I’m lounging on my hotel room bed, and I’m scrolling through the movie options on iTunes. After my run around Stanley Park, I showered and got straight into my super comfy PJs, let my hair dry curly, and prepared myself for a night off from everything. My phone dings with a message from Selena: it’s a photo of her baby sister Gracie. I don’t know if I have ever seen a cuter infant; there’s not even a trace of that weird old-man look some babies have. I zoom in. Nope, this is the cutest kid of all time. I text back, I cannot wait to meet her. Does she want to come to my show in Vancouver tomorrow night?? I go back to my laptop, to peruse my options — an old black-and-white movie? A thriller? Or should I finally start watching Parenthood, since everyone says I will love-love-love it?
My phone dings again, and I glance back at it, happy to be saved from my Friday night indecision. Guess who texted me to say congrats about Gracie in sweetest way poss? Help. Instantly I sit up, and instead of texting back, I call Selena. This is, like, Red Alert Relationship Drama.
“On again, off again relationships are the worst,” I say when she picks up.
Selena laughs at my opening line, and sighs. “Tay, what do I do?”
Before I can even think of some sage advice to impart, Selena starts talking, and it all comes out in a rush: “I just want to call him and tell him everything — about how adorable and amazing and inspiring Gracie is, about how much I wish I could share all the awesomeness that is going on with me right now with the album and tour and Breakers. How I always feel like there’s something missing because I can’t be with him. But there are all these rumors flying around the gossip sites, and I know that’s not at all a reliable source of information on my ex-boyfriend, but everyone keeps texting me these links and photos — ugh, the photos. And the thing is if the rumors are even a little bit true, I would just be walking right back into a world of hurt.”
I take a breath and am about to reply when she dives back in: “I know you’re not his biggest fan right now. The whole world knows that, Miss Stick Out Your Tongue When You Think I’m Not Looking. But I don’t want to bug my mom with my love life drama right now, because the woman deserves any rest she can get! So do you mind advising me, Oh Queen of Relationships? I mean, I know that you get why I love him — loved him? I don’t even know! I hate not knowing what I feel or what I should do.”
I wait to see if she’s got more to get off her chest or if this pause is my cue to jump in. I knew she had been holding back when we had a picture-perfect day in Connecticut last week, eating pizza and ice cream and wandering by the water, and I didn’t want to push her to talk when she clearly just needed a fun friend day. But I feel a rush of gratitude that she is turning to me to talk about this, despite my past bluntness (to put it nicely) about how I don’t believe they are right for each other anymore.
“Sel, first of all, you can always, always talk to me about anything. Even if you were dating my least favorite ex — though why would you? I mean, yuck — you could come to me with anything and I would be there for you. You poor thing, I remember feeling that mixed-up, uncertain way you do now. My situation with Jake wasn’t, like, an exact parallel to yours with Justin, but I can still vividly recall how much I wanted to reach out to him when I knew I shouldn’t. To return his text. And I almost did . . .
* * *
It was two in the morning, and I couldn’t sleep. I’d given up on lying in my new bed, still as a corpse with my eyes refusing to stay shut for more than a minute, and now I was pacing in the living room, with all the lights on. If I can’t sleep, I thought, at least unpack some boxes and settle in, right? That thought still freaked me out a little: I now had a house in Los Angeles. “I am technically a homeowner in her twenties,” I said aloud to the empty room. “And a freaky one who talks to herself in the middle of the night.”
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