The Day After or How Wallowing is Done at Supergenius, Inc.

7:00 a.m. Wake from a dream, grab your phone in hopes of finding apologetic texts or emails, finding none, roll over and watch the sun rise over the neighbor’s trees. Try not to feel. Try not to remember every “Wake up, I miss you” text and how it made you feel like someone who would be missed. Close your eyes and wish sleep to come back.

8:16 a.m. Get out of bed and feed Paco because he’s annoying the fuck out of you. Thank your luck stars that there is no sign of whiskey hangover while simultaneously wincing at how much whiskey is gone from the bottle. Ponder breakfast, which your stomach decides is not happening. Grab water, coffee, and settle in with your laptop. Turn to The Current and hear The Replacements’ “Bastards of Young.” Thank the universe for this small gift.

8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Write a 1300-word letter to the tornado that leveled you. Ponder if you are being melodramatic, decide “fuck it” because your feelings are hurt and writing helps.

10:30 – 11 a.m. Take a picture of your tear stained glasses. If you’re gonna melodrama, you are gonna melodrama all the way. Get weepy at the kindness of the people you follow on twitter. Take solace that your words can make people feel things. Listen to “Someone to Pull the Trigger” about thirteen times in a row. Sing along emphatically. Show no shame as you sing and look at a picture of his young happy family on his wife’s Facebook page. Poke, poke, poke at your heart and see how much you can take.

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Decide food would be a good idea and wander around the kitchen pondering what to put in your body. Reject everything and then decide on a bowl of Peanut Butter Cheerios and a banana, settle on the couch with it and the final five episodes of Season 4 of Dawson’s Creek. Skip right to spring break at Aunt Gwen’s because of all the kissing. Skip the stupid regatta episode and dive right into Junior Prom. Cry many tears when Pacey talks about Joey’s mom’s bracelet. Close your eyes and beg for a nap but realize the sun in your eyes makes your face too hot. Get up and go back to the computer.

1:10 p.m. – 2 p.m. Turn on the “He Broke Her Heart” playlist which was meant as mood music for your main character, Cora Finch. Poke, poke, poke while gazing at the family picture. Harbor elaborate rom-com fairytale fantasies that range from marrying John Cusack at the Young Chef’s brew pub to getting a long email that starts out “Hi, I’m Not-Michael’s Real Name, and boy did I fuck some shit up with this totally rad woman. . . ” All scenarios end in happily ever after. Take a Buzzfeed quiz that guesses you are 7-feet tall and says “You truly are larger than life. You are a giant, and have the brains and heart to match.” Shrug. Decide it’s time to start the takes for-fucking-ever deep dish pizza crust making. Listen to “Someone to Pull the Trigger” one more time.

2:15 p.m. Fall into a pit of what the fuck is exactly wrong with you. Like, you’re 42 years old and you can’t figure out how to get someone to love you romantically. What is your damage? People way less smart than you figure it out all the fucking time. And here you are crying over an imaginary relationship with someone who didn’t even exist. And is your desperation so apparent? A siren call to the predators who will use your stupid fucking needy heart against you? Because this isn’t the first time this has happened. Obviously you are defective in some way you are not smart enough to figure out and fix. Wonder if you were better off when you packed yourself away and decided nothing was enough. Listen to Someone to Pull the Trigger. Switch all rom-com fairytales to circa 1993 Matthew Sweet.

2:30 p.m. – 6:18 p.m. Get the pizza dough started and then Dawson hardcore on the couch. Beg for a nap to come, but your eyes refuse to shut. Watch the Finale and boohoo through Jen’s death. Laugh bitterly at Joey Potter’s line, “Dawson, do you know how lucky you are? You’re a writer. You get to live life twice.” Laugh genuinely at the cryface surprise in the final montage. You’d forgotten it was gonna be in there. This face will never not be funny. Come back to the computer to burn time before dinner. Poke, poke, poke. Listen to “Things” three times in a row.

6:30 p.m. Wonder if the whole time the Young Chef was lying to you if he was smug and satisfied with his deception and your ignorance or if he was pants-crappingly scared you’d figure it out any minute. Wish you knew the answer.

7 p.m. – 10 p.m. Numb. A lot of numb, two slices of pizza, and zero whiskey. Pop in “High Fidelity” and quote it to yourself. Ponder going to bed because suddenly you are exhausted, but worry you’ll be up at 6 a.m. You wonder if the thing that makes getting over heartbreak so hard is that it opens up all the old wounds, so you have to mourn and grieve over every one who left and the older you get the more people there are. Eh, you know that’s not the case, because when you look back at most of the heartaches from your early 30s they seem as though they happened to someone else. Nice try trying to fool yourself that you weren’t as invested in this stupid two-month affair as you were, though. Maybe you just need to go to bed.

10:45 p.m. – 11 p.m. Exchange emails with a friend whose occasional desire for you you hoped to use as a balm for your sore heart and tender ego only to find he too is hurting. Wish your arms were long enough to reach Chicago so you could hug him. Thank him for commiserating with you, then turn off the lights, turn off the phone, turn on Jason Isbell. Pull your arms and legs as tight into a ball as you can manage, you want to be as small as you feel, pray sleep comes quickly and dreamlessly.

Sunday 7 a.m. – 7:47 a.m. Open your eyes. Maybe tomorrow will be the day the Young Chef isn’t the first thing you think about. Decide that apparently 7 a.m. is when you wake up now. Congratulate yourself on garbage dreams of nonsense that don’t feature him. After peeing stand at the side of your bed and contemplate getting back in. Find yourself remembering how you used to imagine him in that bed, on the other side you never sleep on, pull on yesterday’s clothes, coffee it up. Turn on the computer and dial up Ani DiFranco’s “Untouchable Face” first thing. You need to stop with the old sad bastard music. You need to not poke, poke, poke. You need to not read the paragraph in the letter that makes you sob. You should probably avoid the 2:15 update too.

You need to sing “Fuck you and your untouchable face. And fuck you for existing in the first place.” Grab your phone, delete the contact so his stupid cutie face isn’t staring up at you every time you hit that home button too many times. Set this post to publish at 10 a.m. Open the file called Rock & Roll Loudmouth_Jodi Chromey. There is work to do.

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  1. Donna Trump 29.Mar.15 at 10:36 am

    You’re not defective. It’s all him (see text). He couldn’t do it. He can’t do anything as long as he continues to lie. You can do everything because you are brave and honest. And an amazing writer. And unbelievably, heartbreakingly, I-am-so-privildged-to-know-you FORGIVING.

    1. Jodi 29.Mar.15 at 11:54 am

      Thank you, Donna. I vowed to myself I wouldn’t cry today, but your kind words are making my eyes shimmer.

  2. Katherine 29.Mar.15 at 7:54 pm

    There’s not much I can say to make anything better, but just know these two things: First, you ARE someone who would be missed. Second, I had to go back and read your January post about that guy you used to work with who said some men are connoisseurs. Don’t know if that helps you now, but it sure as hell helped me back when you wrote it. At least this jerk chef was enough of a connoisseur to appreciate you and all your good qualities–unfortunately he was still just mainly a jerk. I’m sorry. You deserve the real thing.

    1. Jodi 29.Mar.15 at 8:33 pm

      Thank you, Katherine. Not just for the kind words about my heartbreak, but letting me know that post helped you. I love that post! I’m so glad I finally got around to writing about it.

  3. Bonny Holder 30.Mar.15 at 10:09 am

    Jodi, I sincerely apologize for the pain I caused you 15 or so years ago around the TTHM. I was a newby to internet communication and mistakenly thought that “we’re all on the same page.”

    That said, Not-Michael is clearly dangerous, at least emotionally. You are fortunate to be rid of him, although it doesn’t feel like it now. How would you like to be Mrs. Not-Michael? Not a pretty thought.

    1. Jodi 30.Mar.15 at 10:48 am

      Thank you, Bonny. You were not the only bounds over-stepper. I had one reader who once continually hacked a boyfriend’s website.

      I am very, very glad I am not Mrs. Not-Michael.


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