The phone rang, and I answered it.
I never answer the phone.
I must have known.
Jeff left her. He's gone, and she's all alone in the house they just bought together. She's already destroyed all their pictures and cut up all his ties, and she doesn't know what else to do.
Sometimes love means getting on a Greyhound bus.
For two hours, I watched the gap narrow between she and I. The grass was grey, the patches of snow were grey, the sky was grey. Frankly, I was glad to wallow in someone else's pain for a while.
I despise the ice-cream-and-chick-flicks approach to broken hearts, so instead, we got jacked up on some cheap champagne and went bowling. We flirted shamelessly with anything wearing pants. Someone or someones bought us a lot of beer. We forgot about Jeff, the bastard. We also forgot our middle names, how to properly use keys, and the intended use of blenders.
The next day, we sat out on her deck, our lawnchairs teetering in the piles of snow, and we painted grey landscapes and drank strong mimosas.
I braided her hair and let her cry, and then helped her resist the temptation to watch their wedding video. We went out for steaks and let Jeff's credit card treat us to a very fine vintage.
At night, in our jammies, we listened to Death Cab and fell asleep in a cuddle. I baked her chocolate chip cookies for breakfast, and then broke out the crayons to colour the morning away. We graduated to permanent marker, and adorned the white, white walls of the house that she and Jeff had bought together, but had never gotten around to decorating.
I showed her the joy of a blank canvas, and we drew her future in the dining room first, and then the living room, and then the hall that leads to the powder room. We drew hordes of well-endowed men, piles of riches, martinis for everyone, and trim figures for ourselves. We used enough ink to drown an elephant.
I don't remember falling asleep, but when she kicked me awake, I was still clutching the red, the colour of a heart, whether broken or full.
"What's up with you?" she asks.
"Sorry. I think it was the 17 daiquiris that did me in."
"No, not that. Jason tells me that you haven't been writing lately."
"Um." True enough, though I didn't realize they were in cahoots. "Turns out, I have no response to that. I guess I just haven't felt like it."
"That's lame and you know it. If I could tap the talent that you have in one pinky finger, I would in a heartbeat. But I can't. So I'm going to get up at 8am for the rest of my life to sell watches to surly customers, and I'm okay with that. The stories you told me at dinner last night were enough to make half the authors on the Best Seller's list sick with envy, and yet you sit at home wasting all your words away. I am NOT okay with that."
"It's not that easy, you know -"
"I never said anything about easy. Aren't you the very same Jay who once told me that anything worth doing is going to be hard by default?"
"I was probably drunk."
"Jame (she knows I hate it when people call me Jame), you can't not try. I know you. You can't not try. Just try. I know you're having one of your crises right now, but -"
"I thought I was here to deal with your crisis - remember how your husband just left you?"
"Well, something tells me that I'll get over Jeff long before you get over yourself."
"Listen, the Jamie I know believes in herself 168%. This Jamie has dipped to an all-time low...like, 98%. And that's just unacceptable. Everyone who knows you knows you're destined to great things. We know you have it. But to me, it looks like you're contemplating failure for the first time in your life, and you're scared. You are so good at holding everyone else's hands, but you won't do it for yourself. So you're quitting before you've even started."
"I just don't know -"
"Yes you do. And so do I. And so does Mac. And Jason. Jesus Christ, even Jeff agreed, and he's a moron! Everyone knows. When my next marriage fails, you'll be too rich and famous to help me barbecue his Godfather DVDs."
"I know. You never miss a good BBQ."
"That's what friends are for. They're there when you need them. Thanks, SweetiePotPie."
"Wanna go get wasted?"
"You know it."