing going on. No part of their stupid couple outfit amused me and I pretended I didn’t care about their little exit, and went right back to flirting with Snap, Krackle and Pop, the three douchebags standing in line in front of us.

The second time I saw them was in the parking lot at our old apartment. I was there to pick something up and they happened to be standing there when I pulled up. We exchanged pleasantries, fake pleasantries, I wished she would die a painful and slow death in my head and they walked away. It made me sick. I hated seeing him, I hated seeing them, I hated him, I hated her. I hoped they both got hit by a fucking truck on the way to whatever miserable place they were off to.

I left, feeling defeated and tormented, and went back to my apartment for a night of binge drinking my sorrows away. I began my attempt at drinking a 12 pack, and lined up an evening alone with nothing but dramatic shows to watch. I wanted to own my sadness, I wanted to own everyone’s sadness, the whole wide world’s sadness, and so I started with Grey’s, dove face first into The Office and planned on ending the evening watching The Notebook until I burned a hole in that DVD.

I watched an episode of Grey’s Anatomy first, back when it wasn’t stupid, when Meredith and McDreamy couldn’t figure their shit out but spent a lot of time sharing silence and awkward sexual tension in elevators. You know which episodes I’m talking about. The ones where just as McDreamy would start to say something like, “About last night…” and Meredith would be all, oh my god, he’s going to finally ask me to stay, to be his, to be his person, and then the fucking elevator door would open and some ex wife of McDreamy’s would appear and ruin my life and Meredith’s.

I started to cry. I started to cry the ugly type of cry, and I was sobbing, and I was half laying off the couch, crying for Meredith and crying for me and my own McDreamy. WE WERE GREY’S ANATOMY WHY DIDN’T HE LOVE ME? I fumbled for the remote and flipped to one of my favorite episode of The Office, Season Two finale, Casino Night, obviously the one where Jim and Pam are standing outside and Jim finally tells Pam he loves her and they kiss and I had been waiting the entire season for that very perfect moment to happen and I was obviously Pam and I should have been kissing Chris in the darkness or at the very least some sketchy back alley in Dupont and I started to cry harder, making awful sobbing noises, now laying on the floor with my head down, snotting profusely into the dirty rug beneath me.

(In case there are people not as pathetic as I was, here is the clip of the turning point of Jim and Pam because it’s a good one and we will always be our own Jim and Pam and if there are people that don’t understand this, I’m sorry then, we can’t be friends. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNOVQoVNSCg)

I woke up the next morning at 4am with my clothes on, beer bottles laying on their sides next to me, the cat sitting on my face because she was an asshole. I woke up with an awful headache, the kind that pounds behind your eye sockets, like there’s a tiny, angry man standing in your ear, smashing your temple with a hammer. My heartache, though, was far worse than my headache. I was beginning to believe I’d never see him again. I’d never have my moment in the streets, a scene that involved drinking and declarations and How to Save a Life playing in the background as our film score. I WANTED MY FUCKING FILM SCORE WITH CHRIS.

And then there was hope.

It was May 27, 2006 and I was in the middle of attempting to arm bar a friend in a vodka fueled wrestling/kick boxing battle of extreme proportions. I was red in the face, wheezing and sweating profusely, refusing defeat as I was being bent into a sweaty and belligerent pretzel.

“You will never fucking beat meeeeeee,” I spewed, split flying, and I launched myself off the couch onto them, missing and slamming hard on the floor. I was in the middle of watching an equally important fight on pay per view, the Hughes v. Gracie fight, and my love for Hughes, King of the Arm Bar, at the time was strong and undying. He was winning, my excitement only encouraged more vodka drinking, but at that moment, I was recovering from having the wind knocked out of me, and I was wheezing and sweating in the spot where I landed like a ton of bricks.

My phone rang across the room and I bolted for it, looked at the screen and thought to myself, a Boston number? Who could be calling me from the 617 OH MY FUCKING GOD HE WAS CALLING ME. My hands started to shake and I walked quickly up the stairs so I could answer the call in silence, alone.

“Hello?” I pretended to not know who it was.

“Hi.” His voice was like a swift kick to the stomach.

“Hi.” It wasn’t that I didn’t want to offer more, I didn’t know what to say, where to start. All of the conversations I had planned in my head for an entire year somehow disappeared immediately. My hands were still shaking and I thought my heart was going to thump itself out of my chest, rip itself straight out of my body and launch itself on the floor in front of me dramatically. I had to remind myself to breathe. I was on the border of a full blown panic attack, and I needed to get my emotional shit together before I started hyperventilating on the phone, a surely awkward response to the phone call I had been waiting for for a fucking lifetime.

“I didn’t delete your number. I didn’t delete your number because I couldn’t imagine never talking to you again.”

It was 11 and I could hear that he was outside of the bar, and without having to ask, I knew which bar, our bar, the bar we had sat at hundreds of nights together, shit talking, watching games, pretending we didn’t like each other, pretending we were just friends.

“How have you been? When did you guys break up?” There was no point in me screwing around. I didn’t need him to tell me he was single again. I knew the day I moved out of his house I’d never hear from him again if his little shitshow of a girlfriend remained in the picture.

He laughed. I know him too well, even with the time that had passed, and he knew it.

I briefly wondered, though, how it took her a full year to ruin their relationships for good, what I hoped was for good. Surely they had broken up once or twice in the year I was gone. It seemed sometimes that this one would never fucking go away. This one, The Worst Girlfriend on Earth, she was a nightmare packaged in a tiny body with massive tits, which is one reason I assumed she was the girlfriend. It certainly wasn’t her intelligence, as the most stable job she had in the two years I knew her was her stint as a florist. Who in the fuck transitions from a waitress to a florist? Seriously, she was like the Miley Cyrus you see now in the tabloids. The one with the stupid boy hair, with her gross tongue always hanging out of her mouth, with a dildo strapped to her crotch, humping the air and wearing latex and tight clothes and shit that just makes absolutely no sense. I had honestly seen her hump the air on a number of occasions.

“Do you want to get together this week? Do you want to get drinks?” I could tell he was smiling and I was smiling so hard my fucking face was about to crack in a million pieces.

“Mmmm, I’ll see if I’m free one day.” And then I laughed, because for drinks with him, I was free every day for the rest of my life. I’m pretty sure he knew that.

“Oh, we’ll see I guess. I have to get back inside. I’ll talk to you later.”

“I’ve missed you.” I blurted it too quickly, like I was afraid I would never get the chance to say it again. I wanted to seem so casual but I wanted to never see his back as he walked away from me again.

He didn’t say anything for a second. My palm were sweating and I didn’t dare to swallow, afraid of making a sound or choking on my own spit and dying in the middle of the most important phone call of my adult life.

“I’ve missed you, too.” And we both just sat there, letting it all hang in the air for a brief moment in time.

I hung up the phone and threw myself on my back on my bed. I was going to get my motherfucking film score moment.

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