Thank You to the Girls

Owen McGonigle

The world of dating and romance inflicts emotions, and subsets of feelings that hardly anything else can.  Through romance we can feel joy, love, pain, and in the worst case, grief.  Heartbreak is one of the worst killers.  The truth about heartbreak is that it doesn’t just break your heart; it breaks your soul, your mind, and everything it can get a hold on.  But what do we do to alleviate the all encompassing pain which heartbreak ignites?  How could one possibly move on from a struggle of this caliber? 

The answer is simple: we turn to our girls. 

Ariel, who was fresh out of the rubble of her own messy break up, slugged her tote bag onto the ground as she entered our room.  I, freshly induced into the coma of my own break up, laid in bed in the same fashion I had been for the week prior.  The Capricorn had just broken my heart, and truly, broken my heart in a way that I had never felt before.  I couldn’t eat.  I could barely force myself to sleep.  I couldn’t even think.  Yet there I was, wallowing in the pits of my own misery.  Ariel, on the other hand, took her break up as her latest blessing. 

“Owen,” she said, as her demeanor softened as she proceeded closer, “We gotta get you out of the house.”  Even as I glanced away from her, I could feel her inch closer.  Hesitant in her approach, I felt her soon near.  “Let’s go get food or something.”  

But I couldn’t muster the energy, both physical and mental, to respond.  All I could do was merely shrug, and hope that she would take that as an adequate response.  However, in true Sagittarius fashion, she did not take this as her final answer. 

“C’mon,” she said, as her hands reached the side of my bed, “You won’t feel any better just laying around here all day.”  I merely sighed, and rolled over to avoid any sight of her possible gaze.

Thankfully for me, Ariel took this as a sign of defeat, and merely retreated to her own side of the room.  My phone, which had been laying by my side the entire time, continued to buzz with notification which I planned to ignore.  

But the buzzing became a constant, as the vibration continued to rumble beneath my head.  Who the hell was calling me? I thought, and even my misery couldn’t stop me from my curiosity. 

Veronica Grey 

Without hesitation, I answered the call, and swiftly dropped the phone closer to my ear.  Veronica’s voice, which boasted the slightest of lisps beneath her Portuguese accent, was hard to miss, even over the phone. 

“Get up,” she exclaimed, which quite literally launched me into an upright position.  Across the room, Ariel’s eyes widened.

“What-,” I began, but Veronica was quick to continue over me.

“Ariel told me that you’ve been laying in bed all week,” she said, to which I couldn’t help but glance over at Ariel.  I had no doubt that she could hear her from my phone, and my change in perspective probably alerted her even further of what Veronica had said.  “Come over.  I’ll call the others, I’ll bring the drinks.” 

“But I-,” I replied, but, again, Veronica overpowered me. 

“Get dressed, and bring Ariel.  Don’t forget I have your location,” Veronica said, as she hung up the call on her end.  With my phone no longer in use, I dropped it to my side, and glanced over at Ariel, who was still staring with wide eyes.

“It’s a good excuse to wear a good outfit,” Ariel shrugged, as I couldn’t help but sigh. 

About an hour of fast makeup and a quick outfit change later, Ariel and hopped off of the uptown 1 train, and found ourselves in the Upper West Side.  I always had a fondness for the neighborhood, as I found it a bit more upscale compared to my own, but not as snobby as the Upper East.  With that, it only made perfect sense that Veronica had called this neighborhood home, while the rest of us found ourselves as creatures of downtown. 

Veronica’s apartment was a third floor walk-up, from a building that her father had owned for years.  With that being said, her rent had definitely seen a discount, but the price of it all was something I still did not want to face.  The apartment itself was quaint, with minimal decor, but enough natural light to boost anyone’s mood.  Perhaps that was Veronica’s intent in dragging me there.

“Oh thank god,” she said as the two of us passed the threshold of her apartment, “I lost your location somewhere in Midtown… and I thought you had turned around.”

“Nope,” I replied, “This one watched me the entire time.”  Ariel merely nodded.  In the living room, Cassandra, Cam, and Bella were already conversing in the living room.  Behind them, the late winter sun slowly faded away, while the energy of the room still stayed high.  Mariah, who had seemingly taken her wine glass into the bathroom with her, emerged back into the room with a smile.  

“Ugh, I was hoping the cards were going to be wrong with this one,” she said, as she passed me through the living room.  I couldn’t help but chuckle…. just a little.  Almost as if she hadn’t even noticed my arrival, Bella’s head shot up.

“Oh look who finally got here,” Bella exclaimed with a smile, obviously just a bit intoxicated.  She had somehow managed to put together an outfit where every color was completely different, but knowing her, I was not entirely shocked.  I couldn’t help but smile as I approached the rest of them in the living room.  Even before any words were said, or any thoughts exchanged, there was something about just seeing your friends that lifted your spirits.  Just about their presence and energy, the fact that, in all reality, they aren’t required to be there for you, but choose to anyway.

“Here, have a glass,” Cassandra said, as she pointed toward the extra glass on the table, and fixed the part in her bangs.  She had recently decided that bangs were going to be her look, and while they were mainly to disguise the extra inch of forehead which she wished to cover, they were cute nonetheless.  Bella and Cam, on the other hand, were busy chatting up a storm regarding Bella’s last romantic endeavor to Connecticut, where her new love interest resided.  (“I cannot believe you literally didn’t answer my FaceTime because you were in his bed,” Cam complained).  I told her that dating outside Manhattan was a dangerous game, but she decided she would take that risk.  Perhaps it was the bob.  Bobs tend to make people a little adventurous.  

Without any hesitation, I sat and claimed the glass that had been designated for me.  And with my seat, the silence in the room fell, almost as if they all knew of the conversation that would become inevitable upon my arrival.  Their bodies, while all welcoming to the invitation of my thoughts, straightened up just a bit.  Well, they did know exactly what I had come to talk about.  I guess the reality of my presence, however, brought it back.

“So how are you feeling?” Cassandra asked, as Veronica and Ariel walked back in behind us.  Ariel, who was probably still a bit mad I had declined her earlier plans for dinner, carried a bag of Cheez-Its into the room.

And, while every member of the room had heard the story of my romantic tragedy time and time again, I told it as if it was the first time.  Our first interaction, our first date, and I trickled on and on until I could to the present most point: our demise.  In all honesty, it was quite sad telling the entire story again.  To reflect on the certain moments of happiness in direct juxtaposition with my explicit moments of misery was quite a damper on the already darkened night.

But all the while, a weight had been lifted from my heart.  The true emotions that I didn’t know how to process, or even verbalize in my mind, suddenly felt explained, and valid.

I had questioned how one could mourn a relationship that never truly began.  It took me a while to call it a break up, but in talking it through, I realized that even without the official titles of it all, I was allowed to perceive it as a break up.  The question I still had to ask myself was: what next?  What do you do in the aftermath of your emotional turmoil, and who do you run to?  

The fact of the matter was that, whether I truly noticed it or not, I ran to my girlfriends every single time.  Of course it varied every time: sometimes it was a very long text, a FaceTime, a call, or moments like this.  I had a support group, and while they couldn’t exactly fix the pain that was inflicted on me, they did everything else they could. 

And with that, the weight off my heart cleared the fog on my mind.  Of course, a pinch of misery that I couldn’t really shake still clung to me, but I found myself finally able to think.  Even though my friends couldn’t exactly give me any answers that I may have been searching for, they were able to give me the ears that I needed.  Putting the words into the air allowed them to escape from my mind. 

And honestly, thank the lord for that one.

For the rest of the night, I allowed myself to have the sort of fun I hadn’t had in weeks.  Because while we had only been separated for a week, it took this to help me realize that I hadn’t even felt a genuine happiness when he was around.  So it wasn’t as though I had lost all my happiness with him, but it had merely been hidden, and only I could be the one to find it again. 

And with this, I found a sort of peace in it all.

But for this I had to thank the girls.  Thank you, truly, for dragging me out of bed.