Kara’s voice is overly cheery. After years of friendship, I know when Kara is about to deliver a sledgehammer of bad news. It usually follows Kara’s super chipper greeting.
“Hi, Kara. What’s wrong?”
“Wrong? Nothing’s wrong. Why would you assume something is wrong?”
I sigh. “How long have we known each other? Come on, tell me what’s wrong. I can’t take the suspense.”
There’s a moment of silence, as if Kara is weighing up exactly what to tell me. “Have you looked at Dylan’s Facebook today?”
Unease skitters through me, followed by a wave of nausea and nervousness. God, what did he post on there?
“Okay. Well, maybe it’s best you don’t for now.”
My friend’s voice is both soft and pleading, sending my stomach plummeting to my toes.
“I mean it, Claire. Don’t do it.”
It’s too late. I’ve already turned the computer on and I’m bringing up Dylan’s Facebook profile.
“I won’t.” I can’t be on the phone to Kara when I look. “I have to go now. I need to hang the washing out. I’ll give you a call back in a bit, okay.”
I hang up before Kara can talk me out of it. I’m shaking as I sit down at the computer in my office nook and search through the photos that have been uploaded. The first few are of Dylan and some guys who look as fit as Dylan – clearly people he works with at the camp.
Then I come across a photo of Dylan with a girl. She’s blonde and beautiful, and standing by his side. I feel sick and anxious, and I’m shaking more now than before. In the next photo, the blonde – tagged as Lana Miranda – has a drink in her hand, her cheeks are a little pink and she is staring at Dylan as if she wants to jump his bones.
Clearly, the woman is a little intoxicated, but that only heightens my anxiety.
It’s the third and fourth photo of Dylan with Lana that drives an ice pick through my heart. In both photos, Dylan is dancing with Lana. The woman is practically hanging off of him as she stares up at him with eyes full of adoration. Dylan is looking down at her, an indulgent smile on his face as he holds her up.
I put a hand over my heart and walk over to the couch, taking a seat and trying to breathe through the pain in my heart. No wonder Kara called to check on me.
No wonder Kara told me not to look. Photos of Dylan with another woman are the last thing I need to see when I’m trying to mend my heartbreak. But don’t I deserve to know Dylan is getting on with his life? It would be ridiculous to sit here and imagine he misses me as much as I miss him. Do I really expect him not to go back to having fun with the opposite sex now that we’re over?
Logically, I know he hasn’t betrayed me.
And yet I can’t deny I’m devastated at how quickly he’s replaced me – at how easily he’s moved on from what we had.
You didn’t really have anything though, did you? It wasn’t a relationship. It wasn’t anything more than sex and fun. And now maybe this is what you need to see to get back to dating and looking toward the future.
I stand and walk towards the desk again, taking out my journal. I open it up to the front page – the place where I’ve written down every quality I want in a man.
Funny how four months ago, every point I’d written had seemed necessary and important. Painstaking thought and preparation had gone into compiling the personality that appeared on the paper before me. I’d been so clear in my vision of what I wanted, but as I look through the list now, it doesn’t scream perfect mate. Instead of seeing words like reliable, punctual, good job, never breaks arrangements, I see boring, staid, lacks passion, lacks drive.
Worse still, the list is like the carbon copy of myself. No wonder I never fell in love with any of the men I dated. I can’t fall in love with myself. Love myself? Sure. But fall in love? Not going to happen. It took my complete opposite to complement me – to shine a light on the parts of myself I’d pushed down into the dark for fear they would erode any security I was working towards.
Without another thought, I rip the list out of my journal and tear it up into a hundred different pieces, throwing it in the trash. Maybe it would be more cathartic to burn the damn thing, but the list is gone. I don’t want that type of man anymore. No, I want someone who knows me. Someone who isn’t afraid to have fun. Someone who doesn’t take life too seriously, and who pushes me out of my comfort zone. A daredevil.
Essentially, I want Dylan.