"She's moved on from me, hasn't she?" Two of my best friends, Sam and Brett, and I are sitting in a booth at Steak 'n' Shake. We're on a double date. My girlfriend, Lexi, has just gone to the bathroom to respond to a text she received. Brett nods sympathetically.
"What do I do?" I groan. Before we began dating, Lexi and I were really good friends, so breaking up with her doesn't seem reasonable.
"Talk to her about it." Brett suggests.
Sam looks at him like he's lost his mind.
"What is he supposed to say to her? 'Sorry you're not interested in me anymore?'"
"No, but it's better to be honest than keep pretending nothing's wrong."
"I hate to admit it, but I think Brett has a point." I tear my napkin to shreds. I don't want to be having this conversation. In all honesty, I can't imagine what it would be like if Lexi and I broke up. We've been going out for months. She's the one person who understood about my parents and didn't get uncomfortable when I told her I took medication. She knows my deepest secrets.
"You don't have to be mean about it. Ask her. Maybe we're misinterpreting her behavior and she doesn't want to break up with you at all."
"Maybe." I respond. Yeah, right. No matter how much I try and deny it, she's been acting strange for awhile now.
Lexi comes back from the bathroom and is ready to go.
"I have to get home early and study." She boldly lies.
Sam and Brett both stand up abruptly, chairs scraping against the floor. "We better get going too." Sam says. "We've got to do a presentation for Brit Lit and I haven't even started mine. It's due Friday."
He mouths, call us if you need anything.
I nod okay. This definitely isn't going to be easy. There's a pit developing in the bottom of my stomach and I think I'm going to be sick all over the floor. Lexi and I walk to the car in silence. Once we get inside, her cell phone starts to vibrate. She reaches for it, but doesn't look at the message.
"I noticed your phone went off a lot tonight." I say nervously. I sound like a jealous husband. What am I doing, keeping tabs on her? Lexi doesn't say anything at all.
"Do you want to break up with me?" I blurt out. So much for being tactful. Great job, Nikki. You'll definitely win her back that way.
"What? No. I don't know." She answers quickly. She looks at her phone again and I wonder who He is.
"It's okay if you do." I lie. "I understand."
"Oh. It's just... I don't think I'm ready to be in a long-term relationship." She confesses. "I was thinking maybe we should see other people. I've met somebody who I think I might like."
"Oh yeah?" My stomach is queasy again. I do not like the way this is headed. How could she have found somebody so fast?
"Yeah, his name is Brian."
"You're not mad at me, are you?"
"No, of course not." When did I get to be such a damned liar? My hands shake as I start the car. I almost tell her to get out and walk, but don't. I have to be a good friend and stay relatively calm. You can do this, Nikki. You just have to stay calm.
"So, how did you meet this Brian guy?"
"At school. We talk online a lot too. He's really nice. I think you might like him."
She has got to be kidding me. I don't even know him and I hate him. He's been chatting up my girlfriend.
We don't talk the rest of the ride home.
I get through the front door to my house and anger overwhelms me to the point that I can't even see straight. I swing my fist at the wall, miss, and knock over one of my mom's picture frames. It shatters against the hallway floor. "Shit!" I yell. Neither of my parents are home. I scream to fill the voice they created. Where are they? They should be here to help me through this. My girlfriend and best fucking friend. Did everybody decide to just up and leave me at the same fucking time?
"Fuck!" I would call Sam and Brett, but the fact that they're still a couple, holding hands and happily going out witch each other, serves as a mockery to me. Why would she cheat on me? Wasn't I good enough for her? How could she just throw it all away like that and think that I was okay with it? That I didn't mind her seeing someone else? She couldn't really be that dense. I leave the broken glass and climb upstairs to my bedroom.
I want to have a meltdown. Go ape shit. Call Lexi and tell her what a bitch she is. There are so many thoughts going through my head at once I can't do anything at all. When things finally start to settle down, I convince myself none of these things are really worth it. I recall something I learned in therapy and make myself name and describe my surroundings. It takes about ten minutes. Hell, I tell myself, it's not like I can't have other girlfriends.
It doesn't make it any easier though.