The text went out to the posse at 2:23 pm:
We just broke up 🙁
Responses from the rest of our sextet came almost immediately:
I’m so sorry!
This was out the blue for them. Not entirely unexpected on my part.
Consolation calls came next. My attorney friend had the swiftest speed dial. Swamped with work — her job might kill her before the viral load ever reaches her house — she made the time for a consoling chat. The first, “Take care. I love you, my friend,” of the day.
Then Karen called. “Screw the quarantine!” she proclaimed. “Meet me on your patio in 20 minutes. I’m bringing supplies.” I knew alcohol and junk food were en route.
Without delay, I prepared for our safely distanced playdate. Chairs were positioned six feet apart. (Yes, I measured — fearful that my tears would cause me to under calculate the state-mandated range.) Side tables stacked with paper plates, napkins, disinfectant wipes, and a vitally important wine glass were placed by each. I unlocked the gate and impatiently waited.
Karen is a former gymnast — current personal trainer to an elite LA clientele. She’s Mighty Mouse in both stature and personality. “Here she comes to save the day!” echoed in my head as I anticipated her arrival. A huge plant with lavender spires and bronzed, spring-loaded legs soon bounded around the corner. Karen placed the lumbering foliage on my garden table and her sunny face was revealed. “I’ve got no idea what the hell this is, but it looked cheery,” she explained. “Sit tight. I’ll be back with the rest.”
Bags and bags of provisions were carted in: Prosecco, Fritos, Cheetos, gummy bears, red wine, chocolates and a slab of cake slathered in fudge. A perfect smorgasbord for a dejected spirit. We started with the sparkling wine. I threw in some fresh orange juice to “keep things healthy.” The salty snacks were our main course. We determined the wine and chocolate should be reserved for dessert.
My sorrows spilled out as the libations and carbs flowed in. We went over the particulars of the breakup; surveyed the peaks and valleys of my year-long relationship. I cataloged his shortcomings and acknowledged mine. Karen listened as I reminisced over the days of splendor, contemplating if settling was better than life without a plus one. She commiserated over each detail, seasoning my emotional stew with alternating “That bastard!” and “He treated you well.”
I sniffled and cried. Got indignant and fumed. Laughed at both his expense and mine. The Prosecco was soon depleted. The vino was uncorked.
We dove into the final course of our therapeutic feast. Gooey frosting was the icing on the cake for our forlorn conclusion: Imperfect love can’t last forever.
As she began to leave, Karen lamented she couldn’t reach out and hug me. She didn’t comprehend the potency of her visit. Effervescent bubbles were the tender kisses of friendship. Decadent chocolate was the embrace that soothed my broken heart. She braved a pandemic to let me know I was going to be ok — to remind me I was still loved.
Previously published on Medium.com.
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