“Exactly two months until Christmas,” I said to you.
Exactly a year ago.
It was in your car with only the light on the radio illuminating the interior. Outside was the terrible landscape of a small town I didn’t grow up in so it wasn’t beautiful. Just broken branches and dead leaves.
Your car is pretty shitty but you’re proud of it, I guess. There were two coffee cups up front and the leather seats smelled like smoke. That night you took something from me and I’ll never have the chance to get it back.
Almost a year ago I met your ex-girlfriend. She called me one night after you left my side. We spoke for about two hours, comparing our timelines and coming to the conclusion that you were seeing both of us at once. But it was fine because I hadn’t laughed like that with someone in a long time. She seemed relaxed with talking to me. It was easy talking to her about you because she understood. Finally, someone understood.
“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” said William Congreve. He was right. Because I was angry; we both were, her and I. We plotted and we schemed. But eventually we got over you and here’s how.
On New Year’s Eve she picked me up and we went to go get coffee. We bonded while talking about how much of an asshole you are and how you have shitty taste in cars. As she ate a grilled cheese sandwich and I sipped my cocoa I knew we’d be best friends. Afterwards we sat in the car and took our first selfie together.
February 14th, 2015. Valentine’s day. Her birthday. The day you broke up with her. I made her a cake with pink frosting and we drove to the mall with her little brother in the front seat (who hates your guts). We ran into you at a clothing store and it was awkward seeing the two of you in front of me, your eyes deliberately avoiding mine. Maybe out of guilt? I don’t know. Needless to say, you ran away and you didn’t even tell her happy birthday after knowing her for six years.
In March we took a trip to Ohio. You aren’t mentioned much in this part of our lives because you weren’t in it but I feel the need to discuss how wonderful it was because, if it weren’t for you, it wouldn’t have happened. We didn’t discuss you at all on this trip besides breakfast the morning we set out on the road because my brother made fun of your name while eating his bacon (“He’s named after a river for ___’s sake…”). We had an amazing time without you. Without your memory. I didn’t even think of you when I hung out with her at this point; she was just my best friend now.
August 6th, 2015. We went to Pride because of my sister and also because we aren’t judgmental fucks like you and your friends. We had a blast and I stayed at her apartment that you visited only once even though she visited you constantly. Every time you needed her.
In September she had to go to the E.R. The halls smelled like disinfectant and the Pope was on the TV above her hospital bed with crinkly, paper sheets. She had to get blood work and I held her hand throughout it. She posted about it on social media hoping that you might react or ask if she were alright. But you didn’t. She laughed about it, pretending like she didn’t care. But I knew.
So here we are. October 25th, 2015. The time has come and gone. I have survived through treacherous details in both my life and hers. We have endured hardships like I have never experienced before. The nights have lasted so long with smoke filled windows and coffee. Sometimes she buys your brand of cigarettes and I tell her to throw them out.
Because we don’t need you.
But tonight I’m thinking about the night that you grabbed me by my hips and pulled me against your mouth and how silly I was for thinking badly of you. But now I’m thanking you. Because you gave me a chance to live this past year with the greatest friend I’ve ever had; a girl whose heart was broken by your contempt. I kissed the devil that night but I found peace in the aftermath.
So dear ex-whatever-the-hell-you-were, tonight I think of you and I thank you.
You gave me the chance of a lifetime. To be loved, not romantically, but sincerely. Turns out it wasn’t you that I was supposed to know last October.
It was my best friend.