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Guest Blog: Aftershocks

We toasted to things like ‘doing regrettable things because you might later regret that you didn’t.’… And at the climax of all this mirth, suddenly my pocket vibrates. It’s her.”

I’m really excited to share our latest guest blog with you. I like that adulthood is about processing — thinking about people and events and what they mean for our continued evolution of self.  This guest blogger shares some perspective on life after a break-up in a really thoughtful and nuanced way, filled with imagery of dark bars and lascivious innuendos woven into an expert narrative on self-exploration and evaluation.  When I first read his piece, I kept thinking about it many times during the day because I found it so interesting and compelling. Our guest blogger is actually a professional writer in Arizona, and thus has given me a pseudonym of “The Vernacular Assassin” to preserve his professional ethos.  This is his first foray into blogging, and I hope he will continue sending us guest posts because, my goodness, this boy can write! 

Aftershocks

By The Vernacular Assassin

It was about two weeks before the end when my breakup sensors started going off. She was picking fights about little things.  My foot was spending more time in my mouth than in my shoes.  Bedroom moments had become tainted with exasperation from interminable arguments. Spooning had virtually ceased.  After protracted exit negotiations on a recent Sunday morning, we indulged a final time in that one thing we had no disagreements about, and I gathered the last of my belongings. “There are two books of yours in my nightstand,” she said.

“No, I already took them,” I replied.

 “When?”

“Yesterday morning.”

 “Yesterday morning? Why did you think you had to take them without mentioning it? I wasn’t going to hold them hostage!” she said.

“I know, but I could smell the smoke in the breeze,” I told her.

Driving away, that familiar feeling of “what now?” struck me. I thought about how I dealt with the last breakup, which was a soul-shaking 9.5. My id, suddenly unrestrained, was unleashed like a tsunami: two full months of happy hours that ran until 2 AM, long nights with dreary postmodern novels (“a screaming came across the sky”), hundreds of chicken wings, dubious hookups with tattoo-covered women, making a drunken ass of myself in public on the regular.  But this breakup was a 4.5, tops—and hadn’t I grown up a bit? Yes, it’s a new day—this time would be different.

When I got home, I cleaned the house and did laundry. I reached out to friends I had been blowing off. I frenetically texted old flames and hookups. I went to the gym.  And in my perspiration it hit me: I might be a grown-up now, but forget this, I need to get drunk.

I can’t explain why breaking up sends me into a self-destructive rampage, but I’m not the only man who does it. However, this time I knew it was a choice, and that made it fun. On Monday morning I didn’t feel guilty about the hijinks of the night before—and after work it was “three hours of sleep be damned, let’s go to Mill and shoot some Jameson!” We toasted to things like “doing regrettable things because you might later regret that you didn’t,” and of course, that already tired-out meme of “winning.” I acted a fool in front of random women and laughed at myself heartily. And at the climax of all this mirth, suddenly my pocket vibrates. It’s her.

“I hope I’m not bothering or interrupting you.  I’m just used to talking with you around this time, so I just wanted to see how you’re doing.” Over the sounds of laughing women, breaking glasses, and Irish folk songs, I sheepishly tell her that everything’s fine—but that I don’t have time to talk. “Well I’m really happy we’re still friends,” she replies. After we say goodnight, I feel wistful and order another double. Hearing her voice was the best moment of the night.

Later, I let my friend drag me to a strip club, and as we walked in I was reminded of why I’d never gone back to one after my first time seven years ago.  I felt miles away, slouching numb and intoxicated in a chair, meta-analyzing the sociological undercurrents of the room, when a woman suddenly sits down on me and says, “This is courtesy of your friend.” She planted my hands on her waist—I gave a squeeze but something felt off. I noticed that her breasts were too large and her hair was blonde, not jet black. Her perfume wasn’t Mont Blanc. She didn’t have that tattoo I liked. Her movements were adept, but so unnatural and calculating, as if she were trying to arouse me at gunpoint.

I couldn’t ignore it—I missed her.    

What I realized under the black lights was still true in the light of day, but there’s nothing I can do but let go and let my feelings for her subside. My queasy stomach and piercing headache tell me that this really is a new day, and perhaps there are better ways to deal with this bit of heartache. So I go into work, clean-shaven and pressed. A younger me would have called in sick on a day like today—but that lingering taste of liquor, cigars and shame somehow invigorates me to keep on marching.

Photo via Jetalone on Flickr.

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One Response to “Guest Blog: Aftershocks”

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  1. Kimberly says:

    Love this piece. It’s real…and honest. Without being sappy and pathetic. Excellent! Makes me want to read more from him.

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