Monday, June 20, 2016

Chapter 22 (6/20/16)

I pulled into the grocery store parking lot fairly early on Saturday.  I’d ended up in bed shortly after I got home from my date, which led to an early wake up.  I figured I should take advantage of that and hit the store early to avoid the crowds.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one with that idea, and the parking lot was much fuller than I anticipated.  Oh well, it was definitely better than it would be later on.  I was about to get out of my car when I saw an SUV go past that looked exactly like Kevin’s.  Same make and model, same color, everything.  I froze, not even sure if it was his.  My eyes followed it until it drove out of the parking lot, and I was relieved.  Then I realized I hadn’t even made a grocery list.
I pulled out my phone and opened my notes app, but I couldn’t remember what I needed or even what I had been thinking about cooking this week.  As I stared at the blank note on my phone, my eyes filled with tears.  I tried to fight them, but eventually I dropped my phone into my lap, covered my face with my hands, and leaned my head against the steering wheel, giving into the full on ugly crying. 
Once I had regained some semblance of control, I fumbled with my phone and dialed a number.  Chelsea answered on the second ring.  “Jenna!  I was just thinking about you.”
“I’m a mess,” I managed before I started crying again.
“Jenna, what’s wrong?” Chelsea asked, sounding concerned.  “Hey, breathe.  Calm down.  Tell me who to kill.”
“No one.  Kevin.  The asshole I went out with last night.  I don’t even know,” I choked out between sobs and hiccupping breaths. 
Chelsea let me calm down and then she said, “What did Kevin do now? Who is the asshole you went out with last night?  And why are you crying?”
“I’m crying because I forgot to make a grocery list,” I said bitterly. 
“Well that seems like a very un-Jenna-like reason to cry,” Chelsea pointed out.
“I don’t even know who I am anymore,” I grumbled, sniffling and rubbing furiously at my eyes.  “I’m sitting in the grocery store parking lot sobbing because I forgot to make a list and can’t remember what I need, I almost panicked when I saw an SUV that looked like Kevin’s, and I’m going on all these terrible dates with ridiculous people from that stupid dating site you made me join, and I don’t actually even want to date anyone!  See?  I’m a fucking mess.”
“Jenna, you’ve been divorced for about 10 minutes.  I think you’re supposed to be a mess.”  I didn’t say anything.  I didn’t know what to say.  I just wanted to go home.  “Look, when my mom died, it was really bad for awhile.  And then it got better.  But even after it got better, some days were awful for no particular reason.  I’d just be going about my business, thinking I was fine, and then grief would punch me in the face.  The next day I’d be okay again.  I imagine it’s similar when you get divorced.”
“Yeah,” I agreed softly.  “That sounds about right.”
“Look, groceries can wait.  Go home, go for a run, take a long shower, do something relaxing.  Try again tomorrow.  You’ll feel better then.”  I knew I could count on Chelsea to get me calmed down and pointed in the right direction.  I thanked her and we hung up, then I started my car and drove home.

I considered canceling my date with Mike that night, because I still was just feeling a bit off, but I hoped that being social with someone whose company I enjoyed would help.  I realized my mistake halfway through dinner when Mike gently asked if I was okay.  “Yeah,” I said, giving him what I hoped was a bright smile.  “I just didn’t sleep well last night, I’m a little tired.”  The lie rolled off my tongue before I could even stop to think, and I added guilt to my tumultuous list of current emotions. 
“Well, I won’t keep you out too late, then,” he said, smiling kindly.  I felt even worse for lying.  Not that the lie I told was a big deal, but I hated that it happened so easily.
We finished dinner and Mike offered to take me home.  Once we got there--against my better judgment--I invited him in.  We put on a movie and cuddled on the couch and I was feeling better until he brushed my hair back from my face and kissed my forehead lightly.  To my horror, I started to cry again.
“Whoa,” Mike said, surprised.  “Jenna, what’s wrong?”
“I don’t know,” I sniffled.  “I’m just having one of those days, I guess.  This is so weird.”  Mike looked like he had no idea what to do with me, but he rubbed my back while I got it together.  Finally, I looked at him shyly with eyes that were probably bloodshot as hell.  “You know, I’m really sorry.”  He started to interrupt me and shrug off my apology, but I shook my head.  “No, I think you’re really great, but I shouldn’t be dating.  I’m not ready, this is a mess.  I think maybe you should go.  I’m sorry.”
Mike nodded.  “Sure,” he said.  He looked confused and I felt terrible.  He carefully untangled himself from me and stood.  At the door, he turned and looked at me awkwardly for a few seconds before he said, “So I guess I probably won’t see you again.”
“Yeah, I guess not,” I replied, no less awkward.
He looked around and shrugged.  “Well, enjoy your house, then.”  And then he left.  I slumped back into the corner of the couch and cried some more.  I’d cried more today than I had total since the day I found the condom wrapper in Kevin’s pocket.

I stayed slumped into the couch for a really long time.  I had no real idea how long it was, I just stayed there until I realized how uncomfortable I was, then I carefully untangled myself.  I pulled my laptop out, logged into the dating site, and deleted my profile.  Then I walked over to my purse, fished out the cocktail napkin with last night’s waiter’s name and number on it, ripped it up, and threw it away.  Satisfied by my destruction of anything related to dating, I went upstairs and got in bed, not even bothering to get undressed.


  1. yikes! that went downhill fast.

  2. this sounds so real and relatable!

  3. This is so real. having just gone through a divorce I definitely have had those days. Its not about missing the person usually about readjusting to a brand new life. Awesome blog!!!

  4. I hope everything's ok