I was dumped last week.

 

By a girl who smells like strawberries and wears bright colors.

 

The humiliation came in the form of a text message: different places… supercasual… if anything at all…

 

It should have been enough to stop me,

full stop,

THIS GIRL IS BAD NEWS, stop.

 

But it wasn’t enough.

 

I forwarded her text to five different friends instead.  

 

Their replies included the word bitch,

Reminded me that I am better/smarter/sexier/holier,

Had me laughing,

Remembering her racism

 

(“I’ll just get really, really tan” she said with a completely straight face when I lamented Portland’s lack of diversity).

 

It should have been enough to stop me,

full stop,

THIS GIRL IS BAD NEWS, stop.

 

But it wasn’t enough.

 

I decided we should play the drama out in front of a live, distracted audience.

 

We sat on wooden stools, separated by her text message and a huge wooden table, sipping beers from a Portlandia Witches’ Brew.

 

I told her she had hurt me, pressed my fist to my heart for emphasis.

 

She rattled off my flaws on her fingers,

 

Number one: I didn’t work as hard as her, what was up with those days I had taken off for a back injury?

 

IDK, that’s not a choice she would have made. Total turn-off.

 

Number two: The seven revolutions around the sun she had on me were completely obvious in my lack of maturity.

 

I once mentioned laughing at poop jokes with my four-year-old students, and that was when she realized how fundamentally different we were. She would never laugh at poop jokes. She wouldn’t even smile at poop jokes.

 

Poop jokes were beneath her.

 

That fact alone should have been enough to stop me,

full stop,

THIS GIRL IS BAD NEWS, stop.

 

But it wasn’t enough.

 

She went on (and I let her).

 

Number three (and I quote): I’m too deep.

 

My complicated emotions were getting in the way of her sparkly faery energy.

 

She was still riding the high from buying her Burning Man tickets.

 

The mention of my dead brother, the fact that I even had a dead brother, it was too much. Who wants to think of heavy stuff like that?

 

I was even more depressing than the state of the world right now– or maybe not, she had just stopped following the news altogether, she said, and now she was going to stop following me, too.

 

Y’all.

 

That definitely should have been enough to stop me,

full fucking stop,

THIS GIRL IS BAD FUCKING NEWS, stop.

 

But it wasn’t enough.

 

Because right after I flagged the waiter down,

Right after I begged him for a check with what I hoped was the right amount of desperation and pleading in my eyes,

Right after that:

 

She started crying.

 

All this deep talk about heavy stuff was hard for her, was spilling right out of her eyeballs and onto the table that separated us.

 

Insulting me was exhausting her.

 

I wish I could say I walked out then, inhaled a huge breath of misty sky and freedom.

 

Instead I reached deep into my pockets for the last pieces of my pride and set them on the table.

 

“Do you want to go smoke a joint?”

 

She sniffed, forced back her bright faery smile, reached out and scooped them up.

 

“Yes! I got an extra joint in case you said that.”

 

In hindsight, maybe she had swallowed up the last of my pride a long time ago. Because there sure wasn’t much left if she knew she could come to this table, speak the words she had spoken, and expect to go smoke a jay with me like we were old friends.

 

The thought made me want to stop,

full stop,

THIS GIRL IS BAD NEWS, stop,

SOUND ALL THE ALARMS, stop.

 

But what the hell?

 

I had already gone this far and the Witches’ Brew was making me tipsy and I could use a jay after all this anyways.

 

I trailed behind her to the park.

 

She offered me a hat.

 

Our faces were next to each other.

 

STOP STOP STOP.

 

And then we were kissing, four soft lips connecting, tongues reacquainting, hands finding faces and bodies and curves.

 

I had spent the nights leading up to this one fantasizing about this very moment and yet– now that it was here, I wanted it to stop.

 

Full stop.

 

I pulled away, the first time all night.

 

I realized pride doesn’t ever get used up, not forever. Because even when you think you’re out, all you need is a little bravery to make some more.

 

“Maybe we should meet up again,” she said, and I could tell she thought she had me knocked right back into her orbit.

 

I leaned close enough that my lips brushed hers.

 

And then I stopped.