Last night I celebrated my 29th birthday (the first one ever) with some of my closest friends at Sancho’s Broken Arrow on Colfax. My designated driver was my cousin Clay, returning the favor for being his on his birthday last year, a memorable experience not only because it was his 21st but also because he puked in my car that night. I didn’t plan on returning the favor, but I did consider the possibility that I would puke. I’m notoriously pukey when I’m drinking, which is why I don’t usually do it. But it was my birthday and I was going to make a run for it anyway, puke be damned.
Clay and I arrived before anyone else, just in time to be crushed shoulder to shoulder by concert goers who would shuffle out and head next door to the Fillmore for Humphrey something. Kurt arrived next, followed shortly by Chris and Delayna, who had to arrange a babysitter to come out. I unscrupulously left Bridget’s phone number at home, so I had Kurt call her. She lives in the neighborhood and literally just walked over. When she got there, she kissed me on the cheek, a birthday kiss, and jumped into the foosball game we had in progress. She’s a lot better than me at foosball, but then of course, I suck. We broke away at some point so she could buy me a beer and a shot. I opted for a wimpy lemon drop because not only are they smooth, but they’re good!
A little while later, Stacey and her neighbor Paul arrived with my first gift of the night (the second would be a Broncos beanie from Ginger): incidentally, one of my favorite things, a book, the companion book to the March of the Penguins movie, as it turned out, complete with inscription and card. We went to see the movie in its limited theatrical run and loved it. (I have a little thing about penguins. They’re so cute and they just crack me up!) Shortly after that, she promptly whipped me at air hockey.
But this wasn’t just my birthday celebration. It was Ginger’s birthday too. Mine was on the 9th, hers on the 10th, so we opted to combine the celebrations, which seems great on the surface, the more the merrier right? But in all practicality, the arrangement provided for the potential for some very uncomfortable moments. See, Ginger is friends with my ex-girlfriend, who she invited, and I was faced with the unpalatable possibility of seeing her again, only this time wrapped in the arms of her new boyfriend, a prospect that I was dreading.
A little history here. Melanie (I thought about using a pseudonym, but fuck it) broke up with me on an instant message a few days after Halloween last year. It was out of the blue. I had no warning. There was no discussion. She just avoided me for a few days, which was strange to say the least, and then when I confronted her about it, she let it out. She dumped me like a bag of dogshit, told me that she didn’t want to be with me anymore, she just “wanted to be alone.” Apparently, I had been a horrible suffocating boyfriend who wholly deserved the indignity of being told through electronic media to fuck off.
A year later, that still pisses me off. The whole situation pisses me off. For one, I’m pissed at myself for being willfully blind and optimistic (yes, kiddies, optimism has its pitfalls). This is a girl who pursued a non-relationship relationship with me while she was dating another guy. (Yes, we kept it clean, so technically it wasn't cheating. But it was still cheating.) This is a girl who would not break up with that dude no matter how unhappy she was with him. (He finally had to sleep with her friend to get the brush off.) This is a girl who seriously told me once “I love you, but I can’t exactly go shout that off a mountain.” (WTF???) This is a girl who agreed to go see Finding Nemo with me, but went and saw it on three separate occasions with other people instead. (We never did see it together, and I guess from her behavior, she never really wanted to.) This is a girl who strung me along for years, completely oblivious to my (misguided) affections, which is bad on its own, not mention just selfish and insensitive, which is worse. In other words, I should have known better. The warning signs were there, but I ignored them because I had high hopes and hearts in my eyes. I wanted it to work, I wanted her to be “the one.” But it didn’t, and she wasn’t.
But now, it’s ancient history. Melanie has a new boyfriend, and since we've already demonstrated that she's a coward, she just HAD to bring him to the party, you know, because despite what she told me when she broke up with me, this girl NEVER does anything alone. But I was a little nervous about discovering his identity. A hundred silly thoughts flew through my head. What if he was better looking than me? What if she spends the whole night hanging on him? I have to admit, however, the question “what if I know him?” never occurred to me. But turns out that Melanie’s new boyfriend isn’t someone new at all. He’s a dude that works for the same company we do. Pathetic! And obviously, he isn't the first....Nor the second, nor the third. Her bedpost is notched with the names of many a co-worker/lover, trust me.
One thing my relationship with Melanie taught me was never dip my pen in the company ink again. Relationships go sour. It happens. But when it happens, the two parties should go their separate ways, and when you work in the same company, in the same building, going your separate ways is practically impossible, and you can't escape the constant reminders. And trust me on this one, seeing your ex-girlfriend, especially one who deliberately hurt you so bad, around the office really really sucks. From here on, I have vowed not to date anyone in the office. (I do have one exception though, but she’s a long shot and, well, I'd just have to get a different job if that happened, wouldn't I?) But apparently, this little bit of wisdom has been lost on Melanie. She is still shitting where she eats, and that may be great as long as things with her dude go smoothly, but the chances of that are slim to none.
Speaking of the dude, seeing him was like an anti-climax. When I saw who it was, I wanted to laugh. My fears were totally unwarranted. He's got nothing on me and I certainly have nothing to be jealous about. This is what I know about him. He’s got an inspirational Lance Armstrongian survivor story, having survived cancer (testicular maybe?) and chemo. He chews tobacco. He "struggles" with male pattern baldness (a totally hot look, for sure), which he tried to hide by wearing a beanie. He’s a super-duper tech who awes all in the Network Control Center with his insight into telecom operations. I’ve never seen him smile. He’s got a jaw like a steam shovel, an effect which is only accentuated when he’s sucking on a dip. And, probably the biggest strike against him, he’s falling for Melanie’s deceitful charms, and I’ll be the first to admit that she has plenty of those, but really, he should have checked her references first.
As far as I know, he's a great guy, but he gave me the stinkeye all night, but it didn’t bother me. I am no threat to him at all. If Melanie got down on her knees and apologized for all the wrongs she done (did me wrong! huh!) and begged for me to take her back, or even if she asked to just be friends...well, I’d have to gratefully decline. Life is too short to deal with people who don’t have the character to respect you, and it’s painfully obvious that Melanie had little or no respect for me, despite what she says. (Actions speak louder than words. When you can't even tell your boyfriend to his face that you're breaking up with him, and then concoct some "wanna be alone" side story...you have no respect.) Why would I want to subject myself to that again? I’ve already lost enough self-esteem by putting too much credence in what she thought of me anyway. I went from feeling like second best (when she was with her previous boyfriend), to not being worth it (when she was hooking up with everyone else BUT me), to being cast aside like an unwanted Down Syndrome baby. Multiply those emotions by three years and you got me, an emotional wreck.
But seriously, why does her boyfriend have to give me the stinkeye? I didn’t do anything to him, or his new girlfriend. I tried to love her. I tried to be a good boyfriend, gave her flowers and backrubs, wrote her poetry and treated her well. When she told me that she would rather be alone than with me (and let me tell ya, that's an ego-booster, fer sure), I left her alone. I have diligently been avoiding her for the past year. I haven’t called, e-mailed, sent her flowers, or attempted to contact her in anyway. I turned my back on her and walked the other way. It was the only thing I could do.
I guess I can take comfort in the fact that when the karma is finally calculated, I'll be coming out of this thing in the black, and she’s going to be paying spiritual debts for a very long time. Of course, I’m not sure I believe in karma. I think sometimes people get things they never deserved. I certainly didn’t deserve to be cast away like I never meant anything at all. And she doesn’t deserve a new man. She deserves to have her heart broken, a little cosmic justice for all the hearts she broke along the way. Of course, you have to have a heart first.
I hope she remembers that when she’s smooching those chew-flavored lips and rubbing that hairless head.
Am I bitter? Yes I am.
P.S. My friends are great. It's comforting to know that even if a certain person doesn't give two shits about me or how I feel....at least someone does.